Thursday, November 12, 2009

Finance Committee Meeting; Executive Committee Meeting

This afternoon at Clyde Road we had our November Finance Committee meeting,  followed immediately by a meeting of the Cafe Clyde Committee,  and then by the Executive.

At the Finance meeting,  we received an update on the current finances for the year so far.  We are tracking reasonably well to break even for 2009,  which we believe would be a fair result given the current general environment.   Our recent promotional campaign for new members has achieved some early uptake,  but there is much more to do.  

Most of our meeting was spent reviewing the analysis for our budget for 2010,  which we anticipate to be challenging.   We are currently assuming that no support at all will be available from the Government for our activities,  and our budgetary planning is thus fairly conservative as a result.   In practice,  there may in fact be some Government support available to us,  although we will not know one way or the other until early next year,  and after our 2010 budget has been adopted.   We are reviewing our offering to our membership,  including in particular the nature of our continuing professional development (CPD) activities,  and indeed our facilities at Clyde Road for members.  We aim to ensure that we can offer the most attractive services,   given our fiscal constraints,  to facilitate our existing membership and attract even more members to our Institution.

Our Cafe Clyde Committee reviewed the general operation of our food and drink facilities.

The Executive Committee then met.  Much of the meeting was spent discussing the current assessment from the Finance Committee on next year's budget.   However the Finance Committee noted that it was not yet in a position to recommend a budget to the Executive Committee for 2010,  and that it wanted to use the next week to further review the situation.   The assumption of zero Government funding next year,  together with a probable buy-out of ground rent for Clyde Road,  presented challenges to the cash reserves.   The Finance Committee intends to be in a position to recommend a budget for 2010 by the end of next week,  and in time for the scheduled Council meeting the saturday after next.

We also discussed and reviewed a number of ongoing activities.  These included our support for unemployed members;  the 2010 annual conference in Cork;  the benevolent fund status and contribution both for 2009 and likely for 2010;  secondary school issues including the Junior Certificate programme and honours mathematics teaching;  the imminent Energy forum;  our budget submission to the Minister of Finance;  our 175th anniversary celebrations next year;  and the cost of publicly funded civil works in Ireland compared to other jurisdictions.

Overall,  our main concern at this time is to continue to re-position the criticality of the Engineering profession to the public,  the media and policy makers;  as well as enhancing even further our services to existing members,  and so in addition attracting further practising (and student) Engineers to join us.

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