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Podcast: The Computer Weekly Downtime Upload – Episode 4

In this week’s episode of The Computer Weekly Downtime Upload podcast, the team covers Matt Hancock’s bid to get the NHS to embrace email, the government’s push to extend IR35 to the private sector, and how technology can transform staff training

In this week’s episode of the Computer Weekly Downtime Upload podcast, Brian McKenna, Caroline Donnelly and Clare McDonald dig a little deeper into some of the week’s biggest tech stories and trends, and are joined by special guest – Computer Weekly’s editor-in-chief, Bryan Glick.

Brian discusses an ezine feature by SA Mathieson which poses the question: “When is it best to stick with paper?”. Using examples such as the elimination of paper tax discs and the importance of cash for the unbanked, the team talk about where paper may be better than digital.

Beginning with a rather sarcastic quote from health secretary Matt Hancock, Bryan tells the team about Hancock’s suggestion the NHS should use “email by default” to communicate with patients, pointing the finger at the unreliability of emails after sharing the startling statistic that over half a million letters between GPs and hospitals have gone missing over the past five years.

Caroline talks IR35 tax reforms and the new rules surrounding contractor taxation due to come into effect in April 2020. While sharing the impact reforms have already had on the public sector, Caroline explains many contractors lack confidence in the private sector to manage the new rules coming into play.

Clare talks about her attendance at the Learning Technologies event in London, which was focused on how learning and development teams in organisations are using technology for internal training. Clare uses one example she heard at the event – how Royal Mail is using virtual reality (VR) to train its postal workers to avoid dog attacks.

Brian shares a story by networking editor Alex Scroxton surrounding the use of artificial intelligence and robotics as part of the future curriculum for medical students – are we finally using data to move towards a preventative model? (And will Clare ever make it through a podcast without saying something stupid?)

• Caroline rounds off by discussing the legal settlement between British Airways and CBRE over the May 2017 Bank Holiday datacentre outage, which at the time left thousands of passengers unable to travel. Though probably a good outcome for the companies involved, the team share their disappointment over the now radio silence of the case and its unanswered questions.  

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