Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Email from Niel McLean, Executive Director about the demise of Becta

Dear colleagues
As you are aware, as part of the Government's package of measures to reduce expenditure in the public sector, Becta will be closing on 31st March.
It is important that we make sure we achieve our charitable objects as well as the efficient and well-managed closure of the organisation. A full and comprehensive Programme has been established to ensure that this happens. Part of the communications area of this programme will be to keep our external partners and stakeholders up to date with current progress and we are therefore planning to send regular updates to you over the next few months.
In May Stephen Crowne made a commitment to Becta having "an orderly and fair process for staff, and that as far as possible schools, colleges and children continue to benefit from the savings and support that Becta has provided."

Following successful and constructive negotiations with the DfE and BIS, we are delighted that it has been confirmed that Government wishes to continue key areas of Becta's work. This work will transfer in the first quarter of next year. Areas that are confirmed for transfer include Policy; Procurement, incorporating ICT Service frameworks; E-safety / safeguarding online; and Technical, accessibility and environmental standards for ICT in schools.

Discussions are ongoing to finalise the details for one or two other areas we hope to transfer.
Conversations are now taking place with some Becta staff, who it is hoped will also transfer with these work areas. With DfE and BIS we hope to be able to finalise details of all of the areas that will be transferring in the next few weeks.
Please keep an eye on the Becta website, which will tell you where Becta's assets are going as they transfer. We aim to make as much as possible openly accessible through open licence agreements.
As Becta's revised business plan for 2010-11 continues towards conclusion, some of the headline areas of work for the next month or so include:

ICT Services Framework: Becta is proceeding with the framework to cover infrastructure and mobile connectivity in order to continue promoting responsible purchasing within schools and colleges.

ICT Mark: Accreditation of schools will continue until March 2011. Consideration is still being made as to the future of this accreditation scheme. Naace continue to administer the ICT Mark at least through to March 2011 Becta has pressed hard for the continuation of both the SRF and ICT Mark.

ICT Excellence Awards 2010: the winners and runners-up in this awards scheme for schools will be announced on 14 October. Watch the Becta website for more information.
Becta website: Work is currently underway to plan the efficient and careful closure of the Becta website by March 2011. The National Archive will be taking a 'snapshot' of the website to ensure that key content exists after the closure, and other specific areas will be taken on by third party organisations as part of the asset transfer process. Resources that have been produced by Becta will be available from the National Archive's website from November 2010.
We would also like to update you with regard to the success of the Home Access programme which will be completed, ahead of schedule, by December 2010. Stephen Crowne recently said "I can't thank our stakeholders enough for making the Home Access programme such a success. Without your invaluable support we wouldn't have achieved our ambition to ensure more young people reap the benefits of having access to the internet at home to improve their learning."
Please be assured that we are continuing to follow due process with the transition and eventual closure of Becta, and without your invaluable support over the years we would not have achieved our ambition to ensure more young people reap the educational benefits of technology.

If you require any further information regarding Becta's situation, then please do follow up with Ruth Hammond.

Kind Regards

Niel McLean
Executive Director

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