The Member Group Working Group (MGWG) was formed by the Programme, Practice and Policy Committee (PPP) in late 2020 and applications for interested volunteers were then requested.

The MGWG officially launched at the convention in January 2021 ( and has met monthly (except August) throughout this year.

I am pleased to report that the MGWG has achieved its original timing plan and has concluded the analysis phase of reviewing the many issues discussed at earlier conventions as well as undertaking a wider review of what Member Groups consider as necessary to make a better BCS.

The MGWG is making thirty-six change suggestions. To understand which area these suggestions have been made about, then please take a few minutes to review the 'Overview Diagram'  mind map which can be found here:
Overview Map Diagram

These recommendations are officially launched following an online event on the evening of Tuesday 28th September 2021.
The slides are available.
A recording of the event.

Over the next four weeks (consultation closes on Friday 29th October 2021) , you now have the chance to review and comment, agree or disagree.  The hope is that these suggestions will create debate, which can lead to a consensus for real improvement to how BCS Member Groups can operate, removing impediments and supporting transparent collaboration across the BCS.

Please note: The Community Board has to give final approval for any of these suggestions.

Charlie Houston-Brown
Chair, Member Group Working Group (MGWG)


Business case

Hi Charlie
Where can I find an assessment of the estimated benefits and difficulty (of ease) of implementation for each of the recommendations? A few have a brief sentence of benefit but nothing objective and measurable.
Many thanks

Thanks for taking the time to

Thanks for taking the time to review Keith.

The MGWG has looked at the many issues presented and using its collective member group experience has arrived at these conclusions as actions that 'could' be taken. Some of the actions are generic on purpose, so that a specific solution is not being presented as the only answer.

This next consultation phase is to gain consensus within the membership as to whether the thinking is correct or not.

You are right that some items may need a cost benefit to demonstrate their implementation 'worth', but a lot would not. So, the full assessment that you are seeking has yet to be done - the thinking is that there isn't much point doing a detailed analysis if the membership thinks the proposal itself isn't correct.

We have requested the AGREE, DISAGREE and REFER responses to try and catch those where the membership see implementation problems or not.

So - once this consultation is concluded - the responses will be collated, summarised and made ready for the 'worth' questions.

Please feel free to comment on specific items where you feel such an analysis would be needed before you could support them.

It should just be noted that any actual changes would need to be approved by Community Board.

Thanks again for your interest and support.

Thanks for the comments Carol

Thanks for the comments Carol and taking the time to navigate the portal to make them.
Apologies, I wasn't aware that the BCS Volunteer Portal was not so 'friendly' for mobile devices.
Let's hope any future systems' replacement projects have such cross device compatibility within the requirements !

Just needs a responsive

Just needs a responsive design with breakpoints based on the pixel width of the device.
1 design for large tables 8'+ and laptops/workstations. Including device orientation, when 8' table is in landscape, use desktop design, when device in portrait use mobile design.
2 design for small tables,7'and smart phones.
To be tested in and emulator or a small number of devices, MS, Android and Apple, with different screen sizes.
Once the design has been created it can be reused.

Review captcha requirements


It's just taken me 4 attempts to add a comment because the captcha's were incorrect. Can we get less pernickety captchas or get rid of the requirement all together? This is a real discouragement to reviewing all the proposals.


Thanks for taking the time to

Thanks for taking the time to comment Kylie.
I agree - it isn't great - but it is all there is ...
This is the first time such an open and wide consultation has been attempted, so it is being done on a best endeavours basis with the tools currently available.

I know Kylie - think how I

I know Kylie - think how I feel making all these comments :-(
Thanks again for your patience and endurance.
Perhaps a stamina prize for the most comments :-)

Member Group Review Mind Map

- mentions university students, FE colleges, industry etc but not specifically apprentices, which I would expect to be a matter of relevance, considering BCS's strong involvement, the recent change whereby apprentices successfully competing EPA through BCS no longer get a year's membership, but moreso because it is a very strong future for IT and BCS is playing a big part
- mentions members and some of the types but not specifically CITP, CEng and in particular CITP current competence - I would have thought this is a big topic for membership moving forward considering it is both related to the very large hike in members around 2004-6, and equally a big part in membership decline in numbers ever since. Any strategy needs to have a way forward around this.
Maggie Kneller - BCS Women, Leader Forum, Bristol Branch

Thanks Maggie.

Thanks Maggie.

As I am sure you are aware, CITP and CEng are not BCS membership grades and not related to Member Groups per se, so were outside the scope of what the MGWG was looking at.
I do agree that the post nominals (achieved via BCS) are a big draw to membership.
Holly Porter's recent presentation identifies that there is to be a 'push' to encourage the applications for these professional post nominals.

