Tuesday, 26 September 2017

I have made contact today with the Bournemouth and Poole College's Board and I was also contacted by Ofsted

(Post made at 2246 BST on 26 Sep 2017 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests). 

I have just managed to contact a member of the Bournemouth and Poole College's Board directly (as you recall the College refused to pass on my concerns to that Board). I have asked for a formal response from the Board.

As a result, I now hope that my concerns (and those of the other parents and teachers whose evidence formed the basis of my complaint to the College) will be properly addressed.

Response by CWYM refusing a request by a school Head of Music for WYO pupils to be released from an EXTRA Wyo REHEARSAL to attend a school CONCERT on a weekday

(Post made at 1558 BST on 26 Sep 2017 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests). 

This is just one example of written evidence that seems to have been completely ignored in the surprising complaints investigation carried out by View HR Limited:

The WYO "Key Facts" document stated "in the event of a clash, the WYO expects the school event to take priority".  By contrast (and bear in mind that the rehearsal in question was just one of 6 extra rehearsals):

A school Head of Music wrote in late February 2017 that s/he had discovered that a WYO extra rehearsal clashed with a school concert on a weekday in March, and asked either for the WYO players involved to be released (as they were key players who younger pupils at the school looked up to as an example) or the head of music offered to rearrange the school concert timings that evening so that the players could participate both in the school concert and part of the WYO rehearsal.

The Centre's response (in an email on 3 March 2017) was to say that it was entirely up to the parents and WYO players whether to attend school events or WYO weekday rehearsals: “Yes we have some extra rehearsal time scheduled before the Gala Concert in March, but attendance at these weekday evening rehearsals is solely at the WYO members' and parents’ discretion and nothing to do with me. I have made it very clear to the WYO families that if they choose to attend WYO instead of a school event, that they must make it clear to the school that it is their decision and not mine - I do hope that this has been the case. Quite simply, weekday attendance is not my call.”

Open letter to the Bournemouth and Poole College's solicitors

(Post made at 1127 BST on 26 Sep 2017 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests. Update 0531 BST on 27 Sep 2017: please see the comment below this post to see the College's solicitors' reply). 

From: Patrick Lee
Sent: 26 September 2017 11:24
To: johnandrews@steeleraymond.co.uk
Subject: Re Bournemouth & Poole College (your letter of 14 July 2017)

Open letter (i.e. public and non confidential)

Dear SteeleRaymond LLP

I refer to your letter of 14 July 2017 to me, titled “Bournemouth and Poole College”.

I believe your client (“the College”) may not have given you a full or accurate picture of the situation.  In particular with regard to the evidence supporting my concerns and those of other parents and teachers, and to the fairness and integrity of the independent complaints investigation carried out by View HR Limited, and hence the integrity and appropriateness of the College (and by extension your firm) relying on the outcome of that investigation.  Please confirm whether the College disclosed to you the full contents of my email of 26 June 2017 to the investigator (via the College member of staff appointed by its Quality Department as the point of contact), headed “Formal complaint with items numbered for clarity and ease of reference”?  You say in your letter that you do not believe that there is any evidence to substantiate the allegations I have made – did you make that statement despite having read my email of 26 June 2017 just referred to?

Monday, 25 September 2017

Bournemouth and Poole College: a failure of governance because of a lack of accountability and little apparent concern for ethics

(Post made at 2245 BST on 25 Sep 2017 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests). 

In my opinion a flawed complaints system (which is being used to silence criticism rather than address it) is preventing accountability for poor practices.  In what way is the College accountable for what I believe to be very poor ethical behaviour, if it accepts the results of a manifestly flawed (and itself unethical, because of incorrect statements that no witnesses came forward to support complaints) "independent" complaints investigation?  Where is the accountability and ethics in the College refusing to allow an appeal despite the clear flaws in the investigation?  Where is the accountability in the College refusing to allow my concerns to be passed on to its Board? How is the College's refusal to investigate items complained about not a violation of its Complaints Policy? Aren't all these things further evidence of unethical behaviour and a failure of culture, governance and leadership at the Bournemouth and Poole College?

