SIF and DfE kiss and make up

Filed under: Education,Politics,Standards — lenand @ 9:36 am
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The spat between the Systems Interoperability Framework (SIF) Association and the Department for Education started last August with a flawed consultant’s report to DfE.  The riposte from the SIF Association showed concern about “the numerous inaccuracies in the published review” was sent in September. There was no satisfactory response by the time of the November SIF Conference.

The demise of Becta can’t have assisted the proceedings, but it has taken another four months to get any public form of rapprochement.

“The DfE acknowledges and values the work done by the SIF community and others in the UK. The DfE will continue to support the work of the SIF Association by sharing knowledge and advice through the Technical Support Service for the Information Standards Board (ISB), the Department’s Chief Information Officer Group and the Data and Statistics Division.”

The ISB now seems to be the Government’s hub of activity in this area.  They have done some sterling work on a model for all sectors of education.  It means migrating to a shared vocabulary – all good standards stuff.  So the SIF Association have returned the compliment:

“The SIF Association recognises and values the work that has been done by DfE and the ISB in producing a Business Data Architecture model suitable for use across the ESCS. The Association also accepts the long term vision and direction of the Business Data Architecture and has committed itself to work alongside the ISB in the development of new data items.”

Whether it all leads to greater efficiency in education administration, only time will tell whether it is a marriage made in heaven.


CapGemini Commission Questions

Filed under: Education,Policy,Standards,Technology — lenand @ 11:16 pm
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The interaction between the SIF Association and DfE has generated most interest on Quarkside, and justifies continuing with no answers forthcoming from DfE.   This post focusses on the Capgemini commission for the DfE System-wide interoperability review.  The following items should have been delivered in the final report:

  • business drivers and requirements for data exchange
  • assessment of current ESCS sector capability (including SIF)
  • assessment of UK government direction of travel and capability
  • target conceptual architecture for the sharing / exchange of data
  • solution options for delivering the target architecture and recommendations
  • consideration of issues relating to the ongoing provision of any required business services, including options and recommendations
  • high level investment case
  • outline delivery roadmap

Great stuff.  They are all most pertinent input to deciding a local interoperability strategy for schools. The Department should be pleased to publish them since there is now no possibility of conflict with Becta advice.  Policy and strategic direction is now in the right, accountable, place.  They quark the needs, the business case and the technology direction. [Process>Governance>Technology].

Previous SIF Association conferences have covered all three in their proceedings.  They have the Specification, a draft Business Case (with Atkins Global on the spreadsheet properties) and the Technology.  This investment should not be written off without due cause or rational explanation.  The ‘only kid on the block’ should be nurtured by DfE, not neglected.  When all schools become freed from local authority control, they will really need all methods of minimising administration complication and costs.

If CapGemini have not delivered the goods, then here are three questions worth asking:

  1. What were the contract value, terms and conditions?
  2. What was the correspondence between the DfE and CapGemini that authorised reducing the scope?
  3. How much has been paid for the report?

A Freedom of Information request may drag out some answers, but maybe some readers of Quarkside already know them.

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