You comments on apprenticeships specifically are well made - many of the recommendations around the Branch network are to do with increasing the relevance of the BCS brand in a local context, supporting outreach into the institutions that are delivering apprenticeships. Where IT professionalism is on the curriculum in any form, the BCS can (should ?) be there to support the students.


Can a user login once, so they don't need to enter a Captcha for all 36 comment?

I have finally got round to

I have finally got round to try to take part in the consultation exercise and all I can see is this list of comments people have posted, many complaining about the process!

So my first comment, not directly relevant to member groups activities, is that how can we call ourselves "The chartered institute for IT" when we can't even provide a decent UI for our committee members to use? A case of "the cobbler's children have no shoes" which seems to occur quite often with BCS.

I have been a member for almost 30 years and have been a branch and SG chair, treasurer and membership secretary. I am currently treasurer for two branches and membership secretary for one of them.

BCS is jumping on the PC bandwagon of equality, diversity, inclusion, etc. but not enabling us to know the makeup of our membership. The only relevant information available is the gender split. Does BCS have information on the ethnicity or disability status of its members and if it did would member groups be able to see it?

You can't start to control something which you cannot measure.

I have started requesting that more information be made available on member's job titles/roles and employers as well as at what age they joined BCS. The former information used to be available from the Catalyst membership database and I would hope that it could be extracted from the new Salesforce one.

Pre GDPR it used to be possible to see how many branch members belonged to different SGs so we had an idea of what topics they might be interested in.

On a different topic but related to BCS HQ systems, why do payments made under SFRs not appear in the monthly group accounts? They seem to appear only by accident, which suggests that even HQ staff are confused by the system! We have to put them in our budget bids but they don't appear in our final allocations or in the monthly accounts.

While I am in full Victor Meldrew mode, why is it that the new BCS member group committee email lists will not allow me to post to them using my "life long" BCS email address? I have been using it ever since they were first offered in the late 1990s. I don't know how many other members are affected by this but I am not changing my "registered" email address just because no one thought about the problem when the new system was set up.

You may well ask, if I am so disgruntled with the BCS systems why do I carry on? I took on my current roles to help out the then branch chairs as there were no other volunteers for the positions. So far no one else has come forward to offer to take over so I remain in post!

To end on a constructive note, I think that in order for BCS to grow its membership it needs to show that the successful use of IT needs to be underpinned by using professionally qualified people as recognised by BCS membership and qualifications and for this to be recognised by government and business.

Peter Crouch - Birmingham & Wolverhampton Branches, Fortran SG

Thanks for taking the time to

Thanks for taking the time to comment Peter and for your continued volunteering support. I feel your pain !

Regarding the availability of member data - is supposed to address that.
Appropriate data protection is of course a legal requirement as well as being the correct thing to do, but the lack of appropriate tools to run member groups effectively has been the most raised issue in all of the many discussions I have had.

I agree this volunteer portal isn't great - but as per other comments it is all we currently have. This open consultation is perhaps the first of its kind, so exposing weaknesses in systemes that were never designed for this purpose. No excuse though, I agree we need to have better 'shoes' !

The SFR issue is a new one for me.

Committee Role Concerns

Although I think it is great that we have 2 mandatory roles for BCS branches (Early Careers Advocate and Inclusion Officer), my concern is that mandatory BCS membership for these roles may be difficult for some BCS branches whom are trying to fill these roles as some branches may not be able to fulfil this because of the number of committee members in branches being active, and making BCS Membership mandatory may put them off if they do not see the value of membership.

Another concern with the Early Careers Advocate role is that although our branch has a Early Careers Advocate, there is little consistent communication with the Early Careers Group so far which can leave potential and existing Early Career Advocates becoming disinterested if there is no regular communication as to how this area of BCS is progressing. If there was more communication and a structure in place, for example the main Early Careers Advocate committee, as well as support and better communication then this will make a difference.

It's great that the Early Careers Advocate Group is replacing the defunct Young Professionals Group, however it needs consistent and regular communication to help it continue. If we can also advertise the benefits of being an Early Careers Advocate at universities, modern apprenticeship schemes (using RiTech to help publicise this), then this will help.

Thanks for this. Very

Thanks for this. Very exciting.

The mind-map is great as a way for you all to collect your thoughts. For an outsider, it's quite difficult to follow. Sorry!

Is there anywhere where the "thirty-six change suggestions" are listed, with a "before and after", and intended impact?

