I actually got the BCS EGM last Thursday. I think it important, as is IT professionalism in the UK, but I am not sure that last week was a beacon for the values most of us would hope for. The meeting’s atmosphere was a nexus of CPSA annual conference, “back to the future” and “The History Man”. I tweeted that it reminded me of Camden Labour party which I was a member of during the 80’s, but that’s deeply unfair. While local Labour Parties and conference have been known to over indulge in the procedural, it was much more reminiscent of CPSA. The Camden party that met around the Finchley Road area in the early ‘90s was one of the most politically educated and broad based branch parties I have been to; almost certainly helped by the fact that no faction had a majority.
So first matter of debate, a 50 minute point of order on whether the President of the Association, Elizabeth Sparrow should chair the meeting. Her right to cast discretionary proxies was also challenged. This sort of stuff is deeply unattractive to the non-aligned, although I am not sure how many of them there were. I know that I went to listen to a discussion on the future of the BCS and IT professionalism in the UK and had not made up my mind on how to vote, although I was predisposed towards supporting the leadership and the transformation programme. I don’t need to know more about stitching up meetings, and I am not sure the BCS Leadership do either.
Now, given that the first motion was a no-confidence motion in the Board of Trustees, I think it questionable that since the President is a member of Board that she should have chaired the meeting, or certainly the debate on that motion however the rules make it clear that if present the President shall chair the meeting, and so she did.
Having been deeply impressed by the opening scene from the TV series of Malcolm Bradbury’s “The History Man”, I have a theory that the academics present from their organisations and trade unions bring a ready and handy knowledge of proceduralism to the table, one that (some of) the business people find themselves lost in. Everyone needs to remember that there is a debate around ideas of substance, and that rule No. 1 is that,
Those ideas with membership support will win in the end
So what was the debate about? I am still not sure. It seems that it boils down to two things,
The transformation programme, which is about establishing the BCS, or the “BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT” as the premier guardian for IT professionalism in the UK, and maybe elsewhere needs greater financial transparency than it has today, although the first speaker, Ken Olisa, against the requisitioned motions presented a long list of financial reports made to the Board of Trustees. I think some people’s expectations of where we can go are … » Read more …