Governance review

Sound governance arrangements support effective leadership, accountability and continuous improvement of our Institution and the members we serve.  

Having developed our new Statement of Strategic Intent, Engineers Ireland’s Council decided it was timely to review the governance of the Institution to ensure Engineers Ireland delivers on our Core Purpose - in the best interests of the profession. Read Process for the Review of the Governance of Engineers Ireland 2020.

Given the scale of the project, and the expert nature of the issue, external assistance was required across all stages of this project. A competitive tender process was undertaken to identify suitably qualified independent expertise. Read the Invitation to Tender.

The Council and Executive Board discussed the progress of the Review at meetings and a summary of matters considered can be found here. The Governance Review was conducted in phases and the Phase One Report, the Consultation Process Report from Phase Two and the Final Report from Phase Three have all been made available to members from this webpage. Should members have further questions, please contact - all reasonable efforts will be made to respond to appropriate requests, mindful of time and resources. 

Brief overview of our Governance Arrangements

Engineers Ireland
Bye-Laws and Code of Ethics
Engineers Ireland is governed by the provisions of its Bye-laws and Code of Ethics which are implemented by its Council of Members and its Executive Board. The Bye-laws constitute the rules whereby Engineers Ireland carries out its statutory functions as specified in the 1877 Charter, the 1960 Act and the 1969 Act.

The governance of Engineers Ireland is vested in Council subject to the provisions of the Charter, of the Bye-laws and to the resolutions of Special General Meetings. The Engineers Ireland Council is made up of the Officer Group, Chairpersons of certain key committees, elected members and representatives of the regional and divisional spread of the organisation. The following is the list of functions reserved to Council.

Specific Duties and Powers Reserved to Council

(i) Election of the Executive Board
(ii) Deliberating on strategic planning and policy issues in order to inform and advise the Executive Board
(iii) Final approval of any proposals prepared by the Executive Board in relation to changes to: the Code of Ethics and disciplinary procedures; Membership Regulations; Membership Subscriptions; Changes to Bye-laws; Changes to the Charter and legislation; New Regional Branches, Engineering Divisions and Societies or modifications to existing; Regional Branches, Engineering Divisions and Societies; Any amendment to the Guidelines for Regional Branches, Engineering Divisions and Societies; Annual Budget and Annual Accounts
(iv) Nomination of candidates for Vice President
(v) Election of Honorary Fellows
(vi) Calling Special General Meetings and Ordinary General Meetings
(vii) Conduct of elections to Council

PwC observations and recommendations
Read more about PwC's key insights below.

Please click on the sections to read the PwC observations in each dropdown below, followed by their overall message and key recommendations.


PwC’s main recommendations in respect of Council were that formal induction training be introduced and that this should begin with Council. They also recommended that a Council evaluation should be undertaken in order to identify areas for enhancement and feedback.

In respect of meeting arrangements, PwC observed that Council and the Executive Board should meet separately but that a joint strategy ‘away day’ should be held. They recommended that Council should prioritise strategic planning, policy and membership matters on its meeting agenda and avoid duplication of papers/materials between it and the Executive Board.

They further recommend that an exercise be undertaken to clarify and document matters reserved/duties for Council and Executive Board as well as agreeing reporting protocols between committees and Council / Executive Board.

Finally, PwC recommended that the length of tenure on Council should be limited to six years while at the same time efforts need to be made to preserve corporate memory through succession planning. A review of the size and composition of Council should be conducted within the timeframe of the current corporate strategy.

The Executive Board

The Executive Board governs Engineers Ireland on behalf of Council in accordance with the Bye-laws. In governing Engineers Ireland the Board does so by determining, in a systematic manner, policies to be followed and implemented by the Director General and by the committees of Engineers Ireland, the Board may not delegate this duty. The Executive Board monitors and takes appropriate action as required, to ensure its policies are being adhered to and implemented in a proper manner. 

PwC’s main recommendations in respect of the Executive Board were to undertake a review of its membership, tenure, rotation and succession planning. As stated earlier they further recommend that an exercise be undertaken to clarify and document matters reserved/duties for the Executive Board as well as agreeing reporting protocols between committees and Council. PwC recommended that the role of the Executive Board in respect of reporting, oversight and governance of committees should be strengthened.

The President and the Director General

The President, as Chairman of Council, is responsible for the integrity of processes of Council, the Executive Board and Special and Annual General Meetings. The President, the two Vice Presidents and the immediate Past President shall be the Officers of Council.

The Director General (DG) has overall responsibility management of Engineers Ireland's property, assets, funds and records. The DG, together with the Senior Management Team, manages the organisation on a day-to-day basis.