Reflections on the MGWG

Reflections on the MGWG Suggestions for PPP from some members of BCS Business Change SG

Around 95% don’t participate. Is it that they don’t know or that they haven’t been asked?
Perhaps they like to know that there are meetings even if nothing would make them attend.
I proposed that “IT Professional “ is ONLY someone who is a member of a chartered or similar association.
This is surely all about internals of branches. Not the things to get people to take part. Are people ashamed of what they do so they don’t want to talk about it? For example, “track’n’trace described as one of the greatest disasters and waste of money.
CR001 Better Data Segmentation Members sign up to member groups so that’s OK. BCS Centre can send out wider communications via the IT Now newsletter.
CR002 Branch Advocate Portfolios Members can join branches and SIGs so I don’t see why the SIG especially needs a branch liaison. In any case this would happen automatically if SIG members attended branches and vice-versa. I believe that we can already speak to each other if we want. Ultimately, we should all be motivated by the same things and be “on message”. Will this increase participation?
CR003 Specialist Group Advocate Portfolios
CR004 Branch Business Networking Groups This funding for branches probably good. They should be encouraged to contact local businesses who aren’t in Chamber of Commerce – is that a conflict with whoever looks after corporate membership?
CR005 Branch New Member Alerts People might be interested in a branch because its near to where they live, near to where they work or is otherwise a convenient and comfortable place for F2F. good idea for links to organisational members – such organisations should be public in their association.
CR006 Committees Welcoming New Members If we aren’t allowed to know who is new, then we can’t behave differently towards them. we should welcome all members whether new, old or regular.
CR007 Supporting Branches A centralised post requiring funding. Branches do the best that they can from the pool of people who volunteer for anything.
CR008 Publish Community Board Minutes to Members It’s a good thing that we aim to be transparent. Most members won’t read it but a few might become motivated to participate. These are good things but we shouldn’t penalise people who don’t attend often because usually there is no one else who has any availability of interest.
CR009 Publish Annual Priority Plan
CR010 Publish Selection Procedures
CR011 Publish Community Board Information
CR012 Electing Member Group Representatives Democracy is good but anything representing groups and branches should come from groups and branches.
CR013 Branch Member Recruitment Data Seems OK but, as noted above under CR005, there are many reasons why someone joins a branch. The key thing is surely the number of people who participate. Then find out why local people don’t – ask them.
CR014 No Branchless Members Everyone should feel free to participate in anything. A default branch is a good starting point for contacting someone. I believe that every member must be associated with at least one branch and may not opt out of the branch connection.
CR015 Member Group Reminders Yes, renew automatically but remind people of what they’ve joined. Perhaps highlight that they have a local branch.
CR016 Branch Meeting Locations There are practical considerations for choice of location. Admittedly some people might not be mobile but groups can’t meet everywhere. Branches should be encouraged to look. Now that everyone is WFH, perhaps a branch could meet at someone’s home.
CR017 Student Chapter and Branches Agreed. A university told me that students can’t afford to travel. Several branches already meet at universities but, when I went to events, no students were present.
CR018 Student Chapter Expenses Yes, I would like to see more students at branches and groups and more invitations from chapters to encourage other members to see what is happening at universities. Ive been to several branch events which were held at universities but no students attended the meeting.
CR019 Member CPD Good in principle. Here is a suggestion. Perhaps 15 points for presenting face to face, 8 for presenting webinar. 5 for attending face to face, 2 for attending webinar and 1 for reading a book. 4 points for sitting a BCS exam.
CR020 CPD Reward Points Good idea. All accredited BCS training advisors and test centres should accept the points.
CR021 Branch Chairs Join Nearby Branches All members should be encouraged to join SIGs and Branches and should be encouraged or required to participate. Many people might not be able to do this.
CR022 Committee Report Templates A good idea
CR023 Enforce Committee Report Submission BCS can enforce provided that its better to have no committee rather than one that doesn’t keep to time
CR024 Committee Portfolio Metrics Committees might welcome guidance for their work
CR025 Management Committee Balanced Scorecards Committees might welcome guidance for their work
CR026 Version Controlled Member Group Documents Good idea. How will this attract people into BCS and attract people to Groups and Branches?
CR027 Member Group Document Commenting Process Yes, a portal is a good place for documents
CR028 Member Group Data Losses Yes. I believe that this issue represents a major failing by BCS. Changes were made to systems and data without reference to the groups and the branches. I recall no evidence that the data was backed or stored.
CR029 Content Review Panels Yes. Some groups consider this material to be an important archive.
CR030 Member Group Event Attendance Yes, agreed.
CR031 Event Registration How rich? People who are on the mailing list could be highlighted.
CR032 International Sections Data Yes, but some in country protections might be different from those in UK.
CR033 CR033 - International Sections Funds yes. Good idea,
CR034 CR034 - International Section Committee I don’t believe that any section should have a committee member who is not resident in the area. There should be a local committee who might be helped or advised from time to time by people from outside the area. How does this overlap with CR032?
CR035 CR035 - Volunteering Awards Yes, volunteering and event attendance should be held on the member record.
CR036 CR036 - Member Benefits Yes, a single web page.