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General Chat Thread, BSF - or outsourcing by another name in General; StewartKnight asks why don't they consider outsourcing admin staff etc. I believe the BSF 'model' which includes PFI allows the ...
  1. #16

    broc's Avatar
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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    StewartKnight asks why don't they consider outsourcing admin staff etc. I believe the BSF 'model' which includes PFI allows the outsourcing of ALL so called 'soft services' ie non-teaching roles. I guess the reason admin is out of the frame is because it is not sufficiently profitable for an outsourcing company to consider. I have yet to see a business case within BSF which supports the idea of outsourcing ICT. I suspect it is being driven by ICT suppliers who know there is less and less profit in shifting tin these days, services is where the money is.

    This outsourcing threat does not only affect the school based staff, it will have an impact on any centralised LEA ICT support organisations too. My school has a support contract with our LEA for Admin systems, 2nd level server support and some networking infrastructure. I cannot see this surviving. They also support the primaries, I wonder what would happen to them if the LEA ICT service is privatised?

    If you are not in a union, join. Talk to your Headteacher, colleagues at other schools, in other LEAs.

    Brian

  2. #17

    russdev's Avatar
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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    I agree thing to remeber is this is not going to go away not at moment so as advice talk to people make sure your views are heard by people that matter...

    Make sure that you are involed in planning stages...

    Talk and talk and more talk...

    Russ

  3. #18

    beeswax's Avatar
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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    BSF - Is that Building Schools for the Future? Stop giggling at the back!

    beeswax

  4. #19

    russdev's Avatar
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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    yes it is

    Russell

  5. #20

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    Yep ... not to be confused with BSF ... which is the British Schools Foundation (more commonly known as the British Schools & Universities Foundation which help with funding for schools in Britian and the Commonwealth by giving tax perks to US donators.)

    and not to be confused with BSE, BSA, BSM, BDSM or many others.

  6. #21

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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    I'm a member of Unison, and had a letter today saying they're coming in to the school for a non-teaching staff drop-in day next week to do with BSF. Should be fun

  7. #22

    beeswax's Avatar
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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    Quote Originally Posted by webman
    I'm a member of Unison, and had a letter today saying they're coming in to the school for a non-teaching staff drop-in day next week to do with BSF. Should be fun :)
    This is some way off in my part of the world, but I'd be grateful if you could let me know the gist of what you decide.


    beeswax

  8. #23

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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    I started this thread a few weeks ago....... it now looks like some LEAs may be looking at 'outsourcing' ICT provision themselves under BSF.

    To help consider the +/- of this I have 3 questions for those of you who work in secondary schools:

    1) what would be the benefits/impacts of relocating all of the servers in your school to a centralised server farm managed by your LEA?

    2) If the LEA were to centralise procurement of ICT equipment, would your school be better off or worse off?

    3) If you and all of your ICT technical support colleagues at your school were to become employees of an LEA centralised ICT service so you could become 'more' flexible and be deployed across any school, would this be a good or bad thing?

    If possible, reasoned technical arguments for/against would be good!

    Brian

  9. #24

    russdev's Avatar
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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    hmm interesting give me weekend to think about it...

    russ

  10. #25

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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    Based on my time with a state school, then working for an independant I would answer as follow.
    If a server failed, how quickly will the LEA bring it back up? Will they want huge maintance contracts? A lot of schools in my area are trying to ditch them, and when you get a client / server setup they try and sell you higher support contracts, costing thousands more a year. How much control would we have over the servers - Makes, Models, Software, Hardware base etc....

    Procurement - Again the County school I was in used to rely on them, and when the head saw that he could get a HP LJ1200 cheaper by £60 from PC world from an Ad in the Saturday paper, even taking into account driving to and from the local PC world etc it would still be a big saving. They claim (or in my area) that they are the cheapest around, and save us the hard work and guarentee best value, but when challenged with hard proof like quotes for the same products, service levels etc they always say they may have hidden costs, or not be reliable, or dodgy goods (that comes from the team that supplied my a "new" HP LJ4000 about 5 years ago that comes from "HP" with 70,000 prints out of it already!)
    So its a bad thing completely in my view. The local LEA has been agreements in place with Dell, but when you get down to the actual machines specs, they are always the old models, they could not get the current range of desktops or servers, and thats why the costs were good as it was always the end of line stuff. The new stuff pricing they got, when it was got was always way out and silly prices.
    Allow schools to build there own relationships with distributors as a lot are keen to get a good relationship with schools, and some are listening to people like us about what we want from a supplier to make us A use them more and B help us out when we need a helping hand (eg offering Imaging free, offering to send staff to unpack and plug in for us etc.... in most cases at very little cost or even nothing, and I know that if I am pushed, one of my suppliers would probably supply me a member of there team to come and help me out for a day so long as I got the machines from them.

    As for employement, having the chance of a wide range of schools / system could be viewed in 2 ways, in 1 sense, its a good thing, wider range of systems, setups, seeing how others do it etc. but, if you were not in the same place often enough then you may not get tasks finished to the end before someone else takes over etc.... You would also maybe not build up a high quality relationship with the staff at the school, so they may not feel they can "open up to you" as it were about little niggle issues.

