Throughout September 2022 we asked members to vote to endorse a move to a new model of director tenure, involving director elections every second year.
This would mean instead of a director serving two terms of three years each, there would be a shift to directors serving two terms of four years each.
This review of tenure was initiated and endorsed by National Congress in May.
Who makes up National Congress and what are its powers?
National Congress represents you, the members. Each member of National Congress is drawn from our Divisions, Colleges, Technical Societies, Special Interest Groups and Young Engineers Australia. Collectively, Congress delegates provide diverse knowledge and experience of engineering disciplines and sectors.
Put simply, the role of National Congress is to act in the best interests of the organisation.
Congress members must reasonably assess the performance of the Board in leading the governance and evolution of Engineers Australia in line with our purpose and strategy.
Congress, on behalf of members and for the benefit of the profession, is also responsible for the composition of the Board via election of directors.
Directors are not drawn directly from National Congress. Any voting member of Engineers Australia is eligible to nominate for the Board.
Why was the review initiated?
Congress found regular turnover of Board directors has multiple negative effects on Board performance, National Congress and business management.
The amendment to move to Director elections every two years will enable more effective and productive Board–Congress engagement and see directors who are performing well reappointed by National Congress without the necessity of an election.
The proposed change will:
- free up time for Congress to do its work more efficiently
- allow more stable relationships and leverage of the collective talent
- remove short-term thinking to accommodate our multi-year strategy. For example, our internal digital strategy is five years yet our director tenure may only be three years. If we are to sustain focus and achieve progress on issues like climate change, we need a long-term view.
The outcome that Congress supports and on which we are focused should be 'a high performing board' which is in part based on consistent involvement of high calibre directors, providing complementary skill sets, operating in an informed and collegiate manner. This requires a longer period of tenure than presently occurs.
How did the vote work?
The ballot opened the first week of September and ran for 28 days. Members were emailed an invitation to vote, a detailed FAQ pack and directed to a voting link which appeared on the Engineers Australia website throughout September.
Results of the vote
The membership resolution was passed. 6520 or 7.7 per cent of voting members voted, with 4121 or 63.2 per cent voting in favour.
A membership resolution is passed if at least five per cent of voting members vote in the ballot and a simple majority of those votes are in favour of the resolution.
Papers have been submitted to the Governor-General for approval and the subsequent grant of the Eighth Supplemental Royal Charter and By-laws.
What else is the Board doing?
The Board is leading the transformation of Engineers Australia to make it a more prominent and impactful organisation to benefit our members, the profession and society.
Improvements are being made on multiple fronts. Through our policy and advocacy work we are speaking out in the national interest on pressing issues including our skills shortage.
Engineers Australia is strengthening our complaints management process and advancing sector standards and directions through our focus on registration, Areas of Practice and curated CPD. We are implementing a new process for member led events to help regional groups engage members more effectively and fostering a one Engineers Australia culture to fulfil our purpose together and support our office bearers.
We are prioritising efficiency and making our business operations nimble by investing in digital. Work continues on building our respected, door-opening Engineers Australia brand with the release of an exciting national campaign to showcase engineering to inspire a new generation and we have just launched the first phase of our new website.
There is much to be proud of and to continue to achieve, which we will together as one Engineers Australia.