CEO Blog

CEO Blog

As 2019 comes to an end, I thought it’d be interesting to look back at some of our association’s achievements this year.

For many people the highlight of the year was our Annual Conference & Exhibition, BAPCO 2019 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry in March.  This year’s event was run in conjunction with our colleagues from TCCA and brought their popular Critical Communications Europe (CCE) to the conference.  The whole event was a great success with more features, more exhibitors and more people attending.  Whilst some of this was a product of the joint work, it’s also part of our continuing plans to make every BAPCO Annual Event better and more relevant than the last.  We already have a great programme lined up for BAPCO 2020 continuing some of the regular themes and bringing new and interesting speakers and features to you.  Make sure you register early.

The hard work and success of BAPCO 2019 was recognised in the wider world of Associations when it was shortlisted for the award of Best Conference Development by the Association Awards 2019. Thanks to everybody involved in the planning and execution of this tremendous event.

Whilst the annual event could be seen as business as usual, it’s important the association and all involved in running it, agree on the future direction and how we’ll carry out the necessary work.  In March of this year we published the BAPCO Strategic Plan 2019-2022.  This is the first time the association has had an agreed, published and properly worked out strategy.  It’s a big step forward for us and the result of a lot of hard work assisted by Andrew Chamberlain of Consort Strategy who has worked with us to make this possible.

Our progress is recognised outside our particular sector.  I was very pleased to be a speaker in the Leaders’ Forum stream of the Associations UK Congress talking about BAPCO’s journey and experience.

June saw us running the Next Generation 999 (NG999) event in London with help from BT and Darryl Keen, Chair of the UK 999 Liaison Committee of which BAPCO is a member. We ran the event as a round table with presentations to begin with that informed the audience and generated debate.  These were followed after lunch with discussions amongst all attendees.  The outcomes were captured and published as a BAPCO white paper which is available free of charge to anybody who needs to use it to engage in or further publicise this important subject.  I hope we see progress and transparency around this subject in 2020.

One of the outcomes from the NG999 event was the acknowledgment of an issue with the way an emergency call is treated if it’s data from an emergency app, rather than a voice call.  This occurs even if the app is approved and accredited under the BAPCO scheme on behalf of the 999LC.  This is a worldwide issue and as a result of this discovery, Andrew Richardson of Real Safe Technology and I were invited to attend the ETSI EMTEL (Emergency Telecommunications) committee meeting in Vienna to give a presentation about the problem and its consequences for users.  The committee acknowledged the issue needs resolving and not just at a UK level.  It is currently deciding where, in the world of telecommunications standards, the work should be done.

As a result of our involvement with this area of work, BAPCO was asked to become a member of the EMTEL committee and to attend future meetings representing the user perspective.  This in turn has led to BAPCO becoming a member of ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.  ETSI works with bodies across the world in this important field.  It’s great to have BAPCO being a part of their work.

In November, BAPCO VP Chris Lucas and I attended the APCO Canada Conference & Exhibition.  Chris was presenting and we were also there to explore closer ties between our associations and how we can support each other.  As a result of work already done it was great announce a new four-way international collaboration between BAPCO, APCO Canada, NENA from the USA and EENA who work across Europe.  Chris signed the collaboration agreement for us along with the Presidents from the three other associations and the Collaborative Coalition for International Public Safety, CC:IPS was born.  We’ll keep you updated throughout 2020 on the progress of the partnership.

November saw another successful Satellite Series event at St James’ Park in Newcastle.  This event is so popular and goes from strength to strength with more exhibitors and more registered delegates.  A refurbished conference facility helped to ensure an interesting as well as enjoyable event.  Thank you to all involved in every way.

I was both pleased and excited on the second day of the Satellite event to be able to announce the Inaugural BAPCO Awards.  The awards are one of the first outcomes from our strategic plan and for me, one of the best parts.  The awards presentations will take place on the afternoon of Thursday June 11th at the House of Commons in London.  We have secured the use of the Riverside Terrace for the event and am really looking forward to welcoming all of those who are eventually shortlisted to join us for a wonderful afternoon.  Nominations for the awards open on Monday 27th January.  For more details and to register your interest, go to our website at

Finally, as a busy and successful year comes to an end, thank you to all of you for your support of our association. As I attend events across the year, it’s obvious we have something special in our combination of ‘commercial’ and ‘user’ members working together.  Long may it continue and with the plans we now have in place, I’m sure it will. 

It would be great to hear your thoughts on what we’re doing and what’s happening or should be happening, across our sector. Why not use the newly created BAPCO Forum to share your ideas or perhaps challenge others on a subject?

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year from me and all of us involved with BAPCO.  If you are working or volunteering over the festive season, a special thank you.

Ian Thompson


18th December 2019