Information Matters - October 2011

The monthly newsletter for IET volunteers.

1.     Governance Review
2.     Volunteers Conference Weekend 2011
3.     New Wi-Fi at Savoy Place
4.     Communities News
5.     IET News - October edition
6.     Innovation Awards - shortlist announced!


This newsletter is also available in word or PDF format (see right).


1.     Governance Review

Message from Dr Nigel Burton, IET President 2010/2011


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.

Volunteer input to the Review

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.

New governance structure

Communities Committees

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.

Communities Resourcing Committee

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.

China and India Development Panels

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.

The diagram (which can be found in the grey box) 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.

Young Professionals

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.

Nominations and succession processes

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.

Looking ahead

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

Dr Nigel Burton

IET President 2010/2011

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2.     Volunteers Conference Weekend 2011

The Volunteers Conference takes place this year on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th of October at Savoy Place, London.

If you have not been invited to attend the event, you can keep up-to-date with what's happening on the Volunteers Conference Facebook page and via our Twitter feed.

All the presentations will be available on the conference website approximately two weeks after the conference.

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3.     New Wi-Fi at Savoy Place

The wireless network at Savoy Place has recently been upgraded.

The new network name is "TheIET" with no spaces. Upon attempting to navigate the Internet using your web browser, you will be re-directed to the authentication pages. The username and password for the new network will change on a monthly basis.

Please ask at Reception for the up-to-date credentials on arrival at Savoy Place.

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4.     Communities News

The new community model

The IET would like to thank those of you who provided comments on our recent proposals to enhance the way we support communities in the future. Having taken your feedback into consideration, the new community model has been developed further. 

You can view the latest developments on the Community Model in this video presentation which details the processes that underpin the new model.

As we move towards implementation of the new model, we would welcome any comments you may have on the latest plans via the Community Engagement discussion forum.  Alternatively, if you are attending the Volunteers Conference in October, you will also get the opportunity to share your thoughts or ask questions on behalf of your communities.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please contact Steve Perry on 01438 765623 or

Changes to the community staff team

Part of the implementation of the new community model is the creation of a single staff team in the UK, bringing together the Local Network (LN) and the Technical Professional Network (TPN) support teams into one fully integrated Community Team.

There will be no changes to the staff support for LNs in Asia Pacific or South Asia. These Networks will continue to be supported by Jenny, Shobha, Winnie or Julian from the IET's Beijing, Bangalore and Hong Kong offices. It is just the UK staff teams that will change, and this will affect support for all the TPNs, and the LNs in UK, EMEA and the Americas.

What does this mean for volunteers?

Right now, nothing changes. In the short term LN and TPN community volunteers will continue to work with the staff that they are familiar with.

By the end of November there should be clarity around who is doing what within the new staff structure, and there will be communications to all the LNs and TPNs that are affected to let them know what is happening and what this will mean.

There are some new job roles within the new structure and some staff are likely to change jobs. This may mean that the staff who currently work closely with your committee may change. However, in the new structure every community will continue to have a dedicated member of staff working closely with volunteers to help develop community activities.

Every community will also have access to a much bigger staff support team, to help you promote and deliver your activities.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please contact Steve Perry on 01438 765623 or


Local Networks

Welcome to 2011/12

To start the 2011-12 Local Network session and as an introduction to any new committee members, here is a reminder of the tools, information and resources that are available to each Local Network committee:

New Committee Lists

As soon as you have an up to date committee list for the 2011/12 session please send it to your Local Network Coordinator so that we can update our records.  This will ensure that we get the right information to the right people at the right time. 

Local Network Resources

There is a whole section in the Volunteer Gateway section of the website that covers resources available to help LN volunteers to develop a plan of activity and deliver successful events.

Please have a look at this section to see what resources and information are available covering variety of areas including the role of the Local Network, the importance of metrics, and information about planning and budgeting.

FameLab UK - The search is on for the new voices of science communication

The regional heats of FameLab UK, the UK’s biggest competition for new talent to engage the public in science, will start in October 2011. The competition is open to contestants over 21 years old and working in or studying science, technology, engineering, medicine or maths in the UK. 


Networks outside the UK

Local Networks outside the UK are reminded that audited accounts for the financial year 2010/11 are due in by December 2011.

Website taxonomy

In order to improve the visitor experience and raise awareness of the vast range of content on its website, the IET is applying a standard taxonomy to web content.

Taxonomy is the practice and science of classification using a hierarchical structure. Almost anything may be classified according to some taxonomic scheme and in terms of websites taxonomy enables users to receive relevant related information when they are searching, or moving through a series of web pages.

The IET has already classified all of the articles on the website and we are now keen that all events listed on the website are labelled. By tagging your Local Network events appropriately you are likely to receive more visitors to your events pages which will raise awareness of your activities and may help increase delegate numbers.

What does this mean for webmasters?

A training guide has been created that gives more information about the process to apply taxonomy to your events, but it is via a straightforward check box tree in the content editing form in Rhythmyx.

You should assign the most specific term that reflects your event as a whole. For example, if it is about nuclear safety, assign that term. If it is about nuclear power, and only mentions safety in passing, just assign “nuclear power”.

The Digital Services team will contact webmasters directly with more information about applying taxonomy to Local Network events. In the meantime you should contact your Coordinator or email the Digital Services Department if you have any questions.

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5.     IET News - October edition

Presented by Sarah Farmer, winner of the Women's Engineering Society Prize 2010, the latest news bulletin from IET London: Savoy Place includes:

  • Welcome to the IET's new President, Dr Mike Short
  • Recent professional registration results
  • Special package for the British Armed Forces
  • New IET Women's Network Facebook page
  • Improvements to the MyIET online tools
  • The IET Benevolent Fund, IET Connect

We welcome any comments or suggestions you may have for future editions of IET News - please contact the Communications team and let us know what you think.

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6.     Innovation Awards - shortlist announced!

The finalists of the IET Innovation Awards 2011 have been announced! The well deserved places on the short list have been filled by a variety of global organisations and innovations. The quality of the entries this year has been outstanding as reflected by the calibre of the finalists.

Please visit the Innovation Awards website for more details. 

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