ICA members to decide future

The English ICA is to interview more than 4,000 of its members in what it describes as ‘arguably the most fundamental members’ research exercise since the institute came into being 120 years ago’.

Expected to cost around £140,000, the project is part of the much-debated ‘Strategy for the Start of the 21st Century’ – the controversial blueprint setting out the institute’s reform and modernisation plans.

The results will be used to identify which services members want from the 120,000-strong institute, and how they want to pay for them.

Nick Parker, a partner with Hampshire firm BKL Weeks Green, is overseeing the project, which has the backing of institute president Dame Sheila Masters, and is hoping to report the results to fellow members of the institute’s ruling council in December.

He has also promised the results will be shared with members, students and institute staff. ‘This must be an open process,’ he said.

Parker argues it is critical that members set the agenda which will take the institute into the next century.

‘It’s highly probable that my local supermarket knows more about me than the English ICA does,’ he said.

And he issued a plea to institute members contacted for the exercise, commenting: ‘This is a prime opportunity for you to be heard by the institute’s decision-makers and for you to play a major part in making it more responsive to your personal needs. After all, if we don’t know what you want, how can we expected to provide it?’

He added: ‘The institute has a wealth of information and know-how which ought to be easily accessible to people like me who work some distance away from Moorgate Place.

‘This exercise will provide a comprehensive assessment of the increasingly wide-ranging needs of its multidisciplinary membership and students and will set the agenda for future planning.’

Among the issues the survey will tackle is the question of which services should be paid for out of members’ annual subscriptions. Satisfaction levels with current services will also be assessed, as will the popularity of different methods of delivering services.

The institute is particularly interested in whether members want a local point of contact. It is also exploring whether more services can be delivered using electronic technology.


The Strategy for the Start of the 21st Century-linked research, by market research company BJM, started last month and will continue through to October. If contacted, members may be invited to a discussion group, one-to-one interview or to answer questions on the phone. Discussion sessions and interviews will take place outside working hours, while 20-minute phone interviews will be during pre-booked office hours.

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