Given the global impact and uncertainty regarding COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), the BCS leadership, staff and volunteers have been considering different areas of impact within BCS and planning for any disruption that may result.
We continue to monitor advice from the World Health Organisation and Government in all the regions we operate. Our top priority is the health and safety of those attending any physical gathering of people organised by BCS and our partners. We have a responsibility too to safeguard those most likely to become seriously ill from the virus by doing everything we can to prevent its spread.
With the rapidly changing coronavirus situation, we are putting in place measures that will disrupt previously advertised activities.
This page serves as an update on our policy and position around the different aspects of our activity that are being impacted by this global issue.
We are cancelling or postponing physical events that are scheduled to take place between now and end of May 2020. This may extend into June and beyond depending on how the situation evolves. Where possible we will change some events to a virtual format (e.g. a Webinar), but this may be on a different date to previously advertised.
Where we have assessed the need to cancel or postpone an event, we are issuing direct communications to delegates and speakers to advise.
It has been necessary to start to cancel or postpone some physical examination sittings that are scheduled to take place between March and June 2020.
Where we have assessed the need to cancel or postpone an examination sitting, we are issuing direct communications to candidates and exam delivery partners to advise.
We encourage all candidates due to attend a BCS examination at a physical location between the period of March and June 2020 to regularly check email communications and notices on our website.
If you have not heard from us or our examination partners to advise your exam has been cancelled, you should assume it is still taking place.
Professional Certifications and Apprenticeship Knowledge Modules
A number of examinations in our Professional Certifications and Apprenticeships portfolio can be taken by candidates in a location of their choice using our Remote Proctoring solutions. This is where an examination sitting is invigilated remotely via the camera on a candidate’s computer. This is an established process that our training providers successfully use on a daily basis.
We have also issued guidance to our training providers on how they can invigilate their own candidates using video conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
ECDL and Digital Skills
We are in the final stages of testing a solution for our approved centres to be able to invigilate their own candidates using video conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
Alongside our testing, we are in discussion with our regulators to ensure that the measures we are putting in place adhere to their conditions.
We are working closely with our regulators to get a workable solution to you as soon as possible but cannot give a specific date at this time. We will keep you updated regularly with our progress.
From Monday 16 March until Friday 1 May 2020, all approval and audit visits to our approved centres will be switched to remote calls.
As we are required by Ofqual to complete an onsite visit, we will arrange an onsite visit for three months' time with centres during the remote call. We will monitor the situation throughout the next couple of months to see if this timeframe needs to be adjusted.
We will continue to prepare audits as usual throughout this period, however all audits will be completed remotely. Our normal processes for the booking of audits still apply.
We appreciate that Higher Education Institutions are making plans to adjust programme delivery and assessment due to the current situation. We will support the adjustments needed to maintain delivery of the programme and understand that this would likely mean changes in delivery format, order of module delivery, assessment methodologies, re-scheduling of delivery and assessment and potentially extension of end dates to enable work to be completed and assessed.
Accreditation criteria are normally covered by multiple modules / units, including projects. Therefore, changes to part of a programme will not necessarily affect the overall achievement of the accreditation criteria. The key consideration for accreditation is that all graduates of the programme achieve all of the criteria at the specified level.
We ask that institutions notify us of any changes so that we can satisfy ourselves that the accreditation criteria can still be achieved by all graduates. In addition to changes to programme delivery and assessment, this may also include, for example, substitution or discontinuation of modules, changes to compensation regulations, or loss of critical resources. It is also important to notify us should interruption to programme delivery lead to a reduced number of credits or award of the degree without completing a project.
We appreciate that the measures you put in place may evolve due to the uncertainty of the situation and would encourage an open line of communication.
All scheduled face-to-face CAS events are cancelled, postponed or being rearranged to a virtual event.
CAS Community Meetings
For scheduled Community Meetings, we are supporting Community Leaders to switch these online or postpone them to later in the year. Please check your booked events for details.
We have several CAS Conferences scheduled for the summer term and we are reviewing contingency plans for alternative virtual arrangements to be put in place.
CAS Outreach Team
For staff at BCS, including those who support Computing at School, we have established flexible home working. So, if you’re due to meet one of our team they’ll be in touch with you to agree plans to switch any upcoming scheduled meetings to virtual.
Applications are still open for BCS Scholarships. We’ll continue to process applications as quickly as possible, we will be scheduling online assessments which you will be invited to book onto throughout April and May, once you have submitted your online application.
We have cancelled the following Scholarship Assessment Days:
- 8 April, Manchester
- 14 April, London
- 27 May, Bristol
- 6 June, Reading
We’re currently working on a plan to bring these assessment days online. Candidates will be offered a range of availability to join an online assessment throughout April and May.
If you are booked on the scheduled assessment days above, you’ll receive an email from the Scholarships team with further details shortly.
Future assessment days, other than those mentioned above, are still scheduled to go ahead but we will be assessing the situation closer to the time and keeping you up to date.
We are working with chairs of all Boards and Committees to review plans for upcoming meetings and, where appropriate, rearrange to run virtually. If you are involved in any BCS-led Board or Committee your secretariat will be in touch with relevant information.
All BCS staff continue to work. All of our staff are now working remotely in accordance with Government instruction for social distancing and working from home. Members, customers and partners can continue to communicate with us through our advertised communication channels.
As with events, several activities we might normally have conducted face-to-face may now be organised as a virtual collaboration.
We are currently operating a reduced service on our HQ telephone switchboard, but there are other ways you can reach us outlined on this page.
Some of our physical offices now have a different operational status.
- Swindon HQ, UK
Our headquarters in Swindon, UK remains open, but only a very small number of staff in a key worker role will occasionally be on site for essential purposes as a result of social distancing measures in the UK.
- Bedford, UK
Our staff office in Bedford has closed until further notice. Staff will continue to work from home.
- London Office, 25 Copthall Avenue, London, UK
We have closed our office in London until further notice.
- Sri Lanka Office, Colombo, Sri Lanka
We are in the process of closing our office in Sri Lanka until further notice. Staff will continue to work from home and ensure activity to remain running in Sri Lanka continues.
- Mauritius Office, Castel, Eau Coulee, Mauritius
Our office in Mauritius continues to function as normal.
Our Chief Executive, Paul Fletcher, has also issued a letter to all BCS members, updating our members on what BCS has been doing in response to the crisis and many of the great initiatives and examples of ways members are contributing their expertise and time during this period.
We have also launched a new campaign, vITal workers, to highlight, recognise and celebrate the incredible contribution that IT professionals are making during these unprecedented times. We’d like to encourage everybody (not just members) to learn more about the campaign and get involved.