7 Council Update By Council Chair Colin Davis CEng FIET Council worked on two topics of particular interest earlier this year. We looked at the ‘post-truth politics’ environment that engineers are working in, and how the IET can respond to this trend. Also, a joint strategy session with Trustees and Council brought together much of the work of Council over the last 12 months. From left to right: Council Chair Colin Davis CEng FIET and Council Chair 2017-18 Michele Fiorini CEng FIET Updates from governance Confronting post-truth politics A paper presented at the June Council meeting, together with a World Café discussion session, gave us the opportunity to review the standing that the engineering profession has in society today. The discussions were triggered by recent media debates which have highlighted that experts are being dismissed in favour of the opinions of public figures – and through social media, pretty much anyone can be a public figure. This has led to a political and media culture that can default to emotional opinions instead of scientific evidence. The behaviour even has a name now, ‘post-truth politics’. Our concern is that activities with greater emotional appeal to the public are likely to be increasingly flagged, favoured, and funded, over intellectually challenging activities in research, engineering and manufacturing. The professional roles of engineer, scientist and technician that the IET represents are in danger of being devalued. Discussion included: n  exploring campaigns to better educate the public on engineering n  improving the understanding of what an engineer is responsible for and does n  increasing the use of case studies and examples of prominent engineers n  addressing the branding of the professional engineer n  collaborating with all Professional Engineering Institutions n  encouraging industry to engage with the issue Thinking for the IET’s future Council also contributed to the joint strategy session in June with Trustees. The IET President led an agenda for the session which included a review of progress, together with input summaries of ideas from the three Main Boards. Trustees also discussed the work on strategic thinking that Council has carried out throughout the last year, through a Strategy Working Party. An interactive session addressed the key questions that surround what the IET aspires to be and what it sets out to achieve within its overall vision to engineer a better world. We focused on issues that have been identified throughout the year on the IET’s current and future environment. We also considered how they could be addressed, bearing in mind the IET’s financial resources, and how they may lead to the development of a new strategic framework. November 2018 – Member News www.theiet.org/member-news