10 September 2018 by Steve Eminton

‘CIWM rumours causing concern’, says President

Members of CIWM will attend their annual general meeting during this week’s RWM show at Birmingham and receive some details about a range of changes proposed for the Institution.

They have been told by their president, Professor David Wilson, that trustees have agreed that CIWM “needs to change substantially” and that he appreciates that “rumours about the situation are giving cause for concern to members”.

CIWM President, Professor David Wilson, told members that CIWM “needs to change substantially”

But, despite these concerns, members appear unlikely to receive any detailed information about the changes ahead as these are being kept under wraps by CIWM chiefs and will be examined in private by the Institution’s top committees later this month. Some details are expected to be discussed at a regional level with members in October.

The proposed changes come in the wake of a warning from Professor Wilson about regrettable financial losses at the organisation and with trustees of CIWM saying they are “very disappointed to have to report a consolidated net operating expenditure (deficit) of £223,216 for a further year.”


And, Professor Wilson also reveals that despite the development in 2017 of a five-year CIWM Group Strategy “providing a direction of travel through to 2023”, money has been spent in 2018 on new strategy input from two consultancies to help take the organisation forward. The pair are BDO and Andrew Garcia.

In a letter to corporate members, Professor Wilson gives some detail about the financial situation and explains that CIWM and its business division CIWM Enterprises made a loss of £412,000 during 2017 although this was mitigated by income from the separate charity WAMITAB which made a profit of £189,000. However, CIWM does have reserves built up over the past 25 years.

One bright spot for the organisation is that despite the fact that non-chartered members of the Institution have been falling for 10 years, a new affiliate package for business members has helped improve membership numbers. In 2016 CIWM membership stood at 5,446 and this fell to 5,240 last year. As of August 2018 membership is up by 299, said the professor.


With restructuring happening within the organisation a number of people have left CIWM this year and the finance director Kathy Webster has recently retired with an interim being appointed. And, chief executive Dr Colin Church is leaving this autumn. With reference to Dr Church, Professor Wilson said that “it is to say the least unfortunate timing that head-hunters came to call with an offer that he could not refuse, while our change process is still very much in progress.”

Professor Wilson continued: “Colin’s departure does give us the opportunity to review our leadership structure and ensure that it is indeed suited to the future.” However, Professor Wilson confirmed that a new CEO will be appointed.

Wider sector

Speaking to letsrecycle.com, Professor Margaret Bates, who is chairman of CIWM’s executive committee, said that the problems besetting CIWM “are reflective of the wider sector for all membership organisations. It is a very challenging market which is why with all the constitutional changes we are addressing this and these will be discussed at the AGM.”

Professor Margaret Bates described the market as “very challenging”

In terms of the financial pressures on the Institution, she said: “This is against a background of wider austerity with local authorities cutting back on training expenditure and a higher number of members having to pay their own fees.”


The Action Plan being prepared will cover a number of topics, said Professor Bates. This will include cost reductions and measures to increase revenues. And, she said the new structures and new ways ahead by “CIWM terms would be radical”.

She said she recognises that “change provokes reaction and it does make people feel unnerved. But this will calm those nerves and a lot of people feel confident already but we will consolidate that in the general membership.”

IT struggles

One senior member told letsrecycle.com that they were still concerned that after a number of successful years finances were now under pressure at CIWM and that annual income from the RWM exhibition looked more uncertain. The member added: “Staffing numbers have grown quite dramatically and the Institution still struggles with IT.”


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