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It’s the most famous line of football commentry ever – ‘The crowd is on the pitch, they think it’s all over’. Well the crowd may not have been on the pitch, but last night the membership voted by an overwhelming 92% to implement Governance for the Future. OK, it did go to extra time, but at least there were no penalties. But looks who’s back – but don’t panic, it’s for one night only.
Every time the English football team fails, ie once every two years, we get all the references back to 1966 and all that. You may recall it, actually thanks to our relentless commentators, you probably have little choice. But I don’t want to push the analogy too far since there was a disputed goal and as the membership voted by approximately 92% in favour of G4F, the Institution is on a much clearer pitch than England were.
The avid reader of the VP’s Blog will recall that I talked about G4F right from the days when it was known as Plan 42. That’s 2 years ago and in fact this particular journey has been going on for almost 3 years. So that’s one reason that Peter Bonfield, the current proper writer of this blog, encouraged me to make a comeback.
But don’t worry, your inboxes are safe, this definitely it for one night only. There will be no greatest hits album or world tour – your humble scribe will be vanishing into oblivion after this.
You know the phrase – some things have to be seen to be believed. And for those of us used to the sometimes glacial speed of change at the IET, it’s a great relief to see that this change has been achieved and only in a few years!
However I think in this case this phrase should be reversed. Because some things have to be believed to be seen. And my real reason for this brief comeback to thank those who believed and ultimately made it happen.
The first in line were a group of past Presidents to whom I showed the earliest and very rough draft of the Plan. And they saw enough in it to encourage me to go on. Then President Barry Brooks and the next two in line for President, William Webb and Naomi Climer believed – all with remarkable speed. This was quickly followed by the Board of Trustees and a joint behind the scenes team including senior Council members.
The most crucial and in many ways those with the most to lose were Council. They embraced it in a series of votes and very importantly helped shape what proved to be crucial changes in what was now called Governance for the Future.
And behind the scenes the staff believed too. CES Nigel Fine threw his authority behind the Plan at an early stage and of course the staff then played a huge part in making it all happen. Nigel’s support was not a trivial decision, it’s well known that shortly after the SGM was lost 12 years ago, the then CEO left the Institution.
There was as most people know opposition and in September the membership weighed up the arguments and voted approximately 63% in favour of continuing down this road.
And so it was that last night the final vote showed 92% support and G4F will now go through the final stage of the Privy Council and take effect from October. Pretty nippy for an organization like ours.
I’m not going to go into most of the ramifications of what it means. There will be a smaller Council whose members will be actively engaged in our now 3 main boards. There will be a greater focus on members and especially volunteers and more members will take the Member Pathway from being active in their local geography or technical specialism through to Council and the BoT.
As a personal belief, I think this marks the end of at least 10 years of poor relationship between Council and the Trustees. It really could be the dawn of new era.
And there will be teething problems. I’m quite sure we will have got some stuff wrong and there will be retuning and improvements in time. Plus the world will move on and no governance structure lasts forever.
So, fundamentally a lot of people believed and now as a result this is going to be seen as reality.
So that’s it. They think it’s all over and it really is. Only of course it isn’t!
The fora may have fallen silent. Nick’s 6 principles will no longer be a regular topic of conversation – although they will of course continue to be part of all the Institution does. There may even be less rumblings from the far north of Scotland – although I hope not. Yes, the match is over.
But the real work is about to begin. Not just the detail of implementation in the run up to October, but then no doubt 5-10 years of making it work. Actually, more than just making it work. Working within the enabler of this new framework to Inspire, Inform and Influence for the Profession.  This is noble work, the reason we are members and that we care and is frankly much more important than any scheme about how we actually operate.
Thank you to all who believed, and actually to all those who didn’t but still cared enough to get involved.
It’s 50 years since England won the World Cup. However just to prove that my reappearing is for one night only, I will here and now commit to writing my next VP Blog when England win the World Cup again.
So your inboxes are pretty safe!
Posted by Alan Watts on Feb 12, 2016 12:15 PM Europe/London

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