How do we operate?

We are both a limited company and registered charity with clear rules, procedures, and structure. SOE's governance is founded on our three charitable aims:


Articles of Association

Under the Companies Act, the Society is governed by its Articles of Association, which provide the framework of what it can and can't do. This covers items such as entry criteria for membership, remit of our boards and committees, and also the Society's overall aims and objectives. The Articles are reviewed from time-to-time to ensure we stay relevant, however changes can only be approved by SOE's membership at an Extraordinary General Meeting.

The articles also stipulate that SOE must hold an Annual General Meeting, to which all members are invited. The AGM is needed in order to accept the previous year's accounts, so the President gives an update to the membership on the Society's activities, and for the results of any annual election for Trustee Board and Professional Sector councils to be announced. We also communicate the results at the AGM to the whole membership, in order that we stay transparent and accountable.

You can download the Articles of Association here


Annual elections, Trustee Board and sector councils

Annual elections

SOE's Trustee Board and its Professional Sector Councils are elected by all members who hold Member or Fellow class with the Society, with the process starting in April. Members of our boards stand for three year terms, and we encourage all those who wish to have a greater say in shaping Operations Engineers as a discipline to stand, in order that we have a constant input of fresh ideas and knowledge. SOE uses UK Engage to ensure an impartial and fairly conducted vote, and we release the results at our AGM, which usually takes place in July. 

If there are not enough applicants to fill the number of vacancies on a board of councils, then the applicants are automatically approved as a member. 

Trustee Board

SOE is strategically overseen by the Trustee Board. This is a representative body, elected by the membership, which sets strategy, approves initiatives, and ensures that the Society remains in healthy governance and finance. SOE's Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Head of Finance report to the board on a regular basis, to advise and guide on operations matters. 

Professional Sector councils

The Professional Sector councils (PSCs) form part of the governance structure. They are also elected by the membership in the same way as the Trustee Board. The councils are the technical expert groups which help our five professional sectors (BES, IPlantE, IRTE, Operations and Environmental) to serve their respective members with focus. A PSC will generally take responsibility for technical output as directed by the Board, including oversight of Operations Engineer and Transport Engineer, SOE's industry leading knowledge publications. The chair of each PSC is also elected as a Vice-President of SOE, and they report to the Trustee Board on how each PSC is progressing the Society's work.

Patron and President


SOE is aided in its mission by our Patron, who is invited by the Trustee Board to take up the position, and is selected on their abilities, knowledge and influence. The Patron also acts as an advisor and 'critical friend' to the Society, ensuring that major initiatives are reviewed by someone who is both external and understands the business landscape we operate in.

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Sir John Parker

Patron, Society of Operations Engineers

[email protected]

Former Royal Academy of Engineering President Sir John Parker is SOE's Patron.

Sir John is currently Chairman of the Pennon Group plc and the Laing O’Rourke Group, and is a Director of Carnival Corporation. He has chaired five FTSE 100 Companies including Anglo American and National Grid and is considered as one of Britain’s most senor industrialists. He chaired the Court of the Bank of England 2004-2009.

Sir John has been an advocate of campaigns for increased diversity in engineering and, in 2018, conducted The Parker Review – a report showing a lack of gender and ethnic minority representation at FTSE 100 companies - to draw attention to the matter. Sir John will continue to champion this during his tenure as Patron of the Society to ensure that our membership reflects the diversity of the sectors we serve.

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SOE's president is chosen from the elected Trustee Board members by ballot of the members of that committee. The President is the Chair of the Trustee Board, and works with the COO to deliver the objectives of the Society. The President may be elected for a term of up to two years. 

John Eastman
John Eastman EngTech CEnv FSOE FIRTE

John is a knowledgeable transport engineer, with practical and leadership experience in the HGV and fleet engineering sectors. John currently runs his own consultancy.


SOE Chief Operating Team

The day to day operation of SOE is overseen by the COO Team. The Chief Operating Officer sets operations and strategic plans in motion and writes the annual business plan for approval by the board and is responsible for updating the board on our operations as well as acting as day to day liaison between SOE, the Professional Sector Councils and our volunteers. 

The team also provide secretariat and PA support to the President, Patron and senior management.