BCS launches three new forums for IT specialists

Following the recent annual general meeting, a new BCS structure has come into being. It is designed to ensure that the...

Following the recent annual general meeting, a new BCS structure has come into being. It is designed to ensure that the industry's professional body is fully equipped to serve its members, the wider IT community and society in general in the 21st century, writes John Kavanagh.

Four boards will now lead activity in the main areas of BCS business, and three forums - for both members and non-members - will aim to ensure that BCS planning and action reflect the widest range of views.

This restructuring is the culmination of a programme that started in 1998. Since then 3,000 members and 500 non-members in IT specialist and management jobs in industry, commerce, education and government have been consulted in detail.

BCS deputy chief executive Colin Thompson, who has led the work, says, "This represents a major modernisation of the BCS, which we believe to be essential for the future of the society and the profession.

"The new boards will be smaller than their predecessors, geared more to action than debate. They will be charged with ensuring that the BCS is focused more tightly on delivering relevant services and increasing the society's visibility and influence.

"The crucial change is the launch of the new forums. The aim is to find a way to tap into the vast experience and expertise of our community. Current ways of working, largely by physical meetings, often held in London during the working day, make it impossible for most members to be actively involved in the BCS. We want it to be possible for every member, wherever they are and however busy their schedule, to be able to participate."

The first three forums cover the main areas of IT activity in which the BCS aims to consolidate and extend its membership position. They are: engineering and technology; management; and education and training.

Each forum is led by a vice-president and a management committee with a maximum of 16 people with appropriate knowledge and experience. These teams are currently putting together programmes of activity.

Forums will use Web discussion groups and will set up expert panels to pursue themes and oversee topics of the moment. They will produce policy statements, publications, seminars and conferences from their discussions.

Members and non-members can join any or all of the forums free of charge.

"We want to promote a grass-roots network of engaged practitioners which will encourage the exchange of ideas, influence BCS work and support its programmes," says Thompson.

"These changes put the BCS right at the forefront of professional bodies in terms of restructuring to meet the needs of the 21st century. We now have a sound base for the future. We know from our consultations that we have the broad support of members for the direction we are taking, and the fact that almost all elements of the new structure were approved by unanimous vote of the governing council is evidence of the society's commitment to the changes."

www.bcs.org/forums

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