Alastair Revell appointed as new BCS president

BCS president Alastair Revell
(Image credit: BCS)

Long-time volunteer Alastair Revell has been announced as the new president of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.

Revell is the chairman and managing consultant of Exeter-based Revell Research Systems, a management and technology consulting practice established in 1985.

The firm provides advice and IT services to professional service firms and smaller corporates.

He has held senior volunteer positions at BCS for ten years, serving as vice-president for community for almost six years, before being elected as deputy president last year. He's also served on a variety of BCS governance committees since 2010, including Registrations and Standards.

"Ethics and professionalism in the development and use of technology are more important than ever in the wake of the Post Office Horizon IT scandal," Revell said.

Revell takes over from Gillian Arnold, who will remain active within BCS as immediate past president.

"Gillian has championed the engagement of members and experts from our community in shaping our voice as well as influencing thought leadership. In addition to co-authoring our recently published Ethics Report she has also led knowledge sharing and education around equity, diversity and inclusion," said Holly Porter, managing director (Institute) at BCS.

"We are delighted that she remains a key part of our senior governance team now her term is over and are grateful that we can continue to benefit from her guidance and expertise."

Meanwhile, Daljit Rehal, chief digital and information officer for HMRC and a member of the Cross Government forum, has been named as deputy president.


Revell holds board appointments with other IT bodies, including the Institution of Analysts and Programmers and the Trustworthy Software Foundation, and is also a trustee of the Engineering Council.

He was part of the team that set up the UK Cyber Security Council, and has also been an appointee of two UK information commissioners, advising them on technological opportunities and threats to privacy and data protection of UK citizens.

"Alastair brings experience of information technology leadership at the highest levels and will be a powerful voice for BCS," Porter said.

"He is an ardent advocate of Chartered professionalism and its role in providing independent standards of quality, assurance and trust in IT; and this is a key message he will be taking into an election year."

Revell is expected to push for greater recognition of professional registrations – especially Chartered status for technologists.

In a recent report, the BCS called for the creation of a public register of IT professionals working in AI, licensed as meeting independent ethical standards.

"We have a register of doctors who can be struck off. AI professionals already have a big role in our life chances, so why shouldn’t they be licensed and registered too?" said BCS executive Rashik Parmar.

"By setting high standards, the UK can lead the way in responsible computing, and be an example for the world. Many people are wrongly convinced that AI will turn out like The Terminator rather than being a trusted guide and friend – so we need to build public confidence in its incredible potential."

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.