Monday, December 7, 2015

B.C.S., the Chartered Insutite for above inflation membership fee increases

I joined the British Computer Society in about 2010 to do University Degree scheme accreditations. I had to get CITP 1st, at that time the membership fee was just about reasonable.

In 2012 I was invited on to the Accademic Accreditation Committee (lots of professors and 3 or 4 industrialists) and had a great time accreditaing University Degree schemes and meet lots of great people and added some value so I am told. I think I am right in saying that I was 1 of 2 industrialists left on the A.A.C. now.  It took between 10 and 12 days of my time a year between visits and reading the submission, but I found it rewarding and I believed it was worthwhile.  Work was very flexible, but I still had to make up the work time lost to visits out of my own time,  which is fair enough in my book.

I was more than a little suprised when the fee for renewal for this year membership was 230 pounds. Looking back the rate of increase has been at least double the rate of inflation for the last 5 years,
where wages tend to have been static in the IT industry for most of us. Being asked to pay 230 pounds to volunteer for an organisation is a bit over the top. I don't get *ANY* benefits from being a BCS member.

I pushed back a little (if you know me you will know I am quite persistant, you don't get round a Bob Graham without a little bit) and the response I got from David Evans, Director of Communication included the priceless(??) phrase

If you want to go, then please go rather than stay and be miserable.
Is it standard BCS practice to undermine the sense of self value of members who dare to question the level of fee's, but in my case it failed, it just annoyed me and persuaded me not to renew my membership. Being an Academic Assessor requires being CITP, so I also had to resign from the AAC which I would rather not have. I would probably have found the money if Mr Evans had decided not to play nasty games, but it became clear that volunteers and the process of Academic Acceditation is not held in high regard by some senior BCS staff, is there some internal political game going on in Swindon? no idea.

For a subset of senior BCS staff, volunteers don't count for anything, but I have got back at least 10 plus days a year of my life and have no intention at all to be miserable.

All a shame. The BCS should be a very worthwhile organisation, it does some great work in education, but I am far from alone in thinking it has lost sight of its membership and those who volunteer. I would hate to see it being an organisation composed of retired academics and self serving industry lightweights, but that seems to be the current direction of travel.

A suitable song for the BCS in 2015  I want money

The Beatles were less plastic in their performace, hence the 1979 choice instead.