Convergence or divergence?
Posted February 25, 2013on:
This Wednesday there’s a meeting of the ICTEx group with Cabinet Secretary Michael Russell at the Scottish Parliament to discuss the issues and implications for implementation of the report we published last month.
One of our recommendations, the convening of a project board has already happened and this board is now in place, chaired by Scottish Government civil servant Fiona Robertson. Members of this board will be present at Wednesday’s meeting. Other recommendations will doubtless fall into place. It’s only right that the Cabinet Secretary has had the chance to fully consider our report. Two things do concern me though.
The first is this. We are now just about into March. The current Glow extension contract ends on December 15th. This doesn’t leave very much time to put a replacement into place. The discussions which lead to our report took it for granted that the replacement would have the best part of the year to be put into place. This timeline is now slipping quite quickly. Whilst implementation will be on the agenda on Wednesday, and at the first meetings of both the Project Board and the Key Reference Group in March, there has been concern voiced that there’s too much talking and not enough action. I hope this is addressed on Wednesday. Yet another extension of the RM contract would, I think, be unacceptable to an education community waiting for definitive positive action to realise the visions articulated by several previous consultation exercises.
My second concern is about openness. I’ve blogged about this before, and it still concerns me. The workings of the ICTEx group were not as open as I and others thought they should have been. As its our final meeting on Wednesday, I would hope to be writing on here and elsewhere about this and other experiences from the last six months as the next few weeks progress. It’s always good to have an alternative to the usual sanitised official version. I’m sure several of my colleagues will do likewise. There’s a whole raft of minutes, briefings, emails and other documents detailing our workings and discussions which, in my view, should be made completely public. I’ve kept my own detailed notes, and copies of everything else of course.
Openness is not an easy concept for traditional hierarchies, including governments. The rise of sites like whistleblower and WikiLeaks is proof of the desire from the public for the workings of such hierarchies to be as open and transparent as possible.
Will our thoughts come together on both these concerns or will there be a parting of minds? Whatever the outcome, the future success of the Glow replacement project is still not in the bag.
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