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BCS proposes IT priorities for new Government

Rashik Parmar
Rashik Parmar
Image source: BCS

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, has called for a long term digital transformation of health and social care as one of the priorities for the new Government.

It has published a set of priorities and recommendations that also includes strengthening policy on cyber security, designing sustainable technology to achieve the net zero ambitions, and promoting more digital apprenticeships.

The organisation has also highlighted the need for action on promoting professionalism in the IT industry, building digital literacy in education and closing the gender gap in IT.

The BCS manifesto for the incoming administration says a long term plan for digital transformation in health and care is essential, as technology can streamline administrative processes and improve diagnoses. But this requires investment in people, processes and technology that require a proper plan.

It welcomes the Labour Party’s election manifesto pledge to remove planning barriers to new data centres to cope with the demand for emerging technologies such as AI, but also urges that they are designed to be sustainable and energy-efficient.

Cyber and apprenticeships

These come with a need to strengthen policy on cyber security, along with the relevant organisational culture and professional standards; and to build on the use of digital apprenticeships, with measures to protect their quality and integrity, to encourage the provision of a skilled workforce.

The call to ensure that technology professionals are chartered reflects a long term campaign by BCS. It includes requirements for everyone who makes decisions about technology to earn registration as a chartered IT profession under which they would be held to independent standards of ethics, competence and accountability.

In addition, organisations should be required to publish safe, ethical and inclusive policies on their use of technology, including AI.

Recommendations for education include adding a GCSE on applied computing to the existing qualification on computer science, aimed at providing an understanding of practical ways that computing can be used safely and responsible. This should be accompanied by a broad qualification in digital literacy available to everyone.

There should also be an effort to bring more women and people from ethnic minorities and with disabilities into the IT industry, BCS says.

Unique opportunity

Rashik Parmar, chief executive of BCS, said: “The new prime minister has a unique opportunity to take a positive view of AI and high stakes technologies, making sure they transform the lives of everyone in the UK.

“By setting high standards for those who direct and develop computing in areas like health, security and other vital public services, the UK can be an example to the world.

“That’s why this Government should back chartered status for technology professionals, setting the same expectations of competence and ethics as regulated fields like accountancy and medicine.

“Then to secure the future, we need to prioritise digital literacy and computing education in schools and make tech careers appeal to a far broader group of people.”

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