BCS plans roadshow after setting date for emergency meeting

BCS senior executives are planning a roadshow to put the case for the institute's £5m modernisation programme to members as it gears up for an extraordinary general meeting on 1 July.

BCS senior executives are planning a roadshow to put the case for the institute's £5m modernisation programme to members as it gears up for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on 1 July.

The move comes after 50 BCS members signed a petition in April calling for an emergency debate over the impact of the programme on institute members, which include some 70,000 IT professionals and academics.

The group is calling for spending on the modernisation programme to be halted, and a vote of no confidence in the organisation's board of trustees and chief executive.

BCS CEO David Clarke and president Elizabeth Sparrow plan to present the transformation plan and answer questions from members at a series of meetings in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Manchester, and an on online webinar, next month.

The roadshow comes in the lead-up to the emergency meeting on 1 July, the day of the BCS president's annual networking dinner.

Transformation doubts

The institute's £5m project, known as the transformation programme, aims to help the BCS adapt to sweeping changes in the IT profession, raise the profile of the BCS, and offer members a wider range of qualifications, products and services.

But BCS members who are backing the EGM claim that the Chartered Institute of IT is turning into a business that sells products, such as the Chartered IT Professional qualification, at the expense of the interests of its members.

The group, supported by former trustees and council members, has raised 20 issues it wants to debate at the EGM. They include concerns that members have not been properly consulted over the modernisation programme, claims of a lack of transparency in the way decisions are taken, and concerns over the way the BCS has awarded some contracts.

A private matter

The BCS said it had taken a decision not to issue any further comment on the EGM, though chief executive David Clarke has previously put the case for the BCS and the transformation programme in an article for Computer Weekly.

"As a Chartered Professional body we have to preserve the reputation of the institute and our members. Following feedback from our members, including some of those involved in the call for the EGM, we would rather not have the proceedings discussed in the media," said a spokeswoman.

Broad support

The EGM's supporters include IT lawyers and former BCS president Rachel Burnett, BCS council members Iain Thompson, Ian Sunley, Rajan Anketell (who was recently elected as a member of the BCS board of trustees), Robert Ward, Max Bramer and Kevin Chamberlain, and former councillors Ian Stuart, Glyn Hayes and Jennifer Stapleton.

Len Keighley, a former member of the BCS's governing board of trustees, who is co-ordinating the motion, said that although a number of people had withdrawn since April, a total of 60 people have added their signatures to the motion.

The EGM has attracted significant interest in the BCS Chartered IT Professional and the BCS Membership Group discussion  forums on Linked-In, Computer Weekly blogs and Keighley's own blog site.

Watch videos on the BCS transformation programme >>

BCS update on transformation programme, September 2009 >>

Computer Weekly report on BCS restructuring >>


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