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BSF Thread, BSF novice - need advice urgently please in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; I have very little knowledge of BSF full stop. I have heard rumours and read articles but to be honest ...
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    Kyle's Avatar
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    BSF novice - need advice urgently please

    I have very little knowledge of BSF full stop. I have heard rumours and read articles but to be honest i don't really understand the full impact on IT staff. I know a lot of people on there could write a book on it now but all i need are to , i hope simple questions answered urgently.

    1. Does BSF affect, come into, involve Academy schools. So, if the school is already an Academy and then the LA BSF wave comes in do it cover Academy's?

    2. I know it affects more than just IT Support staff with site staff, cleaners and also kitchen staff being in the loop. KI have been asked today if it affects staff such as the MIS Data Manager who really is MIS based but could also be classed as a sort of IT Support?


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    broc's Avatar
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    I cannot answer the question about academies I am afraid; as they are mostly new and regarded as financially 'independent' of the LA I would be surprised if many would wish to become involved in the BSF process but that is speculation on my part. I believe some foundation & trust schools are also happy to keep BSF at arms length.

    As for your other question; I think the answer depends upon what services & support have been built into the Managed Services bid, and this could be different in each LA.

    If you have an MIS manager who is focused purely on the 'data' side of things in school then this should remain part of the school operation. If the MIS Manager is also responsible for the underlying hardware and software infrastructure supporting the MIS systems then I think this would be considered part of the Managed Service so some level of negotiation will be required.

    In my own school we have a Data and Exams Officer who looks after the MIS data side of things, while I (as NM) look after the infrastructure. Under BSF the Data & Exams Officer will remain a school employee, whereas I will become part of the managed service team and support for the MIS infrastructure will be delivered by the managed service.

    There is an equally grey area regarding Web site and VLE development & admin. In some schools these responsibilities are part of the duties assigned to their ICT support staff but are unlikely to be part of the standard Managed Service.... that is not to say the Managed Service won't do it, but I would imagine it will be an 'extra' that the school has to pay for. The jury is still out at my school on this one, along with the 'classroom' support delivered by one of our ICT technicians....

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    Face-Man's Avatar
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    Broc has it pritty much covered. I heard it explained that if you job is over 50% Technical then you should be Tuped. Data managers are different thing at different schools.

    As for Academes I know one near me that is going fully ahead for a managed service but it was entirely up to them and so the could have said (and still can until the ink drys on the contract) no thanks

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    broc's Avatar
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    There are some new academies near me that are in the planning/building stages, I believe they are/will be signing up for a managed service too. They are however co-sponsored by the LA, this may have influenced the outcome.

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    Hi Kyle

    The best background to BSF is the 4p's guide found here!

    4ps

    Academies are not part of BSF and are free to enter into their own ICT contracts, but there is a growing expectation within some authorities running BSF programmes that Academies in their area will be offered ICT services under the same contract. This makes sense where the BSF programme has area based services that allow schools to collaborate and communicate with each other through a common infrastructure. Whether the Academy chooses to join the Local Authority fun is another matter.

    Users (e.g. data managers) are not subject to TUPE, however technical support (and facilities management) will TUPE if the new contract takes on their job role.

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    broc's Avatar
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    I heard an interesting rumour surrounding ICT support staff appointed by schools after they had signed up for a managed service with a 3rd party. The story was there are no guarantees they will have a job when the managed service kicks in & they will not be protected by TUPE.........

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    linuxgirlie's Avatar
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    Unison have a guide as well:

    http://www.unison.org.uk/file/A2331.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    I heard an interesting rumour surrounding ICT support staff appointed by schools after they had signed up for a managed service with a 3rd party. The story was there are no guarantees they will have a job when the managed service kicks in & they will not be protected by TUPE.........
    The law on TUPE is clear. Once staff transfer they are legally entitled to TUPE. If employed after the TUPE date, they are employed directly by the service provider so new terms and conditions apply.

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asynchro View Post
    The law on TUPE is clear. Once staff transfer they are legally entitled to TUPE. If employed after the TUPE date, they are employed directly by the service provider so new terms and conditions apply.
    I think what Broc is trying to say is that staff appointed to handle IT after everybody else has been Tuped won't have any protection. I may be wrong.

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    broc's Avatar
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    Just to clarify, the story I heard was that those ICT support staff employed by schools prior to the managed services contract being signed were covered by TUPE; those who were appointed by the schools after the contract was signed but before transfer has been undertaken were not being guaranteed a job in the managed service.

