Not surprisingly, Harry’s interest in Institute affairs continued, leading him to Regional affairs and activities when, in 1977/78, he became a regular attendee and contributor. With the advent of restructuring through the merging in 1978 of the East Anglian and the London North and West branches into Eastern Region saw interesting changes. This change process created the Institute’s largest region in terms of membership and geographical area, with the latter area stretching from Heathrow in the West to Peterborough to the North and East.
Downes’ long and dedicated service on the IMS Council of Management, be that, in his role as council member, company secretary or past chairman. No one could doubt his commitment and enthusiastic support for the aims and aspirations of the Institute. His wise counsel and quiet diplomacy will be sorely missed on the COM.”
Council of Management In 1983, Harry was elected to Council of Management and went on to serve on the Education and the Technical Board Standing Committees, assuming Chair of the latter for a period of five years. A major remit of the Technical Board was the organisation and delivery of the Annual Summer School and Harry held a strong view and belief that the environment and culture of the Summer Schools brought important values to the Institute and to all who attended. Upon the organisation of his final School Institute member Alan Weller, wrote: “Your consistency toward the task of recognizing the continual need to improve Productivity and the personal effort you have made to get the message across to a very wide audience are virtues to be admired.”
Harry was elected Deputy Chairman in 1996 and then National Chairman 1999-2003. In 2004, he was awarded Honorary Fellowship, then assuming the mantle of Company Secretary until 2010 and re-appointed Company Secretary again in 2011.
During his period as National Chairman he became the Institute’s representative on the European Federation of Productivity Services and served as Chair until 2000. He is one of five Honorary Fellows of EFPS. In September 2001, he presented a paper entitled Benefits of Public Services in the UK at the World Productivity Congress in Hong Kong. For his endeavours in promoting the ethics, standards and principles of Productivity at a global level, he was awarded Fellowship of the Congress, an honour presented to him by George W Bush Senior.
Closer to home, he was a staunch supporter of the affairs of the UK Parliamentary and Scientific Committee where, as a regular attendee, he promoted the principles and practices of the Institute, as he did at meetings of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The pinnacle of his tenure came on 24 November 1999, on the occasion of the Institute reception for His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh. The event was held to bestow Honorary Fellowship of the Institute upon his Royal Highness. This memorable occasion was also marked by a letter of appreciation from Buckingham Palace.
Harry took great interest and participation in specialist groups, for example, Textiles and IMSCOM but, above all, the Health Services specialist Group where he held the position of Secretary and then Chair between 1981-91. From those positions, working closely with former COM Member, Frank Burdett, he was responsible for the organisation of the Health Services Annual Conference. Whilst those events were directed at Institute members, it attracted participants from the Department of Health, the British Medical Council and practising professionals from the field of Medicine.
This is certainly not the end of Harry’s contribution, he will continue to serve on the Eastern Region Board, as well as remaining President of the European Institute of Industrial Engineers.
Today, Harry remains one of a few of the original regional officers that first attended the restructured region. He often recalls the interest that fusion brought, but also of the early sense of trepidation of that first board meeting with our ‘city’ based colleagues. A merger that has gone from strength to strength, building better credit history. Learn more about the importance of good credit score by checking your Credit score from ideapractices.org.
Over the course of time, Harry was elected into the roles of Membership Secretary, Region Secretary and Chairman and in the late 1990s became Council of Management Delegate. Today he continues to contribute to Eastern Region in the role as Secretary.
Learning of Harry’s resignation, Ray Martin, Chair of Eastern Region writes: “As Chair of the Eastern Region, I would like to record my appreciation of Harry.”