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BSF Thread, BSF - Email from Steve Moss in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Originally Posted by broc I think finding the evidence will take time. Not many LAs in Wave 1 and Wave ...
  1. #31

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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    Quote Originally Posted by broc
    I think finding the evidence will take time. Not many LAs in Wave 1 and Wave 2 have got to the point yet where they have 'real' numbers to look at & those that have will probably have the information locked away until contracts are awarded & the information becomes public domain.

    P4S has made BSF funding conditional on schools 'signing up' to managed ICT services. In fact many schools are being asked to sign up to managed ICT services 'in principle' based upon nothing more than the vague figures being waved about by P4S which as far as I am aware have not been substantiated by any evidence from real school costs.
    I have asked both the Help Desk Institute and itSMF for figures based on outsourced business contracts and effect they have had over 5-10 years on businesses but these will be tied in with ITIL, which is why I am hoping I can find schools that reach and are above the specified standards that the Managed Service contract winners say they will meet.

    We also must remember that irregardless of who gets involved in the LEP or in discussions at any point there are a group of people that can do the most damage or be the most help ... lawyers! Ensuring your LAs legal team have all the information when it comes to reading the contract is another important factor ... and if your Head has as much info as you can give them then that might ensure that things don't get passed over ...

    There are two other factors in all of this that we should not forget ... firstly is the political aspect ... and that is why the EDM has been important, but there is still the inter-school politics to consider. We all know (or even work at) schools that will not take advice as they are "the best in the town/area/county/world" and this will casue problems.

    The second thing is that for some schools ... moving to a managed service *will* improve facilities, reliability and have a positive impact on the teachers and students ... the fact that they may be behind the time due to funding, poor planning or just plain lack of drive may mean that there is a serious group of schools that will fight any move away from what they see as a fantastic system ... and it is hard to fault them on this ... and they must be kept informed of the whole picture.

    Any evidence of the improvements that these schools could gain would behandy too ... after all ... if you have sprain your wrist then some aspirin may seem the best thing in the world if you know no better ... but if you then show how that there are a range of other drugs ... including anti-inflammatories ... then it becomes a whole new ball game.

  2. #32

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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    So government educational bodies (QUANGO'S) who come up with these strategies for teaching and learning get to make the decision that such as myself will be cast into the ether of time without a voice to be heard except from someone who does not know their arse from their elbow about ICT (Headteachers) except what they are informed of by other so called experts (BECTA) who are another bunch of so called experts (Teacher centrics no IT expertise, just teaching experience, look on the website at the people who run it all ex teachers and headteachers).

    I honestly think that schools in the long run will end up paying far too much for their ICT managed systems and they will have to fund it or go bust as schools are no longer schools but 21st century businesses.

    I have over the past 5 years watched the school across the road change it's ICT network structure 4 times, 3 of which were managed sevices and what has become of them, they are now looking at copying our lead and taking up RMCC system, at the least they have spent around 8million and they still do not have a fit for purpose system.

    I have two children who go to a comprehensive school which was used as a government testbed and money was thrown at it approx 8.5 million and what happened i'll tell you what, they have a load of expensive equipment which is now lying in cupboards around the school because it is useless and cannot be used. They had these so called experts in and this is what became of it. These are just two exaples of managed systems that do not work.

    There is only one reason and one reason only why these government Quangoes have come up with this idea of managed ICT services and that is to line the pockets of corporate business and the taxpayer can foot the bill just so the educational department can say "hey look at us we are making radical changes to the way schools are managed and enhancing the IT structure from which the kids can learn" and the teachers who were leaving the profession in there droves will now be able to just do their thing and teach.

    As for the cost of it all, well you and me pick up the tab and they think we should be grateful! sorry not this guy, just let me know how i can get a job with one of these government quangoes (set for life). end of sermon.

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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    Another way companies who run managed services make a profit, (and hence more expense to the school) is to have a Service Level Agreement that omits any remedial work for situations such as staff/teachers etc causing a breakdown such as fiddling with equipment that they are not trained to fiddle with.

