New president outlines programme of change

New BCS president John Ivinson has big ambitions for the society: "I want us to be able to live up to the banner saying, 'BCS -...

New BCS president John Ivinson has big ambitions for the society: "I want us to be able to live up to the banner saying, 'BCS - the world's leading professional computer society'," he says.

"I want the BCS - and IT generally - to reflect more accurately the world we live in. I want more women and ethnic minorities to enter the profession and then join the BCS. I want to lower the average age of the membership by attracting more people in their 20s and 30s."

His year as president will continue the massive programme of change that is moving the society towards his goals. It began with a fundamental review of its structure, qualifications and role.

"This is no longer a sleepy little membership recruitment organisation," Ivinson says.

BCS finances have been boosted in recent years by growing demand from members and non-members for the society's independent qualifications: certificates and diplomas managed by the BCS Information Systems Examinations Board, the BCS Professional Examination, and the European Computer Driving Licence IT skills qualification. This success has provided the foundation for the current investment in the Web.

"The BCS will become increasingly Web-centric, with the site being the hub of our information and communications with all," Ivinson says.

After the first phase of the Web programme the 39,000 members can update their records and join discussion groups, among other things; future facilities will range from seminar bookings to the generation and presentation of content matching people's interests, all accessed through a single log-on that recognises individuals' interests and rights to different facilities and types of information.

His presidency is likely to see in proposals to attract more people into the professional membership grades by making them simpler to achieve, without sacrificing professional standards.

Ivinson knows that not everything will be achieved in just the 12 months of his presidency, but he aims to lay the foundations for many of the activities for subsequent presidents to follow and complete.

"I'd like to see more specialist groups in new areas, especially in the media and entertainment fields, more people joining the new forums, more non-IT practitioners taking part - for example, non-IT directors joining our Management Forum," he says. "I want new products and services."

He concludes, "Our long-term strategy should be to support and provide our services and products to the global IT professional community in order to grab the high ground and promote the fact that the BCS is the world's leading professional computer society."

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