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Update from ITPNZ

Paul Matthews. 27 March 2020, 12:42 pm
Update from ITPNZ

Here's a quick weekly update from ITP CEO Paul Matthews

Wow, what a difference a week can make.

This week: IT is listed as an essential service, but what does that mean? Free remote working webinar TODAY, IRD advice, Sharing your story, 123Tech goes fully digital and so much more.

So read up, rest up, and let's get through this together.

IT as an Essential Service

You may be aware that IT is regarded as an Essential Service in some circumstances. However, this isn't carte blanche to continue as normal during Level 4 and only certain workers and activities appear to be covered.

IT is exempt on the following basis:

Critical support services to ensure businesses and workers can continue working from home are considered to be essential. This includes functions such as IT and Payroll

So for example, if you look after a client with a local server onsite, and that server has stopped responding and is essential to ensure workers can continue to work from home, you can likely attend onsite to troubleshoot it. Or turn it off and then back on again…  

This does NOT mean you can just go about your normal work, undertake onsite general non-essential maintenance, do that onsite reconfiguration you've been intending to do for a while, etc. The exemption is ONLY for critical support where, without it, businesses and workers couldn't continue working from home.

You should consider objectively whether what you've been asked to do is critical support that would require breaking the lockdown. If it's not, you have a legal obligation to decline.

Obviously remote support is the preferred approach, either accessing machines remotely or supporting clients over the phone/videocall. However if you do need to travel, you should either have a work ID card, or a letter from your CEO or equivalent in case you're stopped by the Police.

There will be a lot of grey areas. In the first instance, apply the test: is this really critical? Could it wait? What's the impact if you don't do it? If there's any option of getting by without breaking the lockdown, do that instead. And if you have to go onsite, use all the precautions you can: 2m air gap and wipe down any surfaces, including door handles etc, with an alcohol wipe before and after contact.

Telecommunications and other critical infrastructure workers and ISPs are exempted as well of course, however only for the purpose of ensuring critical infrastructure keeps functioning.

We can provide some advice within the guidelines provided, however MBIE is the authority - contact them on 0508 377 388 or email [email protected] to get clarification, especially if it's within that grey area.

Please don't abuse the exemption!

We all have a huge roll to play in this lockdown by keeping isolated. Our industry also has a role in helping keeping NZ running at level 4 and it's important, but we also don't want our industry known as the one that flouted the rules. Doing so would be both a breach of the current rules, plus a breach of your ethical responsibilities to your profession.

And most importantly, stay safe out there!

 

4pm TODAY: Free public webinar on remote working

Just a final reminder on this webinar. We have space for a few more registrations, so come join over 400 others at this webinar.

The tech sector as a whole has a heap of experience in remote working and other flexible approaches. By and large we were the largest adopters of this, and it's not uncommon to have dev teams working together across the country and indeed the world.

In light of everything that's happening, and in conjunction with talking to Government about the concerns of our members (especially consultants), we've been thinking about how we can help other industries.

The first step for us is putting together a free webinar panel to help share some of what we know as an industry. This will be provided by IT Professionals NZ in partnership with Umbrella Wellbeing and is aimed at all people from all industries. It will explore how to make yourself productive, keep your sanity while isolated, and keep your business going while working from home.

I'll be facilitating the panel, which will feature exited tech entrepreneur, IT consultant and ITP President Mike Dennehy with productivity and other tips and tricks, Registered Clinical Psychologist Gaynor Parkin talking about how to keen sane while isolated, and experienced CIO Simon Lloyd-Evans talking business continuity in the face of all of this.

We'd love to have you along.

More information

 

Inland Revenue Updated Advice to Businesses In Regards to Covid-19

As our community enters into weeks of uncertainty as the country locks down, and are learning to adapt to the new conditions, there will be anxiety about the future, especially in regards to meeting and receiving tax subsidies. 

Inland Revenue has made it clear that it is continuing to provide essential services for business and individual customers.

In an announcement the public service department stated it would "be flexible in the way we approach filing obligations (GST and provisional tax, for example) and tax debt. More details on filing and debt will be provided as soon as possible."

"Again, please be assured that we will remain open during the Alert 4 period and will prioritise working on all critical matters related to your tax entitlement and payment obligations. We know these are matters causing real stress and uncertainty and we are working urgently to provide as much certainty as quickly as we can."

As with most government agencies at this time, phone activity has increased substantially, and the department pushed to use online resources where possible "Please continue to respond to electronic mail from Inland Revenue, contact by phone is severely limited so customers will have to make every effort to make their contacts online - preferably through MyIR."

 

How are you getting on? Share your story

We're kicking off a series shortly exploring your stories during the shutdown, and how you and your team are coping. What is your team doing to keep the lights on that might be something that others can use?

We're going to talk to as many companies, organisations and individuals as we can over the next few weeks to find out how it's going and what you're doing differently. Maybe we can learn something useful out of all this.

If you'd like to talk about it with one of us, drop me a line at [email protected] and we'll hook you up. Please do!

 

123Tech Challenge to continue in schools as it adapts to Level-4

Our school based digital challenge will continue to run through in the current setting, albeit with lots of adjustments made to adjust to the current way of living. The 123 Tech Challenge came about through a collaboration betweenThe Ministry of Education and the IT industry to support the introduction of the new Digital Technologies & Hangarau Matihiko curriculum into schools and kura.

For more information on the new new Digital Technologies & Hangarau Matihiko curriculum, The Education Gazette has released a video series on the revised content that was successfully rolled out during Term 1.

You can find the complete video series and accompanying articles below:

  1. Exploring the relevance of the DT curriculum for young New Zealanders: https://gazette.education.govt.nz/articles/new-curriculum-content-to-equip-students-for-future/
  2. A look at the curriculum in action in a primary school setting, West Rolleston Primary: https://gazette.education.govt.nz/articles/growing-digital-citizens-of-the-future/
  3. A look at the curriculum in action in an intermediate school setting, Newlands Intermediate: https://gazette.education.govt.nz/articles/curriculum-of-awe-and-wonder/
  4. A look at the curriculum in action in a secondary school setting: Rolleston College: https://gazette.education.govt.nz/articles/joining-the-dots-innovative-learning-for-a-connected-world/
  5. A looks at how schools can work with industry and communities to bring curriculum learning to life: https://gazette.education.govt.nz/articles/now-is-the-future/

 

CITPNZ and CTech: What, why, how 

Just noting this webinar was pushed back to next Wednesday, given the chaos that was this week.

So just a final reminder that our CITPNZ Webinar will be happening next week on the 1st. The webinar is a great chance to help you answer question if you are thinking about getting certified this year, and to help you get started.

Chartered IT Professional NZ (CITPNZ) and Certified Technologist (CTech) professional certifications as opposed to technical certifications. This means that rather than assessing whether you can do specific tasks with specific technologies, they independently confirm that you:

  • Know what you're doing (in your chosen area)
  • Keep up to date in your field
  • Are trustworthy
  • Are bound by a Code of Ethics, and
  • Can demonstrate actual results

In short, you're someone that the professional body of the sector has independently assessed and can endorse as a bona fide professional. It's not a guarantee that you'll always get it right; but it is a commitment that if you breach your ethical responsibilities, the professional community can hold you to account. 

This webinar starts with a run-through of what they are and why (from a high level), followed by a detailed walkthrough of how to apply and plenty of time for Q&A. We're excited to see around 100 registrations so far.

More information

 

Free online Ivy League courses

So if you're stuck at home and aren't able to work, why not take part in free online learning from some of the best universities in the world?

There are 446 courses available from Ivy League schools listed here.


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