    Such call outs for this type of remedial work will be charged at an exhorbarent rate and which will be a nice litle earner for the company that wins the contract.

    How do we know this will happen? Well who is going to admit that they either fiddle with equipment rendering it useless or don't have the savvy to be able to operate said equipment.

    So when the clause is presented in the original contract no one is going to admit that this may cost the school a lot of money.

    An example will be a call out fee of say £50 plus time charged on site for ANY callout not attributed to hardware failure. i.e human error.
    Over the course of time this figure can build up to a tidy sum.

    Any guesses as to how many times a technician will be called out to your school due to 'human error' in respect t IT equipment being fiddled with??

  4. #34

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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    Quote Originally Posted by bossman
    So government educational bodies (QUANGO'S) who come up with these strategies for teaching and learning get to make the decision that such as myself will be cast into the ether of time without a voice to be heard except from someone who does not know their arse from their elbow about ICT (Headteachers) except what they are informed of by other so called experts (BECTA) who are another bunch of so called experts (Teacher centrics no IT expertise, just teaching experience, look on the website at the people who run it all ex teachers and headteachers).
    This is something I do take exception at ... if you look at who actually does the day to day investigations you will see that they are on the ball technically and have a good breadth of knowledge ... and no, they are not teacher centric ... they are education centric .. the difference being that a teacher centric gives teachers what they want ... an education centric body gives schools what they need. I have spent the last 6 years building relationships with various people at Becta and I think the above comments do a great disservice to people like Paul Stonier, Andy Gorton, Paul Shoesmith ... and there are many more there that are supportive of the work we do and understand the importance of what we do. We would not have been invited to discuss possible technical accreditation around 15 months ago (which subsequently became the FITS course run by a number of providers .. but also run by a few LAs now too) and is now being developed in the FITS training system (which still misses the educational impact of technicians ... but that is an ongoing discussion). We would not have been invited to join the Infrastructure working party ... which has set a good benchmark for infrastructure in schools and has meant that manufacturers, resellers, LAs and schools have had a chance to get together with Becta to actually have something that works ... a model that has a baseline, a 'should have' level and a 'wouldn't it be lovely if ...' level for each aspect.

    Yes ... Becta has become beauraucratic ... as all Govt agencies do in the end ... but that does not mean that the people that do the work day after day should be belittled.

    </rant>

    I honestly think that schools in the long run will end up paying far too much for their ICT managed systems and they will have to fund it or go bust as schools are no longer schools but 21st century businesses.

    I have over the past 5 years watched the school across the road change it's ICT network structure 4 times, 3 of which were managed sevices and what has become of them, they are now looking at copying our lead and taking up RMCC system, at the least they have spent around 8million and they still do not have a fit for purpose system.

    I have two children who go to a comprehensive school which was used as a government testbed and money was thrown at it approx 8.5 million and what happened i'll tell you what, they have a load of expensive equipment which is now lying in cupboards around the school because it is useless and cannot be used. They had these so called experts in and this is what became of it. These are just two exaples of managed systems that do not work.
    First we say that govt agencies aren't willing to try things out ... then we say that they take too many risks and try out too much ...

    Govts can never win ... the Test Bed idea is that a range of schools are invested in to try something ... it may be something that they already wanted to try but now they have the funding to do it.

    One of the reasons this methodology is used is because it is part of research completed by academics ... people at universities that are seconded to agencies to perform research. yes, these are people that might not be switched on to schools but they generally pick things up very fast about what they can get away with and what they can't.

    No matter how we look at it the Govt has to be accountable for money it spends ... if it wants to take a different direction in the use of technology it is expected to have evidence that it will work ... so they fund research, backed by people that can do the research ... they will not just give extra money to schools and say 'try stuff out' and we all know that the money would be creamed off to pay for staffing, for building repairs or whatever the Head thinks is best ... that is life ... and that is what has happened when they funded things outside of research projects.

