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Chartership News June 2009

Under close scrutiny

David Manning 

On 27 March, 80 chartered geologists from across the country gathered at Burlington House for the first ever ‘Scrutineers’ Day’. Professional Secretary David Manning reports.

Geoscientist 19.6 June 2009

Many of the scrutineers who attended this meeting were newly appointed, having come in response to the recent call for volunteers; but others were old hands. Nevertheless, it was important for both groups to be present,, because both needed to find out about the new Chartership process (Geoscientists passim.).

I, together with Chartership Officer Bill Gaskarth, and Chairs of the new panels (Chartership Panel (George Tuckwell) and Audit Panel (Ruth Allington)), briefed the audience with an update on the new process, which began from the first of January this year and whose first interview day was set for Burlington House on 15 April.

The Scrutineers spent most of the day discussing the criteria under which applicants are assessed:

  • Understanding the complexities of geology and of geological processes in space and time in relation to their speciality;
  • Critical evaluation of geoscience information to generate predictive models
  • Effective communication in writing and orally;
  • Competence in the management of Health and Safety and environmental issues, and in the observance of all other statutory obligations applicable to their discipline or area of work;
  • Clear understanding of the Code of Conduct and its implementation
  • Clear understanding of the meaning and needs of professionalism;
  • Commitment to continuing professional development throughout their professional career;
  • Competence in their area of expertise.

Breakout groups addressed each of these criteria, and in feedback a number of comments were made concerning how they might be assessed, especially considering the different needs in contrasting professional areas. Importantly, Scrutineers new and old agreed on what they would expect to see for a candidate from within their own speciality. Scrutineers also gave useful feedback on possible improvements to the system, which those involved with the process will consider as it develops.

The main value of the day, however, was that in enabled Scrutineers, committee members and officers to meet and share experiences - as well as to renew old acquaintance. For some it was their first visit to Burlington House, and a welcome opportunity to see the physical resources that the Society has to offer (especially the Library, Map Library and Lyell Centre). It was also an opportunity to observe that the vast majority of our Scrutineers are men who have, shall we say, passed a certain age.

So, to those of you who aren’t (yet!) in this category of the Fellowship, I would remind you that the call for new Scrutineers is still open!