Friday, 15 September 2017

My concerns about the current operation of the College's Complaints Policy

(Post made at 1957 BST on 15 Sep 2017 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).  

In my opinion, based on my recent experience, there are many things about the current operation of the Bournemouth and Poole College's Complaints Policy that are inconsistent with good practice. Here are some of them:

The independent investigator appointed (and paid, although this is itself is not unusual) by the College objected to my taking a netbook (a small computer) to my first meeting with her, saying it made her feel uncomfortable, and there was no need for me to take notes because a notetaker from the College was present. I explained that I wanted to be able to refer to correspondence, and to take my own notes.  She insisted that she would prefer me not to. I therefore agreed to close the netbook. Soon in the meeting she asked me questions that I needed to refer to correspondence to answer, so I asked (and was granted permission) to temporarily open the netbook.  Towards the end of the meeting, I wanted to make a note of some action points that were down to me as a result of the meeting, so again I asked (and was granted permission) to write them down in my netbook. I said it was irregular that I was not allowed to take my own notes, in the way that I have done throughout my career to date, including meetings with senior lawyers, and in sensitive discussions.

The other complainant (my wife) had presented a detailed written statement to her first meeting with the investigator. (Her complaint and mine were being treated by the College as a joint complaint and were being investigated by the same investigator, albeit with separate meetings).

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Response eventually received from BPCollege Principal, very unsatisfactory in my opinion



(Post made at 1112 BST on 29 Aug 2017 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).  

See the comment added on 21 Aug 2017 to my previous post.

Monday, 31 July 2017

No response yet from BPCollege to my letter re significant concerns about the impartiality and fairness of recent complaint investigation

(Post made at 2354 BST on 31 Jul 2017 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests. Update 01 Sep 2017: response eventually received from the College, please see the comment below this post).  

This is a follow up to the preceding post.  Here is a copy of an email I sent earlier to the College (the chain of emails referred to is shown in the preceding post and this one):

Open letter:
Dear Bournemouth and Poole College Principal (cc Quality team)

I do not appear to have had any response to my requests, despite asking that correspondence be forwarded to someone deputising for you in your absence:

  1. (see my email of 14 July below to your Quality team) “Please advise me which external agency is most appropriate.”
  2. (see my emails of 17 July below), asking for confirmation that my email of 1017 on 17 July has been forwarded to the Chair of the Bournemouth and Poole College Board together with my comments “Please also forward this to James Hampton, Chair of the Bournemouth and Poole College Board – I wish the Board to be aware of my concerns about the way this investigation has been conducted and to ask for a response from them.”
Please would you provide me with responses to 1 and 2 above as soon as possible, and no later than 1700 on Friday 4 August.

Yours faithfully

Patrick Lee

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

One more witness confirms s/he was not contacted by the College/Independent Investigator

(Post made at 1757 BST on 18 Jul 2017 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests)

So far this makes a total of 6 supportive witnesses who say they were not contacted, and 2 who were, but were given a very unreasonable deadline (just over three hours before midnight to reply the same day).

Monday, 17 July 2017

If key witnesses for one side are not called, how can the process be impartial?


(Post made on 17 Jul 2017 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests)

In my opinion the impartiality and fairness of the investigation carried out cannot be relied upon (key witnesses not contacted + other irregularities)

(Post made on 17 Jul 2017 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).  

This is a follow up to the preceding post.  This is a copy of an email just sent to the Bournemouth and Poole College.

