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To recognise the work of IT professionals during the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, is asking people to share and celebrate examples of IT services and IT professionals working to keep essential elements of national life functioning.
Today, as much of the world’s population cuts out social contact to prevent the spread of coronavirus, computing and digital services are being used to connect families, friends and colleagues who are unable to meet physically during the crisis.
The UK’s response to the outbreak means office workers must work from home, which has put pressure on IT teams to ensure everyone who can work from home is equipped to do so effectively.
The increasing use of video conferencing tools such as Zoom and remote access software has also meant work for IT teams behind the scenes to configure and maintain essential IT infrastructure.
On top of that, the opening of the NHS Nightingale hospital at Excel required not only clinical staff and medical equipment, but also the provision of essential IT equipment.
In March, NHSX launched a tech challenge called Techforce19 to encourage developers to build software to help people during the coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter on the BCS website, its chief executive, Paul Fletcher, wrote: “I want to say to our 60,000 members working in IT across the world; to the 17,000 digital apprentices registered with us; to the 30,000 teachers who belong to our computing at school network; to the universities whose courses depend on our accreditation; to the public and private organisations who value our independent validation of IT professionalism, including the NHS – thank you.
Paul Fletcher, BCS
“BCS is committed to harnessing the power of computing to improve people’s lives during this crisis, by offering expertise to those who need it most.
“We want to support and champion IT professionals doing vital work to protect the national infrastructure, including the NHS, during these difficult times.”
In his update on 5 April, health minister Matt Hancock said: “The smart use of data and digital technologies is one of the strongest bulwarks that we have against coronavirus, because new technologies can help us meet these new threats and allow us to gain the understanding and insights we need to defeat this virus once and for all.”
Julian David, CEO of industry association TechUK, also praised the IT industry’s response to coronavirus. “Covid-19 has demonstrated the importance of digital technologies in keeping the economy, society and our public services connected,” he said. “TechUK has proudly helped coordinate the tech sector’s contribution to the crisis response with offers of support to the NHS, government and local authorities.”
MPs have also recognised the value of technology in enabling the government to continue operating during the coronavirus outbreak, as well as supporting efforts to tackle the virus.