Comments by Malcolm Saunders of the Southern Area
MISSION STATEMENT - we do not have one in Southern Area but basically our aim is to provide an interesting programme of events for members in the Area (both lectures and visits) and to encourage participation in IMechE activities.
BUDGET - Charles Clarke can probably best answer this question for you. However, as a guide on panel budget, in Southern Area we plan on 4 evening meetings per year at a cost of ?110 per meeting (i.e. ?440 for the year). This is to cover room hire, cost of refreshments and expenses of speakers. The IMechE are quite strict about not paying speaker fees but do allow 'reasonable expenses' for speakers (e.g. second class, not first class rail fares). We find that most speakers will waive expenses, or keep them to a bare minimum. You may be more fortunate being based at the University in that room hire may not be incurred. However we tend to provide our own catering (usually my wife makes the sandwiches) whereas you may have to pay University catering rates.
We also allow ?130 per year for committee meetings to cover room hire and refreshments.
We allow ?60 per year for visits. This is to cover any costs incurred by the organiser. We try to make visits self financing (i.e. charge members the entry fee, if applicable)
We also allow ?200 per year to cover committee expenses such as stationery, printing supplies, postage. In recent years we have managed to keep within these budget figures.
Our total budget is higher than these figures suggest as we also pick up the expenses that are incurred by the organisation of London South Bank University events.
EVENTS - this is always a problem; trying to decide on the type of event that members would want to see organised. I have tried doing an email shot asking for ideas but the response has not been great. Usually it is down to discussion at our meetings where we have a brainstorming session to come up with ideas. Sometimes our committee members already have suitable contacts. A method I have used in the past is to scan through the pages of Agenda to see what other Regions have organised and see if any of these are likely to be of interest to members in our area. Unfortunately the hard copy Agenda is no longer produced. I guess you can look at 'back issues' via the web pages, but have not tried it myself.
Prof. Tim Dwyer who used to organise events at London South Bank University (unfortunately he is leaving LSBU soon) organised meetings on the built environment as joint meetings with CIBSE. These were geared towards CPD for those attending. The range of topics covered was, however, of interest to those outside building services and he always got good attendances.
The range of subjects you have already discussed look very interesting (may pinch a few). At the moment in Southern Area we are considering: Integrating the National Grid (i.e. feed in from alternative energy sources), Sustainable Energy, Building Design (for energy saving), Tidal Power, Energy Storage
COMPETITION - we haven't tried this in Southern Area but the Young Members panel organise a Speak Out for Engineering competition each year at Bird Cage Walk (BCW). It is a good way of encouraging students/young Engineers to practise presentational skills for their specialised topic.
VISITS - Your suggestions look good. We normally promote our visits to the whole Region so that members from other areas can participate. We recently had an interesting one - a backstage tour of the National Theatre. A popular one a few years ago was a visit to the Royal Chelsea Hospital. One of the Pensioners gave us a guided tour. Most venues will charge. As mentioned earlier we try and cover the costs from the members who are attending but sometimes we may have to pick up some expenses.
ANNUAL TIMETABLE - a good idea. Tim Dwyer always used to get his events organised well in advance and this was useful because it helped avoid clashes. Occasionally speakers can only make certain dates so there can be some adjustment
PUBLICITY - I think you were speaking to Giles Hartill at our meeting last week so he will have given you information about promoting via the Near You web pages and email shots.
PANEL MEETINGS - in Southern Area we meet about 6 times a year between September and June. Apart from the evening meetings we have a luncheon club (self financing) so our meeting also considers topics for the lunch meetings. I ma sure that you will find out how often you need to meet as you develop your programme.
WEBSITE - again Giles will have discussed this and I am sure will have made arrangements for you to upload information about your meetings onto the Near You web pages. I update the Southern Area events on the Near You web pages. You may want to appoint someone from your committee to do this.