The Interim Council, which has a mandate from the Councils of both the Institute of Materials and the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy to look after all matters relating to the impending merger of the two organisations, is making good progress in developing the functional organisation of the new institute, as well as the staff structure and areas of responsibility.
A broadly based Council, the membership of which will reflect the full scope of members' interests, will oversee the activities of the new institute, with the new structure providing links to the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IoM3) professional activities, technical interest groups and income-generating activities. The Interim Council is currently developing the procedures for the election of Council and Board members. Separate committees dealing with professional qualifications, course accreditation and legislation issues, as well as with regional issues, younger members' activities and interests, and educational issues, will all report to Council through the IoM3 Professional Policy Board. The membership of the Professional Policy Board will consist of the Chairmen of these committees.
The institute’s staff will help the committees in the development of their activities, and with networking. Separate working groups will be set up to provide the vital links to other members' areas of interest and feedback on members' needs. The activities and needs of the technician-grade members will be particularly important. One of the key changes in the revised Charter of the new institute allows technician-grade members to receive corporate membership status and designatory letters. Therefore, these members will play an increasing role on the Membership Committee too. The Younger Members Committee has already considerably increased its activities during the past few years - for example, its programme of events on the subject of 'soft skills' has been a welcome and important development.
Enlarging the divisional structure to truly reflect the broad range of members' technical activities will be central to the development of the new institute. This structure, which was described more fully in the information sent to members prior to voting on the merger, is designed to provide enhanced networks for learned society activities in addition to local branch events. In effect, members will be able to become involved in any number of those divisions that deal with their own interest areas, albeit that many of the activities developed by the divisions will be on a national or an international scale. The four new divisions representing the interests of IMM members - Mining Technology, Applied Earth Sciences, Mineral Processing and Petroleum & Drilling Engineering - will provide a starting point for networking with existing IoM divisions and subsidiary working groups. Members of staff will support the chairmen of the divisions. The objective is to ensure that events and activities co-ordinated by local branches and societies are also supported through the divisional structure. Enlarging the divisional structure is also an important step forward in representing and tying together members’ interests throughout the full materials cycle.
The income generating activities of the new institute will be grouped together under a broad ‘communications’ banner. One of the most important areas of activity is the provision of information on materials, minerals and mining through institute publications, conferences and library services. A major benefit for all members is free access to the Materials Information Service (MIS), which provides telephone help and on-site specialist support. The MIS has been a key partner in a number of DTI and European materials initiatives, and following the merger it will retain responsibility for developing the Industrial Affiliate Scheme (IAS). At nearly 200 companies, the membership of the IAS is the largest of any UK engineering institution, and these industrial links will be built upon using the substantial platform provided by the combination of the MIS and the IMM's library and information service.
The management of the new institute will be concentrated at three regional centres, in line with the proposals made in the run-up to the merger. These offices will be in London, at 1 Carlton House Terrace, and in South Yorkshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Waverley Park in Rotherham has been chosen as the ideal location for the South Yorkshire office, but owing to delays in the development of this technology park, staff working from the IoM's Sheffield office will instead relocate to the IMM's Doncaster office as an interim measure. Meanwhile, the IMM's London-based library and information service on mining and metallurgy will move to the new institute's headquarters at 1 Carlton House Terrace. All these relocations should be completed by August, and the final staff structure will be in place by the time the Royal Charter is granted by the Privy Council later this month. Full details will be published in the July issue of Materials World.
All the staff from both institutions have been involved in the consultation process to develop the new team. The senior members of staff of the new institute have already been appointed, and the key activities and responsibilities for this team are shown here. Broadly speaking, the London office will focus on communications activities, the Stoke office will deal with membership and finance management, and the Doncaster office will cover education, information, regional affairs and younger members' activities.
This issue of Materials World should be considered the starting point from which to develop the members' magazine of the new institute. The aim is to cover a broad spectrum of news and features that mirrors the interests of members, with the magazine's contents being developed during the coming months. If members have any newsworthy items of interest, information on new events and products, or suggestions for articles and features, they are encouraged to get in touch with the newly-appointed editor, Steve Hill.
In preparation for the formal launch of the new body, we are currently working on linking the contents of the two organisations' web sites, arranging a series of launch activities and events, developing a series of information updates for members, and deciding on future IT strategies and professional suppliers/advisers. Members should watch this space for further updates.