    There is only one reason and one reason only why these government Quangoes have come up with this idea of managed ICT services and that is to line the pockets of corporate business and the taxpayer can foot the bill just so the educational department can say "hey look at us we are making radical changes to the way schools are managed and enhancing the IT structure from which the kids can learn" and the teachers who were leaving the profession in there droves will now be able to just do their thing and teach.
    I wish this was the case ... you have said yourself that you have an RM CC solution that you look after in-house ... extrapolate that to putting such middleware in all schools as there is clear evidence that it works ... they look at the idea of sharing workload and expertise across schools ... and you have a managed service as produced by many LAs. Then take into account that there is little point including the LA as all they do is cream a bit off for themselves to fund their 'advisors' ... make the advisors work for a living and give the money directly to the company producing the middleware.

    As for the cost of it all, well you and me pick up the tab and they think we should be grateful! sorry not this guy, just let me know how i can get a job with one of these government quangoes (set for life). end of sermon.
    Be careful that you don't wish too hard ... there is a shelf life to all of this ... and it will be around 10 years before the next *major* change ... but there will be change ... that is the nature of Govts. Yes ... you do make a number of valid points, albeit with a strong dose of cynicism and worry about your job ... and I can't blame you for that ... but BSF is not going to go away ... we are at the damage limitation point now and trying to ensure that things are put in place to safegaurd jobs, keep high standards of support in schools ... and to make sure that nothing happens that fsks things up for the kids.

  5. #35

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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    GrumbleDook: I have in no way belittled those peole you have mentioned, what i have said is to the point what everybody else is thinking. I have every respect for people such as you and the others you liase with, but we mere mortals know that the government is pushing this forward with a lot of weight behind it and it has gained momentum so there is no stopping it until it runs out of funding.

    Like so many other government schemes and this is what they are, dreamed up in these ivory towers by people who really have little else to do it is purely political spin to gain votes but it is the little people that pay the price.

    I apologise if i have in any way shape or form offended anybody other than those intended and GrumbleDook and the likes you are not one of these. If they are reading this they know who they are.

    we cannot as you say stop this BSF but we can go down kicking and screaming in our quiet definitive techie way.

    And GrumbleDook just a question? do you not get cynical from time to time just a little

  6. #36

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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    Absolutely agree
    I think starting up your own 'consultancy'and telling the local schools what they 'need' as far as IT is concerned, putting it in at vastly inflated prices and then collecting a huge fee and running - is the best way to go.
    How about 'ConsultaGeek'
    We could charge a fortune!

  7. #37
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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    Quote Originally Posted by Grommit
    Whilst we all know of horror stories of Network Managers having all the power in a school and refusing to compromise this is rarely the case,
    Now this is the standard urban legend to strike fear into HeadTeachers to take Managed Services...
    Nope .. not an urban legend ... and if you notice I did mention that this is rarely the case.
    I know.. but this was raised as one of the plusses for Managed services, as well as the fear factor of "What happens if your Network Manager is knocked down by a car!!"

    Thanks for your figures from earlier ... I need to check that the per head value is correct for the present wave in England as £95 per head per year is a little low ... is that over 5 or 10 years? I have the same figure as Broc ... £1450 per student, which still comes out as £145 each year.

    Do you know if any money was creamed off before you got those figures?
    This was from S*****... they had the higher number then came back with the "adjusted" figure as there were gasps of shock from the SLT when they mentioned the first yearly figure.

    I also hear the London Underground want to bring the Support and Services back in-house as the Private Partnership Managed Services are a failure

  8. #38

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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    WITCH: Just like the managed services eh!! :twisted: 8)

  9. #39

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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    Quote Originally Posted by alexknight
    Another way companies who run managed services make a profit, (and hence more expense to the school) is to have a Service Level Agreement that omits any remedial work for situations such as staff/teachers etc causing a breakdown such as fiddling with equipment that they are not trained to fiddle with.

    Such call outs for this type of remedial work will be charged at an exhorbarent rate and which will be a nice litle earner for the company that wins the contract.

    How do we know this will happen? Well who is going to admit that they either fiddle with equipment rendering it useless or don't have the savvy to be able to operate said equipment.

    So when the clause is presented in the original contract no one is going to admit that this may cost the school a lot of money.

