And you can do a 24/7 365 help desk... just get an answering machine :-)
Once again ... a quick dip into the waters to clarify things.
All BSF contracts have exit strategies for the various services. It is a crucial part of the bidding process. This includes transfer of ownership of assets to the LA or to the new company (if the managed contracts are taken up by another company). This also includes transfer of staffing (again, under TUPE) and numerous legal and financial constraints.
The paperwork is in legalese. Most of these large contracts are and you are at the mercy of the LA legal team to decipher it all. IMportant things for your school to ask about include:
Ownership of IT Equipment - even with the kit in the central server farm it has to be paid for. If the hardware is paid for by the contract then the LA / school own the hardware no matter where it is. Some companies will have the contract worded so they sell the service on the hardware, eg Citrix. There is a difference.
Transfer of ownership - THe contract is usually for 5 years ... this is 5 years before you can get out of it. This means that in 3 years the LA should be deciding whether to continue or replace the service provider. This can take some time but sufficient time needs to be allowed to go through an EU procurement process for a replacement. As part of the exit strategy the transfer of ownership of hardware needs to be carefully defined, including whether the new contractor will take ownership of the assets or whether they will use their own equipment and pay a decommissioning fee to the outgoing contractor.
Transfer of data - the contract will also include the management of certain types of data. Should the contract be stopped and IT picked up by the school or another contractor there needs to be clear and concise rules about the migration of existing data (user details, emails, configuration settings for hardware / software, files) to the new service. There may be costs involved in this so once a service provider is dropped you may find the school or LA being charged to get their data back. Usually this is rolled into the cost to the new service provider but YMMV. A clear outline of costs and methodology of this is needed in the initial contract.
Exit strategies are the bane of LA contracts. Because these contracts are for several years the rules about exit strategies can change so what you think should have been learnt from previous contracts is not actually relevant.
As a school you should ensure that there is sufficient representation when looking at the fine print of the contracts and that people are asking the right questions about it all.
Right ... Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, don't look around my eyes, look into my eyes, you're under. I have not been back here and I am a figment of your imagination. Three, two, one ... you're back in the room!
As with VLE's, BSF is negotiated at the LA level. We were consulted prior to VLE provision, we told the LA what we required and we didn't get it because the majority of smaller or failing schools were happy. As Broc mentioned, schools will have little input to BSF.
I know of a LA where school governors are desperately trying to get ICT back in-house when not even a year has passed under the Managed Service Contract.... Yet all their servers were stripped out and they have nothing to fall back on..
and it's the same old story about the managed service contract... Loss of control, Loss of freedom, massive costs, cost's involved when it was free before, stupid helpdesks and timescale of simple repairs.. etc etc
any body going to the
Learning Platforms Strategy Group (Martineau, 16th Dec)?
anouncement being made about bidder for BSF
looks like the decision has been delayed until 12th january