Open letter:
Dear Quality team and Bournemouth and Poole College Principal

In fact I have since heard that, contrary to the statement in the Independent Investigator outcome letter to me that no witnesses interviewed corroborated my allegations and that no witnesses had been willing to step forward to support my allegations, so far 4 witnesses have confirmed that they were NOT contacted by the College/View HR Limited (the Independent Investigator’s company).  In addition, 2 witnesses had been contacted, but were given an unreasonable deadline (email sent at 2049 on 11 July requesting a response “today”). I also know so far of at least 1 witness supportive of the other person’s complaint who was also NOT contacted by the College/View HR Limited. In my opinion this raises serious questions about the impartiality and fairness of the investigation. 

in my opinion, in view of this and other procedural improprieties the outcome of the investigations must be regarded as suspect and neither the College nor anyone else should place any reliance on the investigation carried out by View HR Limited. I understand that some of the witnesses who the Independent Investigator failed to contact will be getting in touch with the College.

Yours faithfully


Patrick Lee   

Friday, 14 July 2017

Formal complaint to Bournemouth & Poole College was not upheld "no witnesses came forward to support": several confirm they were NOT contacted ...

(Post made on 14 Jul 2017 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).

Copy of email sent to Bournemouth and Poole College's Quality Department (the department that handles complaints, any letters or emails of complaint are sent to this department for action)

From: Patrick Lee 
Sent: 14 July 2017 17:27
To: 'Quality' <quality@bpc.ac.uk>
Subject: RE: Response Letter

Thank you for your letter. I am not satisfied with the outcome or the process followed, which in my view contained serious procedural improprieties and irrationality .  Your letter says that the College will not allow an appeal.  Your complaints policy states:

“If at this stage the complainant remains dissatisfied, they will be advised as to which external agency is most appropriate for the complaint to be referred to.”

Please advise me which external agency is most appropriate.

Kind regards

Patrick Lee

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Why was a long overdue CWYM fire drill delayed for over five months, given that 2 fires had taken place recently at the same College site?

(Post made at 1609 BST UK time on 12 Jul 2017 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).

A fire drill took place at the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians (CWYM) on Saturday 24 June 2017. To the best of my knowledge this was the first fire drill at CWYM for at least 12 years.

Jacqui Kitcher (JK, Director of Learning, Creative Industries, and line manager of the CWYM Director) had informed me (quite rightly) and the other SWYM Committee members in early January 2017 that a fire drill would take place during the spring term, as one was overdue.  I therefore expected one to take place in the spring term, but:

  1. No drill took place that term (January to March)
  2. The summer term started on Saturday 22 April, yet no fire drill happened until over two months later, on Saturday 24 June (shortly after I put in a Freedom of Information request about this). 

Two fires had recently happened at the same site

Two fires had taken place at the same site in recent months (the College has 3 sites, and the CWYM rehearsals take place within the North Road site):

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Bournemouth and Poole College "Long Overdue" with their response to Freedom of Information Request (about discrepancies in their responses)

Post made in a personal capacity at 0945 BST on 1 July 2017. Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).


Discrepancies in information given by College about communicating Wessex Youth Orchestra rehearsal dates to schools

I have just received an email from WhatDoTheyKnow informing me that the College is long overdue in providing a response to my Freedom of Information request of 4 May:



I have just asked once more for the College to comply with their obligations under the law by responding without further delay.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Things are happening

(A short update to say that the issues have not been neglected, and things are happening behind the scenes.)

Thursday, 8 June 2017

The younger groups have got the short straw in the CWYM Summer Concert on 1 July 2017


A copy of my comments (on the copy of the Facebook CWYM poster for the concert - on 1 July 2017 starting at 1800 at the Lighthouse by the way).  I don't think my comments will be visible to others on Facebook, so I'm reproducing them below:

The Wessex Fanfares and Starter and Middle Strings are, yet again, put down in a pre-concert at 1800, which is something that I and some others on SWYM Committee had (on previous occasions, I am of course no longer on the Committee) had reservations about, as it downplays their role and reduces their audience. Given the massive pressure that WYO players have been put under, why not make the summer concert similar to the December one, with Fanfares and WSS/WMS in the first half (starting at 1930, not 1800), and WYO in the second half of the concert? This would give the younger groups the full audience they deserve, and mean that WYO players (many of whom have GCSE and A levels) have a more relaxing term after their very heavy Gala concert programme in January to March (with 18 rehearsals in the schedule!).