PwC recommended that Engineers Ireland document the role of DG and President and formalise the process for the selection of a Vice President.


The Council has established groups of members sharing a common defined geographical area known as Regional Branches. It has also established groups with a common disciplinary interest known as Engineering Divisions and groups of members and non-members of Engineers Ireland, other than Engineering Divisions or Regional Branches, with specific interests known as Societies. 

PwC suggested that consideration be given to aligning the term of a Sectoral Chair (currently one year) with the three-year Council term to enable members to leverage their experience on Council and contribute meaningfully. In general, PwC recommended that all committees should review their membership, tenure, rotation and succession planning. 

Liaison Committee

Council has established a Liaison Committee whose purpose is to foster co-operation between our Sectors through the dissemination of information on the activities to the membership, acting as a forum in which operational matters relevant to Regional Branches, Engineering Divisions and Societies are discussed and co-ordinating an annual programme of Sectoral events including the promotion of joint events.

Boards and Committees

Engineers Ireland has a large number of Boards and Committees. These groups operate under Terms of Reference and are intended to deal with complex or specialised issues such as financial oversight, membership regulations, professional standards, etc. In accordance with the Bye-laws, Boards and Committees make recommendations for action to the Council and or Executive Board, who retain collective responsibility for decision making.

PwC observed that, relative to other similar bodies, Engineers Ireland has a large number of Boards and Committees. They made several recommendations to improve oversight and governance, by the Executive Board, including: agreeing on reporting protocols between committees and the Executive Board, reviewing the terms of reference for all Boards and Committees and reviewing the tenure and succession planning of Chairs of Boards/Committees. 

Overall message

600x366 Executive Board

A fundamental good governance obligation is the concept of checks and balances and the separation of powers, and that is supported by having clarity of roles and responsibilities so that there is no role confusion between those who occupy governance and leadership positions in an organisation, whether at Council, Board, Committee or Management level.

PwC's assessment is that the governance arrangements and legal structure in place are adequate and would mirror that of similar organisations, however more clarity is required in certain areas. For comparison purposes, PwC interviewed Presidents, Past-Presidents and Officers of a number of membership organisations.  The interviews were undertaken in confidence to enable the interviewees to be candid and open about the governance structure and practices of their organisations.  The organisations were all membership bodies from a cross section of professions, with membership numbers ranging from between 5,000 to 30,000 approximately.  During the interviews, PwC obtained the views of the interviewees on what worked well in their organisations in terms of governance and discussed the challenges faced and how these were addressed.

In addition to the interviews undertaken with the membership organisations, PwC undertook a desktop review of the governance arrangements of a range of comparator bodies and compared their structures and governance arrangements against those of Engineers Ireland.  Between five and ten membership bodies were reviewed over the course of the assignment.

PwC made 12 overarching recommendations which were unanimously supported by Council. These include: clarifying matters reserved for Council and matters delegated to the Executive Board, prioritising discussion on strategic planning, policy and membership matters at Council meetings, documenting the role of the President and Director General, updating Terms of Reference, tenure and reporting arrangements for all Committees and Boards, providing induction training to help Council members and the Executive Board understand their role and function.

Read the Governance Review Phase One Report
Click the link below.

Consultation Meetings:

A series of meetings were arranged in September to facilitate the various groups within the institution inputting to the Governance Review process. The purpose of the consultation with members was to:

  1. Clarify the rationale for and approach to the Governance Review. 
  2. Communicate the main recommendations of the PwC report on the Governance Review and offer members an opportunity to engage in a discussion on expectations in relation to the principles of governance and the options for governance models.
  3. Establish a consensus on the main issues to be actioned arising from the review. 
  4. Clarify the next steps in relation to the process.

A report “Governance Review Consultation Process” provides a composite summary of feedback from the consultation process. It can be found at the following link. At their meeting on October 2nd, 2021, Council members reviewed and approve this consultation report. Council further agreed that the report and feedback be provided to PwC and that PwC be asked to prepare a final draft report on the Governance Review process for Council with specific recommendations and an implementation plan. Council agreed that a further opportunity for member engagement take place once the final draft report has been received and reviewed. 

Update on the project

PwC presented the Final Report of the Governance Review to Council in December 2021. This report sets out the findings and recommendations for a future Governance Model. In addition to approving the Report, Council also approved the establishment of an Oversight Group of Council to guide the implementation of the recommendations. Read The Final Report.

Additional points  

Transparency has been an important feature of the process. This includes for example being open to having members contribute via the consultation process which was run in September.

As committed, the Phase One Report, the Consultation Process Report from Phase Two, and the Final Report (link above) are now available to members.