    An example will be a call out fee of say £50 plus time charged on site for ANY callout not attributed to hardware failure. i.e human error.
    Over the course of time this figure can build up to a tidy sum.

    Any guesses as to how many times a technician will be called out to your school due to 'human error' in respect t IT equipment being fiddled with??
    Another method, apparently, will be not to include training on new systems ... or only to have minimal training ... so there is the increased likelihood of things going wrong ... incurring engineer costs. This is likely to be something raised on the NCSL BSF awareness course ... to write into the contract training time by technical staff to ensure noone makes 'huma error' mistakes ...

    Another thing to demand is that the hardware (BIOS, etc) passwords are stored with the LA so that if a company goes under or if there is breakdown in the contractual agreement the school can take ownership of all systems. Likewise there should be a backdoor user account to each school so that LAs (or appointed people) can take control if there is a breakdown in contractual agreements.

    Any more suggestions to limit damage? I have been told that *no* CDs/DVDs will be stored on-site to allow staff to rebuild systems from scratch should they not be happy ... likewise it is likely that should any school take complete control and build a new system with the provided hardware (ie wipe it all and build a vanilla system) then it will invalidate warranties and no further support will be available ... even to the point of financial penalties.

    A suggestion would be to have a virtual lab for trying things out as well as agreements that the school leads innovations ... trying new hardware and software ... allowing them to try things out instead of just accepting what was written into a contract 3 years previously. There will be chances to review the service and negotiate additional requirements ... but at an additional cost ... this is somethign that has to be built-in from the start so it doesn't come back to bite schools.

  10. #40

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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    Tony is right, we are stuck with BSF whether we like it or not.

    Picking up on something said earlier .....

    "First we say that govt agencies aren't willing to try things out ... then we say that they take too many risks and try out too much ..."

    I agree Absolutely.... my only problem is that Govt (local and National) is in general too conservative and too slow to react, and by the time they decide to implement something or head off in a particular direction everyone else has tried it; found it doesn't work, and has moved on to something else

    Many large organisations have tried 'one size fits all' & outsourcing & have gone back to running things in-house, having learned from their mistakes. Now it is our turn......

    If you think about it, it's a bit like teenagers; how many of us as parents have seen our children making the same mistakes as we made a generation earlier, and despite us warning them they do it anyway?

  11. #41

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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    Quote Originally Posted by bossman
    I have over the past 5 years watched the school across the road change it's ICT network structure 4 times, 3 of which were managed sevices and what has become of them, they are now looking at copying our lead and taking up RMCC system, at the least they have spent around 8million and they still do not have a fit for purpose system.
    Aren't RM one of the ones bidding / involved in BSF? You have to bear in mind that a lot of the companies WE all use are part of BSF. RM, Ramesys, M$, etc. They all make a profit off us anyway.

    Yes I agree it's not perfect, and I would MUCH prefer an in-house ICT Team that I manage, rather than my techs "TUPE" over to somebody else, but we have to be realistic. The government isnt going to just throw it's money away without knowing where it's going, hense the research and a managed system with set processes creates accountability.

    As for worrying about your job, there are a number of options that will open, you will either "tupe" over to managed service providor, be given a new role in school, i.e. database admin / ICT trainer, or your LA will move you to another directorate, or you will decide to move on yourself.

    There will be some issues for the school though, at the moment we as an ICT dept are responsible for: All ICT facilities and equipment, PA System, Stage Lighting. If / when BSF is implemented only the ICT things will be ours, there will be no more, well you have to do it because of the "other duties" clause in contract, because it will be the managed services employees.

