Sir Mark Walport, Head of the GSE Profession provides an insight into the recent GSE Profession Board, including a big announcement on GSE membership for public sector organisations.
It was my great pleasure to chair the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) Profession Board last week; the first since the publication of our new GSE Strategy. Heads of Science and Engineering Profession from major science and engineering user organisations across government were represented; tasked with providing strategic senior leadership for the GSE profession.
Opening up GSE membership
We engaged in some lively discussion and debate, covering topics from the review of the GSE professional skills framework to chartership and accreditation. The big headline from the meeting was that the board unanimously agreed to open up membership of the GSE profession to public servants and crown servants with a background in science and engineering. We all recognised the valuable contribution made by scientists and engineers working in government arms-length bodies and public research establishments across the country; helping us to source the best possible advice and evidence to support government decision making.
We could not see any reason for restricting membership to civil servants. Our view was that if individuals are willing to commit to our vision for a “high profile, proud and effective GSE profession” they should be afforded the same CPD and career opportunities as civil servants. We have set the bar high; aspiring to be a diverse and inclusive GSE profession and this is a positive step in the right direction.
Taking departmental action
There is a renewed interest in the GSE profession across Whitehall and from our stakeholders in the wider science and engineering community. Our membership numbers have doubled since the launch of the strategy, and so eyes are firmly on us, to crack on with the delivery of the GSE Strategy action plan.
I am pleased to report that the Heads of Profession remain undaunted by this prospect, quite the contrary; they seem energised by the opportunity to connect with scientists and engineers in their department. In fact, each board member has agreed to work up plans for how their department will contribute to the strategy implementation. These plans will be scrutinised and challenged at future board meetings. This demonstrates that we are fully committed to the GSE Strategy; that we are accountable and willing to make a personal investment in the future success of the GSE profession.
Our next meeting is planned for March next year and I look forward to giving you further updates on the progress that we make on our ambitious action plan, throughout 2017.
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