For me the BCS means mainly the branches and specialist groups - technical forums where members meet, discuss and share and advance knowledge. I care not one jot for example for the post-nominal letters with which the BCS seems obsessed. I don't know most of the petition signatories but see that there are quite a number of very experienced branch and SG officers.
At recent SG Assemblies I have been absolutely appalled at the way the representatives have been treated by HQ staff and by some of the senior Society officers. At one we were harangued at length because only 28 of 50 SGs were represented, even though the agenda was issued only three days before the meeting. It is a persistent theme that SG officers should give BCS affairs top priority, even ahead of their day-jobs. At another we were presented with a model SG constitution, compiled with inadequate consultation, and told to adopt it as it stood or have all funding withdrawn; fortunately this one was faced down. Discussion can be cut short with the excuse that the Trustee Board would not approve, without any attempt to reach a compromise or to progress the issue. The low point for me was in 2007. I wrote this note the following day:
"Alan Pollard gave an extraordinary performance at the SG Assembly yesterday. Facing an audience which consisted, apart from the HQ staff, totally of very highly disgruntled SG representatives he behaved as if he were still in the army and made not the slightest effort to mollify them. Paraphrasing, he said that an organization of this size needs management and you are being managed. There is no point in grumbling or debating. That is not to the benefit of the Society and lessens morale. Let's not do it. You are being managed. If you don't like it stand for election yourself. PS: in case you didn't get the message you are being managed. Now go away and do what you are told.
The agenda had been arranged to allow minimal time for questions on finance but a splendid man from Glasgow protested very eloquently and very angrily that he had got up at 5am to get to the meeting only to find he was being patronized, told what had already been decided and was not able to make any substantive contribution. However, "water" and "duck's back" spring to mind to describe Pollard's and HQ staff's attitude."