BCS rebels issue statement at EGM

Members of the BCS behind today's Extraordinary General Meeting have raised questions about the transparency and accountability of the Chartered Institute's £5m rebranding programme.

Members of the BCS behind today's Extraordinary General Meeting have raised questions about the transparency and accountability of the Chartered Institute's £5m rebranding programme.

In a statement distributed at the meeting, EGM supporters claim that the BCS' governing board of trustees has had little financial scrutiny of a programme which aims to reposition the BCS as a professional body.

The BCS was unable to respond to the statement immediately, but is due reply later today.

The statement, signed by EGM supporters Len Keighley, a former trusee and Rajan Anketell, a current BCS trustee, Andrew Mohan, Iain Thompson and Ian Herbert, also raises concerns about the high salaries paid to top BCS officials.

"We note with disapproval how the salaries of the top BCS executives have been inflated in recent years. If emoluments reported in the Annual Report 2008-9 are adjusted from 16 to 12 months, the chief executive is paid over £180,000 pa, one other employee gains £135,000-plus, and two more are paid £105,000-plus," it says.

The group calls on the BCS to release details of its spending, and the contracts awarded so far on the Transformation Programme (TP). It has raised questions about potential conflicts of interest, and whether all contracts were sent out to competitive tender.

"We are entitled to ask - and we do ask - for an independently-audited list of suppliers and consultants working on any aspect of the Transformation Programme to whom contracts have been awarded in excess of £50,000 in cumulative total since the start of the TP, including associated work before it commenced, together with the dates when tenders were issued & how, the bids received, the contracts awarded and the amounts," they say.

The group claims that the management culture of the BCS is being transformed from one appropriate to a membership organisation to that of a commercial business and it asserts that volunteer member groups have been marginalised.

Extremely large sums of money have been budgeted and spent on the Transformation Programme, while member groups have been asked to make savings wherever possible, the group claims.

"Insufficient support, financial and organisational, has been made available for the voluntary activities carried out by members. Member groups often complain about the unimaginative, pettifogging regulations dumped upon them, often in an inconsistent manner, making it difficult to plan and carry forward effective programmes of meetings, publishing and other educational work in support of BCS charitable objectives and engagement with society."

The group claims that the BCS's restructuring has marginalised the role of BCS members, who run the organisation's special interest groups, and member branches.

They claim the reorganisation has made it less democratic, and that internal BCS bodies have been restructured to rely on "non-elected, appointed and staff members", rather than volunteers. This undermines democratic volunteer participation and organisation, the group claims.

"One constantly-repeated concern of member groups is the opacity of the BCS's decision-making processes. Information is hidden away, is not properly recorded, or is sometimes actively suppressed. It is extremely difficult to get a clear overall picture of what decisions have been made and by whom", it says.

The BCS has set up a website putting the case for the programme, and its chief executive, David Clarke, has also written in support of the BCS transformation plans in Computer Weekly.

BCS members apologise to vice-president Ken Olisa >>

Computer Weekly EGM debate blog >>

BCS update on transformation programme, September 2009 >>


Computer Weekly report on BCS restructuring >>





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