Public Affairs Strategy Our journey to 2026


Our Public Affairs work draws on the expertise and insight of our global membership and highlights how engineering and technology drives economic growth and improves quality of life for us and future generations.

Part of the Corporate Communications team and within the International, Strategic Marketing and Engagement Directorate, Public Affairs works in partnership with colleagues across the organisation to inform and raise the visibility of the IET’s advocacy work.

This includes UK Government, Parliament, Civil Service colleagues (including the Chief Scientific Advisors), the Devolved Administrations, the Metropolitan Mayors and Local Authorities.

The strategy also supports the Corporate Communications team’s overarching responsibility and activities to build and maintain the IET’s reputation and influence with key external stakeholders.

As a charity, we are bound by UK charity regulation on campaigning and political activity. Our work must be politically impartial and seen to be carrying out our charitable purpose, for the public benefit.

Evolving our Public Affairs strategy

Where we are (in 2021): The IET will develop effective two-way relationships with key Public Affairs audiences, so that the IET becomes a stronger influencer for UK engineering-related policy.

Work on the new strategy began in the early part of 2021, consulting with colleagues across the IET. In total, 30 colleagues have fed into the strategy to ensure it meets all requirements of the IET.

Our strategy

“Our revised Public Affairs strategy is about positioning the IET as a global thought leader for engineering and technology.
“We will do this by advocating on behalf of the profession on areas that affect all of society. By harnessing the power of the whole IET on issues such as sustainability and climate change, and digital futures, we are uniquely placed to provide solutions which will benefit peoples’ lives.
“We’ll be bolder as we influence governments to build engineering excellence into their curriculums and professions. We’ll hold them to account where we think they’ve got things wrong. Through our bold evidence-based interactions, we’ll continue to be a trusted source of impartial expertise and intelligence. It’s why we are uniquely placed to be the global voice of engineering and technology.”
Toni Allen, Director of International, Strategic Marketing and Engagement

To become a global thought leader, we’ll need to consider what extra resources are available to help us achieve this vision. We’ll look at relevant territories across the world where the IET has activities and initiatives that will position us as an independent, impartial source of expertise. This will be done on a case by case basis. Support may be provided by an agency or it may be decided that extra headcounts are required.

The global marketing and engagement structure is being strengthened to support this global ambition. However, we may need local agency support to deliver and stay close to localised, country initiatives outside of the UK.

Progress to date (since 2018)

Since the publication of the IET’s first Public Affairs strategy in 2018, considerable progress has been made.

This includes:

- Setting up the IET’s Public Affairs function and embedding it within the organisation

- Developing a top-level IET stakeholder map to ensure effective targeting of messages

- Contributing to the new strategic stakeholder engagement KPI

- Launching and managing the Cross-PEI Public Affairs Group, which has improved collaboration amongst the PEI community

- Engaging Parliamentarians in the IET@150 campaign, including:

  • Darren Jones MP, Chair of the BEIS Select Committee
  • Greg Clark MP, Chair of the Science & Technology Select Committee

- Developing and implementing Public Affairs campaigns around key IET outputs, including:

  • IET supporting the Parliamentary launch of the Government’s Year of Engineering campaign
  • Regular briefings and engagement with the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisors
  • Regular attendance by MPs at IET events such as Young Woman Engineer of the Year, party conference fringe events and FIRST LEGO League finals
  • Prime Minister’s message of support and No 10 social media activity for Young Woman Engineer of the Year
  • Engagement with the Chancellor of the Exchequer through a virtual meeting with Young Woman Engineer of the Year finalists
  • Frequent meetings between policy leads and MPs and civil servants
  • Improved, regular communications with Chief Scientific Advisers

- Relationships developed with key stakeholders across all levels of Government and Opposition

- Improved awareness of Public Affairs among IET staff

Our revised strategy

Now that Public Affairs is embedded within the IET, the time is right to move on to the next level of Public Affairs activity.

This strategy will support the IET Strategy 2030, which highlights what we want to achieve in the next 10 years and how we'll meet our objectives during the decade. The Public Affairs strategy plays an important part in helping the IET deliver its 10-year vision, whether that be supporting our Strategic Themes and Societal Challenges, our operational expertise or our enabling strategies, such as how we engage with our audiences.

We will ensure all Public Affairs activity aligns to our Strategic Themes: Engineering Excellence; Skills, Learning and Networks; Research Solutions; Thought Leadership and Policy; and Education.

The Thought Leadership and Policy theme is particularly important to our Public Affairs activity.

