Prospect (trade union)

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Prospect logo.png
Full name Prospect
Founded 1 November 2001
Members 120,000
Key people Alan Grey, president
Mike Clancy, general secretary
Office location London, England
Country United Kingdom

Prospect is a United Kingdom trade union which represents engineers, managers, scientists and other specialists in both the public and private sectors. It was formed on 1 November 2001 by the merger of the trade unions the Institution of Professionals Managers and Specialists (IPMS) and the Engineers and Managers Association (EMA). In 2009, Prospect endorsed a transfer of engagements from the Connect union, the union for managers in the communications sector, which became a part of Prospect on 1 January 2010. In 2012, the union absorbed the Aspect trade union.[1] Prospect announced in 2014 that it was in merger talks with the broadcasting union BECTU.[2] The union is not affiliated to any political party.[3]


IPCS branch banner 1986 in London on Fowler demo
IPCS banner 1986 on Fowler demo

Formed in 1919[4] (or 1918[5]) as the Institution of Professional Civil Servants (IPCS) it absorbed the Society of Technical Civil Servants in 1969. It had over 103,000 members in the 1970s.[6] In 1976, after many attempts to get its members to agree, it joined the TUC.[7] In 1984 the Association of Government Supervisors and Radio Operators (AGSRO) joined IPCS.

Following privatisation of the jobs of many of its members, IPCS changed its name to the Institution of Professionals Managers and Specialists in 1989.[8] Bill Brett was its General Secretary at the merger.[9]


As of 2013 it has around 120,000 members, employed across the areas of agriculture, defence, energy, environment, meteorology, heritage, shipbuilding, telecoms and transport. It is now the largest union representing professional engineers in the UK.


The president is Alan Grey and its General Secretary since 2013 is Mike Clancy. Its principal policy-making body is the biennial National Delegate Conference. Policies determined by this conference are enacted by a National Executive Committee of 23 members, also elected biennially.


It is organized in around 300 branches across its main sectors of employment, each branch generally corresponding to a separate employer. These include both single-site and geographically-spread groups.

It covers staff across the UK from its regional offices in Edinburgh, Douglas, Liverpool, Lutterworth, Cardiff, Bristol, Chertsey and London.


With a largely professional membership, the union has placed a strong emphasis on developing skills and opportunities for career progression. To this end it launched a standalone website called Careersmart in 2014 which provides information and podcasts on a range of subjects from career appraisals and CV writing to mentoring and pensions. Careersmart followed the 2013 launch of Prospect’s Apprenticeship App for mobile devices which saw 12,000 downloads in the first year.[10] In 2015 Prospect launched a Gatsby Charitable Foundation-funded project, known as RegTech, to register workplace technicians.[11][12]


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