The granting of a royal charter: an anachronism or a major development for ergonomics and human factors?

2015-10-27T15:51:46Z (GMT) by Roger Haslam
Ergonomics and human factors (EHF) has come a long way since the discipline and profession first started to become organised and coalesce with the forming of the Ergonomics Research Society in the UK in 1949, the Human Factors Society of America in 1957 and the founding of the International Ergonomics Association in 1959. Various authors have mapped this history, for example Edholm and Murrell (1973), Waterson and Sell (2006), Waterson and Eason (2009), Waterson (2011) in the UK; Chapanis (1999), Meister (1995, 1996, 1999) in USA, and IEA (2006) and Waterson et al (2012) for the IEA. In the UK, the Ergonomics Society, latterly the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, has long harboured the desire to become Chartered, putting it in the same position as other long established, respected professions, for example accountants, architects, civil engineers, electrical engineers, nurses, veterinary surgeons, to name but a few. It has been a long journey but in May 2014, we received the news that at a meeting of the Privy Council held at Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty The Queen had approved an Order granting a Charter to the Institute (Privy Council, 2014). In pursuit of this goal, much work had to be done lobbying government departments whose support would be crucial to the success of the petition. The Institute also needed to ensure there would be no objection from cognate societies with whom our interests intersect. It was also a mammoth task to prepare the Charter and Byelaws, the governance documents under which the Chartered Institute would operate and which the Privy Council and Charity Commission needed to approve.