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East Midlands Broadband Consortium (EMBC) Thread, EMBC - whether to move away or not? in Regional Broadband Consortiums (RBC); [QUOTE=sjb;807264]Have received an email from the LA quoting things I have said (anonymously) on Edugeek,QUOTE] Well that sounds a bit ...
  1. #61
    Gibson335's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=sjb;807264]Have received an email from the LA quoting things I have said (anonymously) on Edugeek,QUOTE]
    Well that sounds a bit sinister!?!?

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    I had the same .. I got an email from our local LA quoting things that I had posted on this forum ... They even quoted the source !!! Its a shame that we cannot air our views/technical problems without fear !!! Beware big brother is here !!!

  3. #63
    Gibson335's Avatar
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    As far as I can recall, there's been nothing libelous, no release of confidential information (unless suddenly costs we pay are confidential), only opinions and hard facts and figures. Is anyone really suggesting this is fine when it comes to providers and suppliers, but not our Broadband service, just because of any LA interest? I'm not blaming the person who withdrew their posts, not if they were made to feel somewhat fearful of the consequences, I'm blaming the people who seem to think it's their role to monitor these threads and fire out e-mails on the matter. There has been a fair amount of protectiveness and steering throughout this entire process, and as far as I can see that only leads to disharmony.

  4. #64

    localzuk's Avatar
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    It is highly inappropriate for any LA to send emails in that way, as they do not have any direct say in what a school is doing, and discussions about providers are entirely up to the schools and its staff. That kind of behaviour by an LA is bullying, and could verge on breaking rules on competition within the marketplace!

    I'd be getting my head teacher to complain directly to the division head at the LA for such behaviour if it happened here, and it would also sully any possible future custom of their services - because, remember, the LA are simply a commercial provider to schools now, just like Virgin Media would be, or BT.

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    Can we just pause a second to reflect without jumping to any accusations of bullying? Without knowing all the facts to start spouting things is neither fair or could actually be just as bad as what others are being accused of.

    Please remember that different LAs operate different models and buying back services does not always mean that LAs are just a commercial provider the same as anyone else, whether you believe that should be the case or otherwise ...

    It is also fair to say that members might, on occasion, but up what they believe to be the facts when they don't have the full picture. If an LA, another school or a commercial company get in toouch with that member, on or off edugeek (remembering that for many communication has to be via formal channels) then this is *not* trying to bypass EduGeek or not doing things publicly. It is how communications might be set up for that LA and this will vary across the country.

    If, on reflection of more facts, the member thinks that the comments might not be a true reflection, or of that member's boss thinks that it might not be a fair representation or might affect other factors and relationships that the school has then yes, a member might remove or change a post or be instructed to change or remove a post ... after all, even on this site you are a public and professional reflection of your school and this has ramifications about what you post. This is neither bullying nor anti-competitive, and what you post online in communities (professional or otherwise) is one of the examples given at the recent eSafety Live conference.

  6. #66

    localzuk's Avatar
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    I think you have missed my meaning.

    Sending an email to people, quoting things they've said on a public forum is, to me bullying or at the least 'strong arming' tactics. It is a public forum, so quoting them is like quoting what someone overheard in a pub. The fact someone above says they find it a shame that they can't discuss things without fear, after saying they received an email from the LA shows that they consider it wrong too.

    And also, I'm a little confused about what you say about operating a different model. Every school in the UK whether it is a LA school, academy or trust school etc... has autonomy to choose who they get their email, internet, MIS provision, web hosting and more from - this is according to EU rules, enforced within UK law. So, they can choose someone else therefore the LA is in fact a commercial provider. It won't be operating for profit, and it might be using groups of schools to balance costs to each, but it is still a commercial provider as schools are paying for services.

    So, as a school has that autonomy to choose, they also have the right to discuss the services provided, and alternatives, and should do without fear of their current provider emailing them quoting what they're saying. Sure, if you want to discuss the issues people are having etc... then contact and arrange a meeting to ask them what their problems are and discuss, but don't go using what they've said on a public forum!

    The fact that you can't see that is inappropriate also somewhat shocks me.

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    You're entitled to your opinion - and that's all it is - just like anyone else. In my opinion the whole thing comes across as just a bit sinister and smacks of censorship. I might not go as far as describing it as bullying, but I defend the right of someone else having that opinion and airing it. Now, if EduGeek decide it's not something they can allow to run, then that's one thing - they provide the platform. But beyond that, this is surely a place for opinions to be viewed and debated rather than being 'managed'.

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    @localzuk
    I feel you are mis-reading and mis-representing what I am saying. My comment about different LAs operating differently specifically mentions buyback, where a school or groups of schools may operate within a contract which may or may not include services such as provision of email, connectivity, etc. Whether this is the case or not in this case is not the point, but there are LAs within this region who do so. If a school wants to operate outside of that agreement, basically paying extra, then that can have repurcussions on services, etc. This is still operating within UK and EU procurement law and I have not said anything to said that this should not be followed.

    You are also mis-representing the relationship and LA and a school has, which will also vary from LA to LA. As the manager of a contract on behalf of schools (they are not a commercial supplier, there is a difference) an LA might seek to ensure that there information which is put out on a public forum is validated, and if they discuss that with the school outside of the public forum it is likely to keep in practice with established communication policies, which are unlikely to involve a public forum such as EduGeek.

    I have split my accounts to try to show this now but other LAs might have stronger rules to adhere to.

