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Small group of disaffected members behind no confidence motion, says BCS

The vice president of the BCS has claimed that a campaign for an emergency general meetingover the organisations future has backing from only small group of disaffected BCS members.

Bob Assirati said that BCS chartered institute of IT, a registered charity, has been going through a major re-vamp to keep it relevant to the web age, where technology is relevant to everyone in society.

"As with all changes, there are those who feel left behind and resist. I believe this is a small group who have been struggling to find 50 signatures from a membership of 70,000. The instigator was a Trustee Board member, who felt completely out of sync with where BCS is going," he said in a posting on Linked-in.

Len Keighley who stood down as a member of the BCS board of trustees to pursue the the EGM motion, says he has gathered over 50 signatures from supporters. The motion calls for a vote of no confidence in the society's trustees and chief executive, and raises concerns that the BCS is turning into a business that places the interests of its members in second place.

Supporters include Ian Thornton-Bayar, northern chair of the BCS Project and Programme Management Specialist Group, David Norfolk, analyst at Bloor Research and a member of the BCS Configuration Management Specialist Group, John Mitchell, a member of the BCS Information Risk Management Audit Specialist Group, and Jonathan Bowen treasurer of the BCS Formal Aspects of Computing Science group.

Chris Tiernan, committee member of the BCS Elite group of senior IT professionals told Computer Weekly there was a growing gap between people who believe the BCS should put its membership first, or whether it should be a money-making body.

"The BCS started off as a membership body. It has obviously been making quite a lot of money out of its services. And I think it is reaching a point now where the fundamental question needs to be asked is the money being raised for services that are of interest to members, or is the BCS headed to becoming a much more commercial enterprise," he said.

But Assirati, said that the supporters have done themselves no service in the way they called for an EGM and a vote of no confidence in the trustee board of the BCS.

"To quote 'This is not the BCS that I joined 30 years ago." Having spent a lot of time and money on a major change programme, I think that says it all."

"I will be pleased to see an early EGM so that we can establish the views of the membership at large rather than a few who see their day passing. In particular, I would ask for the support of all our CITPs [Chartered IT Professionals] in making BCS even more vibrant and forward looking."

Assirati said it would not be "constructive" for the BCS to post details of Len Keighley's email giving details of the EGM to other BCS members on Linked-in.

"Enough damage has been done by the press comment, and a lot of management effort has been consumed which could have gone into developing our new structures and processes," he said.

Seperately Computer Weekly has reported on series of resignations from the BCS Elite IT professionals group, after members voiced their frustration with the support provided to the group by the BCS.

Members of Elite have complained that they had to abandon plans for series of member-events featuring VIPs from the IT industry after BCS staff failed to pay deposits on time, or insisted on carrying out fire inspections on venues before agreeing to book rooms in London hotels.

"Were the frustration arose was the length of time it took to get things organised. You can understand if you have a mentality associated with a large organisation, but when you have a membership of something like 3,000 people and you are trying to put an event on for 150 people, most of us could organise that on a credit card," said Tiernan

Mervyn Hogg, a former Elite committee member said: "It was difficult to understand, why the needs of the committee, having support from the organisation and running events wasn't just there."


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