TerryTibbs (8th June 2009)
BSF and IT SUPPORT
There really are a few important elements here. IT Support needs to remain a permanent people resource on site in high schools, colleges and universities. The IT support staff needs to be there for instant on site actions such as setting up equipment, moving equipment, fixing faults, etc...
It is important for trained and knowledgeable IT Support staff to be on-site being involved with teachers, the curriculum planning, pupils, the schoolís leadership/management team and the Local authority. Managed IT cannot even hope to understand and be involved to such a degree. You have to be there full time and be involved to fully understand.
I agree with the BSF strategy that can see centralised purchasing agreements for bulk buying servers, networks, Laptops, software and other such supplies. The LA or a major supplier could easily have an agreed shopping list for IT managers to pick from at agreed prices. That makes some sense and does help to unify and bring all schools up to a agreed level of resources and technology. BUT that does stifle those schools that are really innovative and have an existing excellent IT provision. We all can see that some schools do need a leg-up when it comes to IT management and provision.
This neednít be done with a fully outsourced IT service. In fact it is better not to farm-out IT support totally. What BSF should do is offer the best of both for schools. The schools should retain IT staff on site, employed by the school or LA. There should be meetings and forums setup where the LA or a single supplier would meet with school all of IT managers and agree what should be supplied and how. That way all schools can input and innovate and all schools can get on a more level playing field. Then local IT managers can liaise with the School leadership and move IT forwards in schools. Sharing best practise, ideas and knowledge can also be achieved between schools. There should also be a second level of IT support available again from a single company or LA employed that is available to schools as a technical resource working across many schools to ensure IT is being implemented in a consistent manner across the LA. If you like this level of support is your MS accredited and technical expert that the school cannot afford to employ full time.
No-one gains from outsourcing IT support and resources except the outsourcing companies who have to make a profit. So either service is cut or prices increased form initially agreed levels. IT expertise is lost form schools and local authorities. IT support and innovation becomes distant and hard to reach. IT becomes less important to schools and starts to diminish and be less innovative. The use of Open Source and other great innovative and creative services would cease to exist as we now see happening. In short IT support should not be outsourced because of BSF. BSF money should not be used as a noose around schools necks or a bribe to get schools to make bad choices.
I used to work for a company that was heavily into PFI bids and managed services. The level of detail even went down to what toilet roll was provided when taking over a building management contract and what type of mouse to use when taking over an IT facility. So the outsourcing supplier really does end up going into ridiculous details and then the company or authority is really tied to that for 5 to 10 years. That really is a big constraint. The level of details also means the outsourcing supplier then starts to increase prices when extras and changes are required (such as different soap in the toilets!) and that is where the big money is made and the LA or school ends up being forced to accept less or a service or pay more for the same service they would have got if they have not outsourced in the first place. We need to learn that PFI and BSF in its current all-or-nothing existence do not really work. So letís take the best bits of BSF and use them, and make the rest of our schools support and provision of services work for us in a positive manner.
Will no-one ever learn from mistakes from the past, or are we just destined to repeat the same mistakes. Just look at the privatised industries left by the last conservative government and this Labour government. We now pay more for poorer services. I can quote gas, electric, trains, buses, post, telecommunications etc..... These industries were sold off to raise quick funds in the short term and the long term financial and service planning was completely forgotten about. It makes me wonder if these sold off industries had remain nationalised if we would have been hit quite so bad by the current credit crunch.
I am happy in my IT management job and as my school has good IT support and provision we should be able to opt out without being penalised financially.
I totally agree with you and everyone else who has striven to exceed the limitations of their LA who themselves really haven't got a clue about delivering a first class IT service.
It is a sad day for all as you say, when the government go against the very fibre of their core policies which were made many years ago, one of them was not to privatise education, so now they are using the taxpayers money to do just that, privatise the education system.
The next item on the agenda is the full privatisation of the NHS.
The BSF process is already being used to cloak further privatisation outside education. One of the most interesting/alarming aspects of the OJEU tender that went out from my LA was that it invited responses for services outside education if cost savings could be demonstrated. It is nothing other than a process of privatisation of the local state. I suppose it's worth mentioning also that the two consortia to have responded (Bouygues and BAM) are not based in the UK - effectively ensuring that local education and possibly other local state services are run for profit by foreign multi-nationals.
Exactly and when all the capitalist states have outsourced all their major infrastructures to other foreign national countries for cheap savings and massive profits for the short term, long term will see the erosion of their whole system infrastructure which will cost 100s of billions to set back up in their own countries when the cost escalates as these foreign national companies begin to get greedy, not to forget the security of our data.
We will become a third world country dependent on handouts from foreign states.
A little like Dubai.
Oops_my_bad (8th June 2009)
Does anyone have a copy of the Villier's APBC as it no longer seems to be available?
I'm in the process of putting together an Alternate Procurement Business Case for my school and having looked through the related posts, I feel quietly confident that if steered in the right direction, I have every chance of putting forward a successful case. I anticipate full support from the HT & Governors and our school has piloted and already implemented many of LGfL's managed services, something which our LA is very keen for the chosen MSP to deliver to schools in the borough.
Signing over to the MSP will clearly not represent VFM in our case...
Any help and guidance will be most appreciated... I may need to start a new thread regarding this as I’m under no illusion as to how much work this will entail!
Hi Mike, thank ever so much for your PM, unfortunately I couldn't reply as I haven't posted enough, so I have to put it here instead! If anyone else reading this can help my plight, please do contact me as I need all the help I can get right now!!
Thank you for contacting me! It's reassuring to hear that you have been successful!!
Unfortunately I do not have the time to employ consultants before I put forward an initial case as I am meeting the headteacher and the SLT to discuss this on the first day I get back, and then I have a meeting with the MSP the day after. Basically my situation is as such that I was informed on the last day of term that the contract with the MSP was just about to be signed but firstly the head wanted me to cast an eye over our ICT Vision before it was included as something that the MSP would be tasked to deliver. I believe that they were going to use this as their strategy for change, but I am not sure...
I hadn't written this vision nor had any input on it and was horrified to see that it was mainly based around what was achievable with our MLE. We have already bought into the 'BSF' MLE and are in fact pioneers in the borough for its effective use. I had to let the head know immediately that signing over to the managed service would have little, if any, impact on the vision in its current form.
Almost everything that the managed service contract proposes, we already have - the BSF MLE, Full USO integration, the same MIS supported by the contract, uptake of the necessary core services provided by our RBC etc...
Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-managed service as I feel that for a lot of schools this is the way to go - just not in our case... For our school, moving to the managed service would mean that the majority of the capital funding would be spend on 'uniforming' our school with others in the borough (a backwards step) and this would ultimately affect the quality of teaching and learning. Our school is already one of if not the most advanced in the borough and we have invested over 1m in the last 3 years. Simply put, the capital funding will be better spent advancing what we already have rather than ripping it out and starting again!
We have most policies and procedures in place as we're at good level of maturity with our FITS implementation but obviously as things needs to be water tight, I'll need to ensure that we have absolutely everything in place!
I don't suppose that you'd be able to share any extracts from your APBC so that I know the best way to move forward? I cannot express how much this would be beneficial to our school.
Thank you very much in advance :-)
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