As you know, earlier this year the IET commissioned independent consultant PKF to review the IET’s governance and to advise on best practice. The Board of Trustees (BoT) discussed the report at its meeting on 4 July 2011 and took a number of decisions regarding governance of the IET including winding up the Global Operations Board and suspending the five Regional Boards.
The Board of Trustees recognised that a great deal of valuable work had been done by the Global Operations and Regional Boards and therefore asked members across the regions to review what good work needed to continue and what governance structures needed to be in place to ensure that this work gets done most effectively in future. I would like to thank you all for the time and effort you put into this review and the submissions you subsequently made to the Board of Trustees.
On 5 September the Board met again to review the input received from members and discuss proposals for future governance roles and structures based on this input.
The input from members highlighted the huge amount of good work being done by the Regional Boards, including reinvigorating and supporting Local Networks, resolving difficult and complex community issues, supporting young professional activities such as Present Around the World, strengthening engagement with members on the ground and of course allocating funding to Local Networks to support the great work they do for the IET.
The Board of Trustees therefore agreed to put in place five Communities Committees based on the IET’s five regions to replace the previous membership governance structure. The Communities Committees will continue all of the value-adding activities of the Regional Boards and drive forward the IET’s communities agenda and new community model which for the first time brings together all types of communities (TPNs, LNs and others), to deliver a broad set of activities that engages tens of thousands of members each year. The new structure emphasises the Board’s view that the member and volunteer led communities are at the heart of, and must play a central role in the success of, the IET.
The Board of Trustees also recognised the value of having a single governance body to secure overall funding for IET communities and to allocate this amongst the five regions. The Board therefore agreed to create a Communities Resourcing Committee (CRC) to secure and allocate resources, including funding, as well as to support the Communities Committees through clear communications, best practice guidelines and providing a link to the KM and MPD Boards.
The Board of Trustees considered the proposals for a Communities Board, but decided that the Communities Resourcing Committee will report to the KM Board, to emphasise that communities are integral both to our knowledge sharing and membership activities, rather than separate from them. A single reporting line was chosen rather than multiple or matrix reporting lines to minimise bureaucracy and maximise the clarity of the governance arrangements. However, effective communication with the MPD Board, Council and the BoT where relevant are vital.
As with all international organisations, the IET must recognise and respond to the differing needs of countries and regions around the world and the Board of Trustees believes that this can best be done by members in the regions. It is therefore expected that over time, responsibilities can be delegated to the regions, with the Communities Resourcing Committee providing funding, support and guidance.
To support the IET’s specific strategies for China and India, it was agreed to create a China Development Panel and an India Development Panel to assist with delivering these strategies.
This diagram shows the new governance structure and the reporting lines within it. Terms of reference for the CRC, the Communities Committees and the China and India Development Panels are also included. The arrangements continue to build on the “one team” approach of staff and volunteers working and making decisions together on each of these bodies.
The Board of Trustees also received a response to the Governance Review from Council and was pleased to note that Council agreed with a majority of the recommendations in the review. The Board hopes that Council will agree with the trustees’ earlier recommendations regarding additional roles and responsibilities as well as a recommendation that Council might be constituted from active volunteers (Sectors, Communities, Professional Registration Advisors, Mentors etc). These recommendations are designed to ensure that Council represents the voice of the active membership on pertinent issues that ultimately improve the support and services the IET provides to its members. The Board of Trustees looks forward to discussing this with Council at its meeting in November.
As we all appreciate, young professionals are the future of our Institution and the Board of Trustees welcomed the input received from the YP Forum and YP Co-ordination Team. In order to reflect the importance of young professionals, the Board of Trustees agreed two roles for trustees: a Young Professionals representative, who should be a Trustee under the age of 30 at the time of election, and a Young Professionals champion, who should be a Deputy President or a Vice President.
Finally, the Board agreed that all of the IET’s membership governance bodies should continue to have a proportion of elected members and a proportion appointed in order to ensure that each governance body has all of the skills required to fulfil its role. Further work is being undertaken to improve the effectiveness of our nominations and succession processes.
The Board of Trustees was delighted to make these decisions swiftly. Although this has created a brief period of uncertainty for some of you in the last two months the Board wanted to move quickly to have the new bodies in place for the start of the new session on 1 October 2011. The new governance structure incorporates the vast majority of recommendations made by volunteers and the Board of Trustees is confident that, whilst no governance structure can satisfy everyone, the new structure is the best fit for both the current and future needs of the Institution.
Looking to the immediate future, work is well advanced to ensure that we have Chairmen of the new governance bodies in place. Following that, the full Committees will be constituted.
The thousands of IET volunteers, including those who sit on Boards, Committees and other governance bodies are the engine of the IET and drive it forward in delivering its vision and mission. The Board of Trustees would like to thank all of those who give their time to the IET and to take this opportunity to send special thanks to those who completed their term on IET Boards and Committees at the end of September.
If you have any queries about the new structure or how it will operate then please contact Sarah Jenkins, Governance Review Project Manager, via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Nigel Burton
IET President 2010/2011
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