Last month’s Policy Jam focused on the tech policy priorities that BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT would like to see the next government focus on. Claire Penketh, Senior Policy & Public Affairs Manager at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, hosted the session, and highlighted the widespread impact of AI and the need for responsible development.

The panel included Julia Adamson MBE, BCS MD of Education and Public Benefit Holly Porter, MD BCS Institute, Jo Stansfield FBCS, Somaya Aghnia FBCS, and James Woodward, BCS Director of Communication. Andy Twelves reports.


The discussion began with James presenting the main points of the BCS manifesto around professionalism, education, and diversity and inclusion. BCS’ main ask is for mandatory professional registration for IT professionals, which is the norm in accounting and engineering. Holly discussed the necessity for high standards of professionalism and accountability in AI and tech development, especially in critical sectors like healthcare. She made it clear that BCS believes that Chartered status should be the gold standard, ensuring that IT professionals are competent, ethical, and continually updating with the latest advancements.

Digital skills for everyone

World-Class computing education and digital literacy was the next topic of discussion, with Julia highlighting the need for comprehensive computing education for all children and adults. The panel then discussed recent proposals to update the computing GCSE to include AI, emphasising that digital literacy is essential for everyone, not just those pursuing tech careers. This includes addressing the digital divide and ensuring that underrepresented groups have access to digital skills, which is crucial for equality and future workforce needs.

Widening participation

The discussion then turned to the topic of diversity and inclusion in the tech sector, with Jo and Somaya, stressing the importance of diversity in tech, noting significant underrepresentation of women, older adults, and people with disabilities. They argued that diverse teams are essential for developing unbiased and equitable tech solutions. The discussion included the need for inclusive hiring practices and creating supportive environments for diverse employees to thrive, emphasising that diversity is a resource that enhances innovation and problem-solving in tech.

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The role of the government in regulating AI and tech was then discussed, with the panel agreeing that the government must take a more proactive role in regulating AI and high-stakes technologies. They discussed the need for a comprehensive AI framework and mandatory AI education program for company directors. This includes setting accountability standards and ensuring transparency in AI deployment to prevent issues like the Post Office Horizon scandal. Holly especially highlighted the importance of balancing innovation with risk management and the role of professional standards in achieving this.

The discussion then turned to the topic of challenges in computing education and teacher shortages. Julia addressed the challenges in computing education, particularly the shortage of qualified teachers and staff retention difficulties. The panel discussed potential solutions, such as industry professionals co-teaching and creative incentive schemes to attract more talent into teaching roles. They emphasised the need for continuous curriculum updates to keep pace with technological advancements and ensure that students receive relevant and high-quality education.

Culture change

Overall, the BCS Policy Jam underscored the need for collaboration between government, industry, and educational institutions to foster a professional, inclusive, and forward-looking tech environment that benefits society. If you want to find out more about BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT’s views on what the tech priorities for the next government should be, check out our manifesto here.