Ernest Morris TD

BCS President 1987/88

After University of Wales with an honours degree in History (1952) he did national military service in the Royal Artillery. At its completion in September 1954 he joined the British Tabulating Machine Co Ltd (BTM) as a trainee Technical Serviceman. After a year’s training he joined the City of London branch where he assisted various customers in the use of the company’s punched card systems. In 1957 he was sent on a course to learn how to program the 1201 computer which was under development for use in commercial applications. With that knowledge he advised several organisations who had ordered one of these machines.

In late 1958 he was appointed by one of these customers, CT Bowring & Co (Insurance) Ltd (CTB) (a major Lloyds Insurance broker) to lead a team preparing for the introduction of a 1201 computer. One was duly delivered in 1960 when he was given the title of data processing manager (but the main role seemed to be debugging computer programs!). While successful, this computer was replaced by a Honeywell 400 in 1965, largely because of the superiority of magnetic tape facilities, without which the systems would have struggled.

At the end of 1966, prompted by an internal reorganisation, he resigned and joined Cooper Brothers & Co (CB &Co), the management consultancy arm of its chartered accountancy practice, which had extended its services into giving advice on computer systems. He became a director of the company in 1971.

In 1981 he was headhunted by the Prudential to manage its information systems facility, where he remained until 1981, retiring as Group General Manager Management Services.

In retirement, from 1994 to 1997 he was chairman of a company created out of a civil service organisation. This was UKERNA, which runs the JANET computer network for academic and research institutes.

In the early 70s he was instrumental, along with several other ‘industry leaders’, in the creation of the Computing Services Association (CSA) out of the Computer Bureaux and Services Association (COSBA) and the Software Houses Association (SHA) and became its third president.

As to his BCS activities, he became a member in 1958, a Fellow at the introduction of that grade, a member of Council in 1972, and Vice-President Professional, then Deputy President and President in 1997. As an honorary officer he was closely involved with several significant activities, namely the completion of the Professional Development scheme and manual, the passing through Parliament of the Data Protection Bill, the granting of a Royal Charter and the attainment of membership of the Engineering Council.

As a separate but related activity he was for several years in the 1980s the chairman of the relevant IT committee within BTEC (the Business and Technical Education Council) which had the task of approving the computing courses run by polytechnics (along with several BCS colleagues).

Subsequently he led the team within CEPIS to introduce the BCS Professional Scheme throughout Europe.