  12. #42

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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    10 ways in which a Managed Services Provider can 'take advantage' of a Managed Services client, in no particular order:

    1 ) keep the contract content to a minimum, keep as much detail out of it as you can so you can ask for more money to do anything outside the contract.
    2 ) standardise the specs for all devices, software, configurations so you can charge more for 'variations'
    3 ) minimise planned/scheduled changes, so you don't get the blame when you change things & they go wrong. Also means you can charge more when the client requests changes that are not part of contract
    4 ) Provide as little Documentation, Information & Training as you can up front, so you can keep the client in the dark & lower their skill levels & increase dependency upon your services. Remember Knowledge is Power!
    5 ) Make sure your (managed services) staff give nothing away. Every request for assistance, information etc has to be logged & checked to see if it is within the scope of the contract before being acted upon.
    6 ) Limit service hours, so you can charge more for anything out of hours
    7 ) Offer your (managed services) staff a bonus for identifying & 'selling' additional opportunities to charge the client for services.
    8 ) Always assume the problem/request/action is not part of the contract, is chargeable & leave it up to the client to argue otherwise.
    9 ) Repair or replace defective equipment based upon the lowest cost to you. Re-cycle equipment/spares between clients to keep your costs as low as possible.
    10 ) Keep your staff costs down, use short term contract staff if possible.


    I am sure there are more, but these are ones I have seen in action in a former 'life'.

  13. #43
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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee_K_81

    Aren't RM one of the ones bidding / involved in BSF? You have to bear in mind that a lot of the companies WE all use are part of BSF. RM, Ramesys, M$, etc. They all make a profit off us anyway.
    RM have won 80% of the BSF ICT Contracts so far

    Yes I agree it's not perfect, and I would MUCH prefer an in-house ICT Team that I manage, rather than my techs "TUPE" over to somebody else, but we have to be realistic. The government isnt going to just throw it's money away without knowing where it's going, hense the research and a managed system with set processes creates accountability.

    As for worrying about your job, there are a number of options that will open, you will either "tupe" over to managed service providor, be given a new role in school, i.e. database admin / ICT trainer, or your LA will move you to another directorate, or you will decide to move on yourself.
    So far approx 50% of the in-house staff have been TUPED, sometimes some staff are retained in different roles, the rest are retrenched

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook

    The second thing is that for some schools ... moving to a managed service *will* improve facilities, reliability and have a positive impact on the teachers and students ... the fact that they may be behind the time due to funding, poor planning or just plain lack of drive may mean that there is a serious group of schools that will fight any move away from what they see as a fantastic system ... and it is hard to fault them on this ... and they must be kept informed of the whole picture.
    All I would like to see is an option on not being forced to take managed services..

    One of my ideas would be.... If the school wants to keep in-house the County could employ a couple of Uber Geek Consultants that will go from school to school consulting with the Network Managers making sure Best Practice" is being used and advising on Disaster Recovery, Backups, Apple etc.... as well as advising on innovations in the Education ICT field..

    Plus the Network Manager would have a Highly Skilled ICT Consultant who he could bounce ideas off of and maybe improve his or her skills

  14. #44
    richard
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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    I have been following this discussion with interest as well as all the BSF stuff in general as I have no real ways of getting info about it down here in Kent. I work at present at 2 schools 1 junior and 1 secondary.

    From what I can tell when BSF does happen I will more than likeley loose my job at the junior school as it is too small to justify having someone on site all the time. At the secondary school I have a Network Manager above me and depending on what happens I may well end up being offered a position by whoever wins the contract but to be honest the fact of working for alot of these companies doesn't appeal to me, in fact there is only one company I would consider working but the chances of them actually getting the contract for Kent are not that great.

    So it look like I will have to bite the bullet and seriously look at leaving education all together. This not something I want to do but it looks like I will have no choice.

  15. #45

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    Re: BSF - Email from Steve Moss

    Quote Originally Posted by Grommit
    All I would like to see is an option on not being forced to take managed services..

    One of my ideas would be.... If the school wants to keep in-house the County could employ a couple of Uber Geek Consultants that will go from school to school consulting with the Network Managers making sure Best Practice" is being used and advising on Disaster Recovery, Backups, Apple etc.... as well as advising on innovations in the Education ICT field..

    Plus the Network Manager would have a Highly Skilled ICT Consultant who he could bounce ideas off of and maybe improve his or her skills
    Would the idea of accreditation to a specified level against the Becta Technical Competencies appeal to you then? Something with shows to what standard you *can* work ... and is not platform specific but based on ability? Network Managers in schools should be at least level C ... preferrably level D.

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