The response from the CEO and Trustees is hardly worthy of recognition other than being another example of the kind of spin doctoring that is prevalent nowadays.
Here are few observations:
1) The whole thrust of the response is arrogant in suggesting that the point of the call of the EGM is for one individual to get their own back for their own failure. Most of the response is a personal attack on one of the signatories, admittedly the one who started the ball rolling - but if no support for those views had been found we would not be were we are today.
2) “The BCS is doomed unless the direction it is following continues”. Yet even the CEO himself says elsewhere that this is a 10 year strategy and that it is too early to measure the effects, so how does he know the BCS will fail if the plan is not executed. It is important to note that nowhere in the calling of the EGM has this ever been a requirement.
3) All the statistics used are cast to illustrate a point in some light, but as we all know that is the nature of statistics. They can be massaged whichever way one wants them to be. The converse could be shown here but it is completely pointless.
4) The cost of the EGM is what it must be. Relative to the 5 million pound cost of the Transformation Programme, it is a mere 2%. The BCS set the rules for the democratic right of members to call an EGM. These rules have been followed. Hence, the BCS should not be now complaining that these rules are inadequate.
It should be noted that the BCS rules HAVE been changed once already. Up until the early part of the decade, the original rules of the society only required 10 members to sign the calling notice. That represented 0.3% of the society’s membership of around 32,000 at that point.
5) At no time has anyone even suggested that there is a problem with the Transformation programme in its entirety or that it should be cancelled. Nevertheless, there is a distinct lack of transparency, despite what is being claimed. No proof of the project being on time and budget has ever been provided to Council or to my knowledge to Trustee Board, unless some Trustees were deliberately excluded.
6) The BCS commercial activities have always funded the membership, which is the only reason why they were established. Hence, the fact that the commercial activities do fund the membership should hardly be seen as a problem. There appears to be no understanding that to keep repeating this fact only fuels the perception that the Business resents the membership? However, whilst the commercial activities may well fund the membership, it has NEVER been proved despite my repeated requests for that proof.
7) The subsidy of the membership has not been reduced this year. The CEO knows that at a Trustee board meeting I suggested that all areas of the BCS should share the pain of the economic climate and that given that staff were suffering frozen salaries for the second year running the member groups funding should also be reduced. The offer was not felt necessary and was therefore declined.
8) Use of the phrase that the Transformation has “been independently managed by a contracted, independent Project Director” to confirm transparency is I believe is an incorrect use of the term “independent”. A contract employee rather than a permanent employee does not provide independence.
9) Although only one of the EGM signatories attended the BCS AGM, the CEO neglects to add that less than 30 members (i.e. < 0.05% of the membership) in total attended the AGM, despite a significant number living and working in the immediate London area. This means 2% of the EGM signatories attended the AGM. In other words these statistics are meaningless.
10) With regard to alternative Strategies, I don’t believe this is the appropriate time for that, especially when ALL attempts to discuss alternatives in the past have been met with such disdain and opposition, and it is just being used as another stalling tactic. Had it not been for this resistance from the BCS there would have been no need for an EGM.