Information Age speaks to Karen Gee, Director of the ACS Member Advisory Board about new approaches for Branch Executive Committees.

Information Age: What has been ACS’ historical approach to serving members in each state and territory?

Karen Gee: One of the strengths of ACS is our commitment to having an on-ground presence in each state and territory.

It means service delivery can be tailored to areas of specific local member need, whether that be geared towards large public sector employees in places like the ACT, or to a vibrant tech start-up scene as in Tasmania.

The main way we have achieved this is through Branch Executive Committees.

Branch Executive Committees have historically played an important volunteering role, much of which has been an operational focus including formalised roles such as Branch Secretary for minutes of meetings, a Treasurer for monthly account reporting, and sub-committees for Diversity and Inclusion, Young IT Professionals, and Fellows grades.

Each state and territory has its own Branch Executive Committee, with each comprising up to 15 representatives elected by ACS members.

Information Age: What does a modern ACS look like in terms of Branch Executive Committees?

Karen Gee: Over the last twelve months, through each Branch Executive Committee and the ACS national Congress, we have been discussing ways to optimise the impact from the time invested by our amazing volunteers.

The on-ground presence in each state and territory won’t change.

What we are looking to do is build on our strength of being able to tailor service delivery to areas of specific local member need.

The current model results in duplication.

For example, ACS is one legal entity, yet we ask our Branch Treasurers to report on monthly financial performance that already goes through the national Management Committee and our audit partners.

We have examples of senior professionals undertaking minute writing.

We have decided we want to reduce the burden of the routine administration from our incredible volunteers and focus on the areas affording the most impact.

We have landed on this being a refocus of Branch Executive Committees on the three A’s of Advice, Access and Advocacy.

Information Age: What does ‘Advice, Access and Advocacy’ look like in practice?

Karen Gee: The three A’s mean elected members providing Advice on ICT matters, profession and market intelligence; Access to the market; and acting as Ambassadors or Advocates for ACS, rather than acting operationally. ​

This approach is important as it is optimises volunteer time in those areas where there may be the greatest impact, and provides valuable input that enables ACS to achieve its strategic plan and best position itself for a future that is rapidly evolving.