Well, I got called to an emergency meeting this morning with my line manager (Network Manager) and the Resource Manager (Bursar) and despite not having had any previous information except for the standard info that we were expected to be TUPEd in 2012, I was told the school have accepted an "Interim Managed Service Solution" with RM and that we will be TUPEd... this October!
Why on Earth they (SLT and the Governors) have made this decision I have no idea, but hey it's happening. I (and the Network Manager) have a meeting on Wednesday with the Headteacher, Resource Manager, LEA HR and RM HR. I've called Unison and they said they will try to get a rep to attend. The guy who deals with this stuff is currently off sick.
Oh well, it's happening, a bit of a shock because I didn't expect it to happen so quickly but hey... Time to take it on the chin!
I certainly don't plan to disappear from EduGeek so, I will keep you guys updated on what goes on.
Wish us luck!
if its any consolation at least your fairly close to abingdon should you want to progress into the dark world of rm!.
fingers crossed for you.
Well, I've had the meeting with RM yesterday. The persons at the meeting were:
Myself (Network Technician)
My Unison Rep
Head of Borough Corporate ICT
Borough HR Rep
RM Service Delivery Manager for Managed Services
Resource Manager (Bursar and Line Manager to Network Manager)
Basically, I had a list of questions that I had put together. Before the meeting I had a brief consultation with the Unison rep who pretty much answered all the questions I had based on the knowledge he had from previous discussions with RM and the Borough. However, I asked these anyway to get the answers directly from RM and out in the open. In terms of our employment, I have to say that my fears were put to a rest to an extent. All of our T&Cs will be carried forward to RM, there will be no redundancies and everything essentially remains exactly how it is at the moment. Same annual leave, same increments (I'm due AL increments next year, this will still be the case) The only thing that will change is the application for pensions. Currently, I do not pay into the borough pension scheme. If I choose to do so before the TUPE transfer then nothing will change. If I don't apply before the transfer then I will only be able to apply for the RM scheme. Regardless, this is a decision I will need to make in due course.
As for day to day activities, we are entering a "Phase 1" managed services solution. "Phase 2" being the full transfer after the new build - More on this later. Back to "Phase 1" - Basically, this will be a continuation with the current service we support with some subtle changes. I will still report to the NM. The NM will no longer report the the Resource Manager and instead will report to an "RM Area Manager for Managed Services" who will ultimately report to the "RM Service Delivery Manager for Managed Services" who was present at the meeting. My main concern was the way support will work. Teachers will ultimately need to carry out certain tasks to ensure that they have done what they can before they call us. When it gets to this stage, they will log a call, either by phone, email or web based logging system. Presumably there will be procedures for logging and prioritisation that are yet to be drawn up. I raised the concern of teachers not agreeing to this, and possible union action for being made to do something they feel they don't need to. I was told that it will be a gradual "educating" process and that they haven't had this problem in other boroughs they have implements the MSP in. I did raise the point that every borough was different and that what would they do in the event that the was a backlash, but they said along the lines of it will be discussions with teachers and well, they will deal with it when and if necessary.
On to financial penalties should KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are not met. I again raised a concern as to what happens if we simply can't meet these KPIs and that the school choose to raise a financial penalty, I don't want to be getting into trouble because I can't meet targets, because that is currently the case, there are only 2 of us and it can take us days, even weeks to fix certain issues. Albeit, people are paitient right now and we aren't called to task if we don't close calls within a certain time period, I can't see this being the same case when there is money involved. Even if we are not at fault, I'm not looking forward to the prospect of having to explain why cases are not closed if the case is how it is now (i.e. Not enough personnel, not enough training, lack of corporation by teachers/other staff.
We will still be buying equipment as when we need it. The equipment will need to meet borough spec which when I saw today was far behind the equipment we currently buy. Infact:
Microsoft Windows Vista Compatible 1Ghz CPU (You what? Can you still get 1Ghz CPUs? Would you install Vista on a 1Ghz CPU?)
1Gb Ram - My PC at home is starting to struggle on XP with 1Gb Ram!
40Gb HDD - Are these still available?
Graphics Card with WDDM and Pixel Shader 2.0 Support - Well, at least they have thought of Aero!
Anyway, it needs to match this min spec and be agreed by the finance department and our RM Line Manager.
We will also have full access to RM Support should we need to ask for help and advice - That I suppose is a big advantage, here's hoping their support is useful!
Right, on to "Phase 2" services - In my eyes, not something I am really looking forward to. Currently the new build is scheduled for 2010 although this date is very subject to change! Anyway, a borough wide centrally managed CC4 network with an Enterprise AD and locally based servers, presumably sub domains of the centrally managed domain. Hmmm... CC4, not much for professional developement. Oh well... oh, and everything will be EcoQuiet and Eco Friendly. Users will be able to move around the borough and log in any school they have access to. Possible smart card or other form of authentication.
An interesting question that the Unison rep brought up was about Open Source software, at with the Head of Corporate ICT tried to dodge but pretty much said it doesn have plans for Open Source software in the MSP. Having said that, it's open source, you can't really stop technicians installing free support tools I guess.
In conclusion, I guess there were positives and not so positives to come out of the meeting. I'm glad that it seems our jobs are pretty much safe and that in the main we may find life a little easier. I suppose it'll be hard to change our normal ways, but it's out of our hands. Just the CC4 bit I am not too fond of.
Oh well, November here we come!
Tip for you as soon as you become an rm employer do two things ask about some cpd training (got an mcse ??). Second ask about rm cpd fund that is not related to work (not sure of name if need it will found out) this fund means that you can apply for training and only requirement is that it has nothing to do with your job (got a drivers license??).
Training ideas are only a suggestion but you get my drift....
Problem is field engineers are hard to recruit (due to amount of travel involved).
Also what happens is you will recruit quite a few FE's and then they all at same time decide to start families etc which means they move away from doing FE work as they want to spend time at home etc.
The NM stays as he is. IMO the NM gets the best deal out of being TUPED. Starting on the management level at RM is quite good.
Do i detect a hint of sarcasm there Grommit
Had a meeting with 2 RM TUPEd employees today. Meeting was very good. Lots of positives came out of the meeting and I have to say it has put a lot of my worries to rest. The general consensus was that the TUPE transfer and the aftermath, both short and long term were pleasant. He also told me that of the many TUPEd employees he knew, he hasn't heard of anyone who has been made redundant. RM had also told us in the meeting we had that of all employees that have been TUPEd so far, none have left. All in all I was told not to worry about job security and that from past experiences, we are safe.
1 of the employees has actually since gone on to a promoted job in RM. So, things might actually be looking up!
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