Posts Tagged ‘deact’

Open Letter to Simon Kirby

May 12th, 2010

The upshot of the General Election for me was a change in Parliamentary representative in the form of the Conservative MP Simon Kirby.

There follows an open letter to Mr Kirby outlining my suggestions for cuts to the BSF program which would potentially save the country millions of pounds and safeguard jobs in to the bargain. I also mention the need to repeal or heavily rework the Digital Economy Act and to urgently look at Copyright reform.

I intend to publish here any response I might receive.

Dear Mr Kirby

Firstly my congratulations on your recent election success, and your parties subsequent proposed coalition Government with the Liberal Democrats.

As my elected representative, I’m taking a couple of minutes to put to you my point of view on a couple of important issues in the hope that you can take my views on board.

One of the stated aims of the Conservative Party is to begin cutting the budget deficit with immediate effect. May I suggest a thorough review of the Building Schools for the Future scheme and the quango appointed to run it (Partnerships for Schools) would be an excellent point to begin.

BSF in its conception was a revolutionary rework of state-funded secondary schools nationwide, however over time it has become clear that the needs of large businesses have been pushed to the fore and it is now the normal situation in a BSF scheme to spend millions of pounds unnecessarily on consultants, propitiatory software and replacing nearly new equipment like-for-like at each and every school it touches.

Education desperately needs its funding for ICT, but schools that have invested in their ICT services are being penalised by this levelling process that has been imposed by Partnerships for Schools.

Supporters of the BSF program would say that it’s possible for schools to opt out of the Managed ICT Service side of BSF – and it is, theoretically and on paper. In reality it’s a very long and difficult process to demonstrate that existing provision exceeds that offered by an MSP. It falls to the school – which is rightly working towards educating its students – to counter the claims made by dedicated teams from the MSPs. It’s not surprising that almost all schools that embark on that route fail to win their argument.

Please therefore consider cutting the monies spent on the BSF Managed ICT Service such that the remaining funds are spent directly where they are needed by frontline ICT staff, Headteachers and Governors in schools rather than wasted on consultants and replacing systems like-for-like.

The previous Parliament also presided over the farce that was the passing of the Digital Economy Act. The arguments surrounding that act are well publicised and I’m sure you’re aware of the pertainant points.

Nick Clegg made an election promise to repeal the Digital Economy Act if the Liberal Democrats were in power. I hope that the Con-Lib coalition will seriously consider repealing the act or at the very least undertake a major overhaul of the act to address the very serious shortcomings that it has.

And finally please use this period of Conservative-Liberal accord to tackle the issue of Copyright reform. The UK is still applying copyright laws passed decades ago to modern business practises and I’m afraid they just aren’t fit for purpose any longer. Indeed proper copyright reforms would largely address the contentious issues that the Digital Economy Act attempts to legislate around and would probably negate the need for its existence at all.

Yours sincerely

Alex Harrington