    I am led to believe this is a grey area in employment law and subject to some interpretation...... after all, the service provider could sign an agreement with the employer, agree TUPE terms and numbers and then find out the schools have gone and hired an army of extra staff in the meantime....

    The key message I was trying to convey was to be careful if you are considering moving jobs to a school actively engaged in the BSF program; try to make sure you know where you stand legally (& get it in writing) before making the move.
    Last edited by broc; 18th November 2008 at 08:53 AM.

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    Face-Man's Avatar
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    There is a school near me who are just appointing new staff on short term contracts upto when BSF starts to avoid the TUPE issues.. So be very careful what you apply for

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    Hi Broc,

    Fortunately UK Employment law is not that grey! TUPE has been around awhile.

    The date the ICT Contract is signed is frequently ahead of the date of transfer of staff. Other than where schools agree with the new service provider for a single early transfer of staff, the TUPE date for a particular member of staff is their school's 'service commencement date' which is obviously going to be different for each school.

    Some authorities (Kent for example) consulted their schools and as a result decided on a single early TUPE transfer date for all schools. This ensures tecnicians work for the ICT contractor ahead of their schools completion.

    In this way technicians change employer at the start of the programme and it removes the uncertainty. They can continue in the same job and on the same terms and conditions, and be part of their school's transition to the new service.

    It can otherwise be de-motivating for technicians to preside over the running down of the service they created without being part of the building of the new service, so I think the single TUPE approach has merit. Its also probable that technicians might leave before the new service starts due to the uncertainty, and for schools its difficult to recruit for a limited contract period.

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    broc's Avatar
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    Hi asynchro,

    I understand what you are saying, but can you explain what would happen to an NM who is recruited by a school after the Service contract has been signed & sealed, but before any transfer has taken place?

    Would they be automatically absorbed into the managed service, on whatever salary the school chose to pay? Surely not, otherwise schools could seriously abuse the situation by replacing £15k NMs with £30k NMs, or recruit additional staff even?

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    The terms of TUPE transfer would be have to be agreed before the contract, the new employer would agree to provide X amount of staff - this would be probably specified in contract. Conceivably it could say that the company must transfer everybody who is employed at teh time of the transfer.

    So if a new member of staff was employed after the contract, the new employer could still have an obligation to TUPE them, depending upon transfer contract.

    Most likely the school would employ the NM on a short, fixed term contract and not renew the contract after the transfer had taken place. Technical staff could also be employed to oversee the transfer. Another scenario is that the new employer just gets rid of them afterwards citing one of the many get out clauses.

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    Hi Broc

    If a school decides to appoint a NM on a high salary that wasn't in place at the signing of the contract, they would be liable to pay the managed ICT service provider the difference between the amount disclosed under the 'due diligence'. This is the pre-signing phase when everyone sets out the assumptions of the contract. This is captured in the ICT contract 'cost model' (a complex spreadsheet states all cost assumptions of all parties that underpins the contract and becomes part of it).

    In practice this means that on signing of the ICT contract the wages bill is assumed to be as captured in the cost model, and this applies for the duration of the contract (could be 5 years, 10 years etc.), along with the on-costs, e.g. pension arrangements. Incidentally, the TUPE right continues at the other end of the contract, so if a different provider wins the contract renewal, or the school takes over its own service again, the employee has the rights to transfer with it; its not a once only deal. In practice though, most employees will apply for other jobs in the ICT service, and as soon as they do they relinquish TUPE rights.

    Things such as annual inflation are indexed as assumptions for the purposes of the cost model, and the risk for these is calculated and factored in. For instance, the rate of inflation has dropped signifacntly, so the assumptions for pay rises will drop and so the cost of employment will drop.

    In summary, if a NM leaves after contract signing (very possible) and the school has to offer a higher salary in order to recruit, then the school is liable for the difference unless the contractor has agreed to accept the risk, which they may up to certain limts. Most schools don't go this route for obvious reasons! This doesn't affect the individual; if they are appointed at an 'impressive' pay rate between contract sign and TUPE date, they have the right to continue on those pay and conditions. Thats the law!

    In practice the Local Authority, school and ICT contractor will either work up a temporary arrangement or a short term contract to avoid this. Typically this is an arrangement with the 'friendly' school next door for using some of their resource to plug the gap, or the ICT contractor recruiting early and passing the charge to the school until the handover date. This is usually the best route for the contractor, as they get a new body in place with the likelihood of a longer term of employment for that individual.
    Last edited by asynchro; 19th November 2008 at 06:01 PM.

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