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General Chat Thread, BSF - Uh? in General; I hope people here will excuse my ignorance but can I ask what exactly BSF entails? I know I could ...
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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    BSF - Uh?

    I hope people here will excuse my ignorance but can I ask what exactly BSF entails? I know I could Google it and read what the official line is, but I wonder if someone can take me to one site and explain.

    In ordinary terms I seem to think that it is removing ICT from the schools control and putting it under the control of external companies who in turn employ the school technicians.

    Is that a bit vague and a little bit naive?

    We went back into the LEA and have a sort of managed service - but have retained control of our "in school" network. We still have our ICT Technician.

    As you know we are in Wales so do not have BSF as such - which is why I wish to understand what exactly you guys out there are facing.

    Cheers

    Gareth

    (Also annoyed that we didn't have those software vouchers the other year - cannot remember what they were called).

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    BSF is a government programme to rebuild and renovate UK schools. This may also include a managed service if your being made into an academy. In this case you will be TUPED to a external contractor (they have to by law) and then work for this company instead of the school. But you may still work in the school, after all they will need technical staff.

    What is BSF? - Learning 21 - Building schools for the future
    Teachernet, Building Schools for the Future

    My team and I are going through this now, we saw the outline staffing structure of the new academy today and so far looks good for us but the sponsors do not know if they are signing upto the managed service which is planned for a 2011 start, at which point we will be TUPPED again to the managed service provider. So from the looks of it we're safe for a few more years yet.
    Last edited by mcloum; 18th March 2009 at 11:21 PM.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcloum View Post
    This may also include a managed service if your being made into an academy.
    Not just if you're becoming an academy. Every school involved will be going to a managed service unless they can provide an alternative proposal - which so far only a couple have done, and I don't believe any have been successful.

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    IanT's Avatar
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    I've been into a few new schools and had a Interview a few weeks back for a new school in hackney.......they are not going over to a Managed Service - NOT all school are going to the managed service fully.

    The new school I interviewed at have a ICT contractor supplying the kit....supporting it for 4 years....and then going but at the same time they will help build the in-house IT team.

    If u do go for a interview into a new school or old, I always ask is the school got plan or going into the BSF.
    Last edited by IanT; 19th March 2009 at 08:44 AM.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanT View Post
    I've been into a few new schools and had a Interview a few weeks back for a new school in hackney.......they are not going over to a Managed Service - NOT all school are going to the managed service.
    Unless that school either refuses the funds, or they are already part of a PFI partnership (which most new schools are), or are brand new anyway, they will come under the BSF scheme which includes provisions for ICT managed services.

    The ICT provision was a key point of the scheme!

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    IanT's Avatar
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    When having the Interview with the head and the ICT contractors, they have a contract with them for 4 years to install and support the school, and as said at the same time help build the in-house IT team

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcloum View Post
    ....In this case you will be TUPED to a external contractor (they have to by law) and then work for this company instead of the school.
    I've seen this TUPED word a few times - is it an abbreviation for something?

    What is the general feeling of being taken over? Whilst I appreciate that loosing control is an issue is this the main reason for the negativity? Or is this negativity a small thing and the reality is that schools are happy but the technicians feel let down.

    Heh - are we lucky in Wales not to have this? I suppose when we went back to the LEA we went into a Managed Service - but we have got control of our internal network. All the LEA support is the broadband and the actual workings of our network. We can add and make changes as we want. It's quite free within the boundaries set out by the Service Level Agreement.

    Gareth

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    IanT's Avatar
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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    ... and it's impact is potentially so great there's a whole edugeek forum dedicated to it here: http://www.edugeek.net/forums/bsf/

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    OverWorked's Avatar
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    @garethedmondson: It's not such a stupid question. I have little idea of it either, apart from what I've read on EduGeek. We're in one of the more affluent areas, North Yorkshire, (although you wouldn't think it to look around our school), so we're not getting BSF'ed for years.



    Quote Originally Posted by mcloum View Post
    ... at which point we will be TUPPED again ...
    Careful how you spell that. It's better to be tuped than tupped. Ask a sheep farmer.

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    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OverWorked View Post

    Careful how you spell that. It's better to be tuped than tupped. Ask a sheep farmer.
    Given my experiences in the past - it usually amounts to the same thing!!

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    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
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    As to the OPs query - my understanding - in a nutshell is...

    To rebuild/refurbish schools, Govt decides to let private companies bid to do the work and then rents back the finished school for a set number of years (usually 25 I believe) - thus giving the private firm a guaranteed income stream for that period to offset the perceived risk of borrowing the initial capital and managing the build process.

    As a part of the long term let - usually the ICT and site maintenance will be run by partner companies as managed services. The BSF project is usually tendered on a county/area basis - so all the schools will be serviced by the same partners.

    This leads to some concerns that schools will lose control and direct of their ICT services as the provider will find a "one size fits all" model cheaper to provide, and that large numbers of technical staff will lose their jobs (either directly or indirectly) as they are transferred over to the ICT provider company. While this may bring schools with a poor record of ICT implementation up to a minimum, it will also certainly hold back schools that were at the leading edge, and implement barriers to innovation.

    IMHO this is really poor solution, and was primarily entered into to, to keep Govt borrowing figures within artificial boundaries. This is now redundant on at least two fronts - EU has directed that PFI type arrangements must appear on the Govt balance sheets (defeating the original intention), and the banks have ceased lending on this sort of project - so the Govt is in the invidious position of having to lend the money to the private firms so they can do the build and rent what they build back to the Govt at a profit (bizarre!). Even worse - after lending them the money and assuming all the risks, the Govt doesn't even own the property at the end of the day. A more complete failure of intent is hard to imagine.

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    It really does depend where you are in the country - I'm another one who had heard nothing, zero, zilch about it till I looked on Edugeek a year or so ago.

    When I did look, we're miles off round here. No mention of it by our LEA.
    And the school I'm in, unless we all suddenly quit, I cant see them ever going over to a managed service. If it was a choice between having that or having no funding, I think ours would go for no funding

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    A few things to clarify about what a managed service may or may not mean.

    1 - It does not mean that you have to accept what the bidders are selling. The school has the right to say "We need x and y, not just z!" Working with the LA is key here and there are good and bad stuff going round. And yes ... you will hear more about the bad than the good! That is a fact of life but make sure that your school is in their early with the requirements, but remember that you have to do it through the person who is your school's conduit!

    2 - Managed service does not always mean replacing everything and starting again (and any bidder that only offers that should be shot), but there may be huge chunks of commonality put in place as cost savings / best value /etc.

    3 - Managed service does not mean that the NM and techies are not employed by the school, but it is more common that you get TUPEd across. It depends on your LA really and will vary.

    4 - If your LA want to go down the Managed Service route then the only way to change it is to prove best value across all schools can be achieved by sticking with what you have. If you are the only school then an Alternative Business Case, but as already pointed out that no-one has succeeded yet ...

    5 - BSF is not about buildings and ICT ... they are just financial and political tools in it all and we are stuck in the middle of it. If you want to argue a case about any part of BSF it has to be framed in one of three ways. A - Best Value, B - Transforming Learning, C - Innovation.

    I don't think this strays that far away from things I have said recently but I am learning new things about BSF now .... and it is scary doing it from this side of the triangle. (School - LA - Private companies)

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