    We also have to remember that views and opinions posted in public forums can and may reflect your professional representation of your employer.

    I also think that this would be better as a separate thread if we want to discuss the relationship of schools and LAs.

    @TonyJF having had conversations previously about how or why LAs might discuss things directly with EduGeek (who have kindly agreed to my split personality now) I would only expect it to be for the most serious of matters for them to get directly involved and didn't even begin to presume that it was teh Mods / Admins who had done anything ... but personally I would leave the discussion around it for the moment until the member in question makes a response or the Mods / Admins do, otherwise we get into all sorts of rumour or conjecture.

  9. #69

    localzuk's Avatar
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    I think we're going to have to agree to disagree here Tony. The government, to me, has been very clear on the relationships that schools should be having with their LAs now, especially with things like the the push to academise schools. I am not misrepresenting what you're saying, I am just amazed that you hold those views in light of the way schools operate and in light of the way schools are required to get best value. Buy back is, once again, simply a service provided to the schools for a cost. Sure, 'maintained' schools often don't have any choice about which items within a package they can use, as the package is designed to balance the costs for all users within the LA, and to use an external provider will cost more to them, but it is still a commercial decision that the school will make (which is why many schools move away from their RBC provided connections even though they cost more).

    Your comment about information dissemination and validating it doesn't make much sense to me - you are coming at it from the opposite angle to how the forum is being used. People are asking questions and getting responses based on individual experiences on the forum. That is not related to the official information, policies or contracts that the LA might have in place in my view - if something is incorrect, then feel free on the forum to say it is incorrect - you don't even have to say why or how it is, and people can then contact you for information directly etc... But emailing the people who posted has obviously caused issues here, with at least 2 users.

    So, as I said, it seems we have to agree to disagree.

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    In my view, anything that anybody wants to take issue with a subject that is aired on a public forum should also publish on the same forum thier views. This business of a private email to the person is definatly big bother tactics as it is aimed at isolating that person.

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    I shall hasten to point out that there is no confirmation of wrongdoing by any party here. The user involved hasn't stated the LA would like them to quieten down, for all we know they've pointed the user to their relevant department and is now being helped there.

  12. #72
    sjb
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    Didn't mean to cause such a controversy! Just to clarify, I haven't been asked to remove or edit any posts either by the LA or the school, but decided on reflection to remove them myself. I have not posted anything I don't believe to be true, or anything that criticises any individual or organisation, including the posts I removed, but I don't want to cause any unnecessary trouble for myself or my school so am erring on the side of caution. That's all I want to say publicly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjb View Post
    Didn't mean to cause such a controversy! Just to clarify, I haven't been asked to remove or edit any posts either by the LA or the school, but decided on reflection to remove them myself. I have not posted anything I don't believe to be true, or anything that criticises any individual or organisation, including the posts I removed, but I don't want to cause any unnecessary trouble for myself or my school so am erring on the side of caution. That's all I want to say publicly.
    Seems perfectly reasonable. I think the lines have become crossed here during both these threads. For my part, the issue was always about you being sent mail in reference to your comments on here which, to me, were not at all contentious. My concern was not for what happened afterwards, necessarily, because those details were not known, but rather for the circumstances surrounding these threads being scrutinised and someone acting on them that way. Frankly, the thought of having to be guarded when just offering genuine opinions of such a mild nature disturbs me enormously. But I guess these threads will be the cyber version of chip wrapping by next week anyway.

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    I personally don't care who reads my posts but I could do with suppliers telling me the facts rather than trying to confuse me with silly details! All I want to be able to do is give my boss the best information I can and at the moment I not getting any straight answers! I still don't know who to recommend, I am fed up with different suppliers rubbishing each other, with not being told the whole truth when it comes to which supplier will offer which service and with not having any real unbiased advise from anyone! I'm beginning to feel the pressure of responsiblity a little too much to handle, especially when Im not employed for this *%&!!! I'm sorry if my tone upsets anyone, thats not my intention. Maybe I'm naive in thinking theres honest suppliers out there, who like me want the best deal for my school

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    You have to treat them like any other business and assume they're only after one thing which is your school's money, which unfortunately puts the onus on you somewhat to do all the digging and dirty work. Thankfully you *are* more than free to post questions, recommendations, warnings etc here. It's a horrible thing to have to suggest, implying that they're not interested in being honest but they do exist to make money. They are obliged however to tell you the truth in marketing and when they come to see you to sell their wares, it doesn't mean they always will (I won't hesitate in pointing out one of the big contenders we've had ending in -E told a very big porky to us face to face and lost any hope with us for that very reason)

    One of our local schools (@wagnerk 's in fact) has cobbled together an email to all our county bursars with a few more details and suggesting collaborative buying - we're already down this route between 9 or 10 of our own secondaries and supported primaries and we can get increased discount with even more with 2 of the favoured suppliers. Pricing is already favourable without it but with budgets being as they are, anything we can do to help will make a lot of difference. We were actually surprised to have our RM account manage pop in with a proposal late last week; they have by far the best price already (offset a little by the product) and they managed to top it by a *lot* if we could get some other schools involved.

    Keep your eyes open, keep collaboration in mind and keep proactive. Don't worry about upsetting suppliers. Don't worry about your LA "sticking their nose in" because if they do, it's generally going to be for good reason; although ours has stepped away almost if not entirely, maybe yours has done some deal-making of their own they may wish to privately inform you of. Help is always there.
    Last edited by synaesthesia; 27th March 2012 at 07:38 AM.

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