  11. #26
    u8dmtm's Avatar
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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    In my experience, at least for secondary schools LEA support is a bad thing. Most schools in our area have moved away from LEA support, especially for curriculum side issues because:

    - Centralised LEA support is inflexible and slow
    - Centralised LEA support staff don't understand or have the authority to respond to the individual needs of a given school
    - A one size fits all approach to equipment and setup is attempted and then fails to deliver to any schools needs.

    Going back to LEA controlled IT provision would be a disaster for schools - something most schools in our area would hate because they are reaping the rewards of doing things for themselves:

    - Better equipment, cheaper and based on the needs of the school
    - Better, on-site support that understands school needs and works for the school not for some faceless SLA manager.
    - You can employ a team of highly skilled support staff at a school for less than the cost of full SLA cover.
    - Servers should be on-site

    The whole idea of outsourcing IT from schools to either LEA or private enterprise is ridiculous anyway - think how much money is being put into paying profits and setting up these arrangements which could instead by spent on upgrading school infrastrucutre directly.

  12. #27

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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    Surely the reality of outsourcing won’t be that support staff are needed to perform the invaluable role of developing the use of IT within the school. The provision of IT will essentially be proscribed by the government (well, its QUANGOs) via its appointment of external organisations to oversee its deployment. To be honest, I think it’s pie in the sky thinking to assume that our roles in a school will be invaluable and we’ll all end up on SLT. In reality we’ll likely have no more choice about how to use IT equipment in the curriculum than we have a real choice over whether or not to use SIMS. All that will be needed in a school is a low-paid support staff worker who fixes simple problems and points out where the new computers, IWBs and network equipment are to be installed when the workmen turn up. I already know of one large secondary school where this is essentially the case. The role of the on-site IT support is basically to order printer consumables and report faults, and presumably to turn up at a teacher or pupil’s desk for basic technical support.

    If, as school IT support and development staff we really want to keep our jobs as they are – i.e. In an advisory and developmental capacity - we need to affirm our successes. Stories about school servers going down for 2 weeks are absurd and the result of an obscene lack of professionalism. We need to counter these minority cases with a highly professional attitude. I honestly think that proscribed IT systems delivered by large, faceless entities are not the way forward. Innovation will suffer as a result. I think good IT development staff in a school are invaluable

    The question is “how can we make ourselves appear more professional”? Clubbing together to create a united image via this site is a superb idea. However, I think a change of site name would be a good start. I don’t think “Edugeek” really does us any favours. In fact, maybe I’m in a minority, but I’d actually be embarrassed to tell any members of staff in school how invaluable the “Edugeek” site is! . Without wishing to cause offence, I think we need to look a little more professional. That’s not to say that the people who post here are not professional….merely to point out that the name, the devil’s horns and the silly avatars don’t create a good public image, fun though they are.

  13. #28

    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    I don’t think “Edugeek” really does us any favours. In fact, maybe I’m in a minority, but I’d actually be embarrassed to tell any members of staff in school how invaluable the “Edugeek” site is! . Without wishing to cause offence, I think we need to look a little more professional. That’s not to say that the people who post here are not professional….merely to point out that the name, the devil’s horns and the silly avatars don’t create a good public image, fun though they are.
    I would beg to differ there. We are mentioned and talked of far and wide and in some quite high places too. When I chose the name I did so because it was impersonal and approchable, just as we need to be. At the moment I feel there are already far to many 'professional' bodies and standards all competing to make perople 'certified' to whateverlevel they claim is the best whilst asking them to part with money for the privilege. Calling ourselves something like 'The Association of British Educational IT Professionals' would instantly slam lots of doors in our face and make us seem unreachable to the very people who need our help. Besides we are know a know 'brand'. Just try Googling for us and see the results. We are not going to throw that away. Marathon, Snickers anyone?

    P.S. My view od BSF is one of an open mind, althought I do thnk that it will be similar to the regional grids for learning scheme. Some grids are good, some excellent, and some steaming piles of dog cack.I think BSF will be no different. It all depends on how good the LEA's IT people who read and sign the contracts are.

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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box
    I would beg to differ there. We are mentioned and talked of far and wide and in some quite high places too. When I chose the name I did so because it was impersonal and approchable.
    Well, naturally, it makes people here sound like geeks which is an image that the IT industry has spent years trying to shake off. Personally, I don't want to be "humoured". All I can say is that when I have mentioned the name "edugeek" to people, they've sniggered in an "oh dear" kind of way. And that's not because I've provoked that kind of response.

    just as we need to be. At the moment I feel there are already far to many 'professional' bodies and standards all competing to make perople 'certified' to whateverlevel
    Yes, that's possibly true, but not wanting to be labelled as a "geek" in a comedy way doesn't necessarily mean you want to create another "professional" body with various qualifications and subscription fees. There is a middle way I'm sure.

    I don't want to detract from the idea behind site at all, I think it's a brilliant idea and in fact it's something I was looking into setting up myself before this site came along. I just really don't like the "geek" thing. Whether I want to be associated with this site or not, I feel the name and initial impression is portraying my chosen profession in a bad light. Getting a mention in high places is not the same as getting respect in high places. Sorry to be negative....

  15. #30

    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: BSF - or outsourcing by another name

    @Thomas: Don't mention the name to people if you don't like it... I think that the impersonal view that it portrays is vital to the success of the site.



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