Thought Leadership and Policy

2030 Outcome: We are the leading evidenced voice of engineering and technology influencing societal debate.

2030 Ambition: Our influence is seen in society every day.

We’ll do it by:

  • Reinvigorating our position as the leading evidence-based voice of the engineering and technology profession
  • Taking a clear, confident, evidence-based position on key issues affecting society to influence the global public debate
  • Being the source of choice of independent information for policy makers
  • Facilitating the exchange of ideas, opportunities and information that increases the efficiency, adoption and success of engineering and technology innovation

In addition, all Public Affairs activity will support our Societal Challenges, which are: Healthy Lives; Digital Futures; People-centric Infrastructure; Productive Manufacturing; and Sustainability and Climate Change.

A unique position for the IET is our breadth across engineering and technology. Ensuring all Public Affairs activity aligns directly to the IET Strategy 2030 will give us a unique position.

Take, for example, Sustainability and Climate Change. An IET campaign could look at what areas may be likely to stop the UK meeting its Climate Change targets. The IET is uniquely places to offer a list of the key areas where investment is needed to ensure these blockers are removed whether they be related to energy, transport, manufacturing or any other area.

The IET has the power to convene experts, to create the solutions and to share this with the world to ensure real change.

However, the power to respond quickly is an area where the IET will need to improve. This will need careful consideration and appropriate action to ensure our influence is seen in society every day. Key to our success will be the ability to be braver in our messaging, as well as holding elected individuals to account when appropriate.


The IET seeks to raise the profile of engineering and technology, and its importance and value in providing solutions to global societal needs.

We will do this by positioning ourselves as a global advocacy organisation for engineering and technology. In line with our 2030 strategy, we will advocate societal themes that affect us all. By addressing these themes, we will inform and influence policy makers. This will be serviced through the provision of robust, impartial information, events and thought leadership.

Why is Public Affairs important?

Public Affairs is important as it enables us to develop effective two-way relationships with key stakeholders, so that the IET becomes a strong advocacy organisation for UK engineering-related policy.

Key aim:

“By 2030, the IET will be seen, externally, as a leading global thought leader for engineering and technology”
Toni Allen, Director of International, Strategic Marketing and Engagement


The key objectives of this strategy are:

  • By 2030, the IET will be widely regarded as the leading UK advocacy organisation for all areas relating to engineering and technology (as evidenced by annual external polling)
  • Continue to build and improve the profile of the IET, and engineering generally, among target stakeholders (as evidenced by annual external polling)
  • Deliver successful, engaging campaigns that promote the entire range of IET activities (as evidenced by an increased in the strategic KPI)
  • To develop and implement a Public Affairs function across the IET’s global territories, building on areas of strength and distinctiveness (as evidenced by internal and external information gathering).


Without adopting a comprehensive and well-thought-out Public Affairs strategy, the IET is at risk of losing influence, both in terms of ensuring engineering and technology is high on the political agenda, and within the sector, losing ground to other PEIs.

As we build on our Public Affairs strategy over the coming years, we must be aware of the following risks:

  • There is currently only one full-time headcount
  • There is little resilience in the system around to expansion in Public Affairs activities to global territories
  • There is currently no CRM system to manage stakeholder engagement

Monitoring and intelligence

The basis for all effective Public Affairs activity is sound monitoring and intelligence. Without effective real-time knowledge of what is happening politically, there will be little chance of influencing the public policy agenda.

Regular monitoring of all Public Affairs activities is recorded and feeds in directly to the strategic stakeholder engagement KPI.

Monitoring and intelligence forms a central part of the IET’s Public Affairs Strategy. This information is shared with key IET colleagues via the weekly Communications and Public Affairs Updates.

Stakeholder engagement

The Public Affairs Manager maintains a top-level stakeholder map of key stakeholders, which forms the basis of a structured programme of political engagement.

The Public Affairs Manager assists colleagues to carefully consider their target stakeholders ahead of any campaign.

In the context of this strategy key UK stakeholders are likely to be Government Ministers, Parliamentarians, Civil Servants (including the Chief Scientific Advisors), Devolved Assemblies, Directly Elected Mayors and Local Authorities.

As we expand globally, we will set-out key stakeholder targets.

Roles and responsibilities

The key point of contact for Public Affairs is the Public Affairs Manager who is responsible for delivering against the detail of this strategy. He will liaise closely with IET colleagues and agencies to deliver the strategy.

In terms of how Public Affairs reports into the Executive team, the Public Affairs Manager reports to the Head of Corporate Communications who reports to the Director of International, Strategic Marketing and Engagement.

Thank you

Robert Beahan, Public Affairs Manager

Robert Beahan leads our Public Affairs work.

If you have any questions, you can contact him by email at rbeahan@theiet.org