techUK is committed to working with our 850 members and Government as the country responds to COVID-19.
As the situation develops, techUK will regularly be surveying our members to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses and the sector more generally. The results of our first member survey – which ran from 13 March for seven days and received almost 200 responses, provide some initial insights.
As early as last week, the majority of techUK members had seen an impact on their business as a result of COVID-19; however what is notable is the ability of respondents to adapt their business practices quickly and with ease.
COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the WHO on 11 March – soon after countries started taking measures to restrict movement both within their countries and at the borders. The tech sector moved quickly to respond, instituting measures such as remote working and a move to virtual meetings.
This speaks to the digital tools and services the majority of our members make use of whether: collaboration software, cloud storage or sophisticated conferencing facilities and the culture within the sector as a whole which prides itself on agility.
Despite the resilience demonstrated in the initial period, as evidenced by our survey results, as we look ahead to a potentially extended period of economic upheaval there will no doubt be impacts on our sector.
The first priority is establishing clear lines of communications between Government departments and industry. Moving quickly to establish clear channels of communication is vital to ensuring our members are able to provide their expertise and tools to Government and NHS to help in the fight against COVID-19 but also to ensure that unnecessary energy is not expended seeking and providing information through multiple sources.
techUK is committed to acting as a conduit of information and intelligence between Government and industry. techUK is proud of the diversity within our membership ensuring that we can represent the needs of the sector across all Departments.
Secondly, our members are reprioritising their work to best position them to respond to COVID-19 whether that is ensuring the continuing of their business or allowing resource and capacity to help the wider response to the pandemic.
As such teams are being shifted and non-priority work paused. Given the extraordinary nature of this disruption, businesses would benefit a ‘pause’ on all non-essential Government consultation and a relief on introducing new regulations where not enough time has been given to prepare.
Finally, our members are already working to ensure that they are able to continue to provide resilience and continued economic activity in a period of greater restriction. If greater restrictions are put in place it will be essential that the sector is able to continue to provide the digital infrastructure necessary to keep Government, NHS and communities, up and down the country, connected.