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TOPIC: Notes in clarification of the AGM motion

18 Apr 2011 10:52 Notes in clarification of the AGM motion #36

Notes in clarification of the AGM motion (and some of the President’s Report at the AGM):

The change proposed is significant but not drastic, and has long been foreshadowed. It does not require a change to the SESA constitution. The constitution places such a change within the scope of Management Committee responsibility and authority:

7.1.2 The classes of membership, entry fees and annual fees shall be determined by the National Management Committee in line with the Engineers Australia Technical Society Guidelines and Regulations. Notification of any changes to the membership and fee structure shall be provided to members not less than 30 days before such changes come into effect.

The Engineers Australia Technical Society Guidelines and Regulations provide:

8.04 The officer bearers of the Technical Society shall have primary responsibility to obligate funds and assets of the Technical Society to promote the Technical Society's activities and do so with due diligence, and in accordance with the Engineers Australia Code of Ethics, Privacy Policy and the Technical Society Constitution.

Nonetheless, because it is a significant change the Committee considers it appropriate to put the motion at AGM for vote by the membership at large. As advised previously action has been taken to enable proxy voting so that all members can participate.

It is normal practice (e.g. public company administration and government postal voting) to call for and close proxy voting prior to the vote on the day at an AGM. The Secretary has requested proxy votes to be provided by 29th April 11.

The proposed change does not change the organisational structure of SESA. SESA remains a Technical Society of Engineers Australia; and remains unchanged as the Australian national learned society representing systems engineers and systems engineering. What is being changed is the benefits provided to members, and the necessary fee change to make the change financially sustainable.

The incorporation of INCOSE Australia into SESA formalises and builds on the arrangement put in place in 2006 by a Memorandum of Understanding between SESA and INCOSE Australia.

INCOSE Australia members are recognised as SESA members with full membership rights. INCOSE Australia is a distinct chapter by charter of INCOSE, and is required to have a President, Secretary and Treasurer to meet INCOSE Central chapter requirements. However SESA administers INCOSE Australia in that INCOSE Central provides the Australian chapter funds rebate of the INCOSE membership fee (currently $US30 per member) to SESA which then provides local benefits i.e. SESA membership and activities. INCOSE Australia members and financial management are fully integrated with SESA - SESA is the de facto Australian chapter of INCOSE.

SESA’s mission is to share, promote and advance the best of Systems Engineering for the benefit of Australian organizations and community. This includes providing benefits to and enhancing the professional standing of members of the organisation. Management committees of the day and members at large have long considered that the best way to do this is to have SESA formally recognised as the Australian Chapter of INCOSE while remaining a Technical Society of Engineering Australia and being the sole national organisation representing Systems Engineers and systems engineering in Australia.

The National Committee considers that the benefit of INCOSE membership that will in future be part of SESA membership significantly contributes to the SESA mission of promoting systems engineering in Australia, and enhances not only the professional knowledge and standing of individual systems engineering but also the collective standing of Australian systems engineers within the international systems engineering community. Consequently the Committee considers that the increase in membership fee is warranted (noting that in the past the fees have been decreased for want for membership benefit.)

Previously the affiliation in the manner proposed and agreed in principle with INCOSE could not be achieved due to previous INCOSE Boards of Directors’ stance on membership and chapter structure. In recent years due to the global expansion and true internationalisation of INCOSE the proposed change can now be achieved through an MOU between EA, SESA and INCOSE.

The proposed change will place SESA’s relationship with INCOSE on an equal basis with that of other national organisations in Europe (e.g. France, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands) and Asia (e.g. Korea). And because that basis is equal the terms of agreement with INCOSE are not likely to change with further negotiation.

To clarify the proposed fee structure: the statement of motion should; read:
The SESA fee includes GST, and the payment (in US dollars) of the INCOSE membership fee (less chapter rebate), the associated foreign exchange fee and any exchange rate variation.

The current INCOSE fee for individual full membership is USD135 which includes USD30 rebated to the individual’s nominated chapter. The proposed SESA fee is ASD135. (The respective fees happen to be numerically identical due the near parity levels of the respective currencies.) INCOSE multi-year membership has been introduced this year and any advantage to be gained for SESA members will be pursued with INCOSE, subject to agreement with Engineers Australia who administer the SESA membership database, as is done for all Technical Societies.

The SESA fee is charged in Australia for an Australian service, being SESA membership, and therefore includes GST ($12.27). USD105 will be paid on an annual basis to INCOSE as consideration for recognition of the SESA member as a full member of INCOSE. Any exchange rate variation will be met by SESA funds - subject to review by the Management Committee. Any surplus in membership fees contributes to the administration of the organisation. As financially modelled by the Treasurer, these funds are not sufficient to cover SESA’s organisational costs – the reminder is derived from surpluses derived form running a successful annual conference.

It is true that SESA does have significant consolidated funds accumulated from past conference surpluses. The current Management Committee, fully aware of this situation, has worked this past year to identify and plan SESA development and system engineering promotion activities and programs that provide additional benefits to members and promote systems engineering across a broad community.

Elements of this program include student awards, prizes and possibly scholarships; subsidised professional development (i.e. systems engineering related training and education) for SESA members; participation in overseas conferences, meetings and other fora; development of Australian specific systems engineering body of knowledge and practice items and artefacts (that build on the breadth and depth of information available to membership at the INCOSE website) etc.

One of the development activities undertaken by the Committee is improvement in communication with members at large. The Committee sees the SESA website as a primary tool to achieve this communication. Consequently significant effort has been and will continue to be made to ensure that membership lists and email addresses are current. This is necessary as we move more to online delivery of newsletters and other member benefits. Simplification of management of membership data is a not insignificant benefit which will flow from SESA being the singular INCOSE membership point of contact in Australia.

The member benefit and systems engineering promotion activities and programs are being developed in a prudent (and even perhaps a robust systems engineering) manner. The Management Committee after investigation and analysis of alternatives considers that these programs and activities are a better and more equitable use of consolidated funds than large scale subsidy of INCOSE membership. Details and direction of some of these activities will be announced during the SETE conference and at the AGM – and made known to membership via the SESA website!

I encourage all to participate in the AGM either directly or by proxy. Needless to say I also encourage you to support the motion.

I also encourage members to provide suggestions and support for the development activities being considered nu the Management Committee.

Further, I wish to see as many of you as possible at the forthcoming conference.

Best regards

Paul W Logan
Systems Engineering Society of Australia
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