Serious question marks over the ethical standards and culture at the WYO/Bournemouth and Poole College


(Post made at 2110 UK time on 08 Jun 2017. This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until 4 February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about the running of the musically excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM and the management of the CWYM and College. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).



The WYO/Bournemouth and Poole College told me, twice in succession after I queried this, and in writing, that there was no rehearsal schedule for this term. Yet there was one (see here). How could this happen? I await the WYO/College's explanation (see this open letter). I can think of two possibilities. Either (to use the words of former FBI Director James Comey in his testimony on another matter earlier today) those statements were "lies plain and simple", or the WYO/College leadership managed somehow to forget that a schedule was sent out this term, despite one having been sent out regularly every term for many, many previous occasions. Personally I think I would struggle to find the second explanation credible.   

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

An open letter to BPCollege Principal and Freedom of Information Officer, in the light of yesterday's FoIA response

(Post made at 2352 UK time on 07 Jun 2017. This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until 4 February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about the running of the musically excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM and the management of the CWYM and College. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).


This is a copy of an open (i.e. public) letter emailed to the Bournemouth and Poole College earlier today, after analysis of the response received yesterday to my Freedom of Information Act request of 20 April. See here for the full details of the correspondence under that request; the letter also reflects my concerns about the reliability of information supplied by the College, in particular the "WYO Key Facts" document recently sent to schools (see here).

Freedom of Information Request (no 3, 20 April): complete correspondence, including College Response (late, 6 June)

(Post made at 2318 UK time on 07 Jun 2017. This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until 4 February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about the running of the musically excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM and the management of the CWYM and College. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).


Yesterday 6 June I finally received (the main part, but not all, in particular no information about which schools the schedule was sent to, presumably none) a response to my Freedom of Information request of 20 April, which was due under the Act by 23 May at the latest. (Previous posts referring to this particular request are here and here, but I have put the entire email chain below for ease of reference, with most recent emails at the top). 

Note: the WYO Schedule attached to Mr Roberts' email of 6 June can be found here: page 1 and page 2.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

If you have alternative suggestions to sort out the current WYO/CWYM situation, please contact me asap


(Post made at 2358 UK time on 06 Jun 2017. This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until 4 February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about the running of the musically excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM and the management of the CWYM and College. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).


I put my suggestions for improving the current (extremely unsatisfactory) situation a few weeks ago here. Since then I have received further evidence reinforcing my view that the current situation is unlikely to prove tenable. So if you have credible alternative suggestions please contact me asap.
  
(You can do this publicly via comments on this blog or on my Patrick SWYM Facebook account, or if you prefer, privately via a Facebook message to that account). 


Saturday, 3 June 2017

An apology to all recent and current WYO children

(Post made at 0910 UK time on 03 Jun 2017. This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until 4 February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about some aspects of the running of the musically excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM and the management of the College. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).


I wish I'd known earlier what I now know. In which case, as SWYM Chairman I would have raised concerns and blown the whistle much earlier.  A teacher took me aside a couple of years ago and said s/he was concerned that some, possibly many, WYO players were being put under too much pressure.  As this was the first time any concerns had been put to me, and I believed what I had been told when I became Chairman (namely that WYO players were always told that school must come first) I defended the WYO and told the teacher that this ("school comes first") was the WYO's policy.


Friday, 2 June 2017

Am losing confidence that BPCollege can be trusted to investigate itself for complaints of significant failings

Every day, I receive more evidence of highly questionable behaviour, some of which the College must have known about. (Apart from anything else, I raised concerns with them several months ago, yet their response was to shoot the messenger).

Recent events have also led me to question whether the College act with the required independence when investigating complaints, and whether the College really cares about the accuracy/reliability of its external communications.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Disturbing news about anti-democratic and intimidatory behaviour at Bournemouth and Poole College

(Post made at 2207 UK time on 29 May 2017. This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until 4 February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about some aspects of the running of the musically excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM and the management of the College. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).

Disturbing, anti-democratic behaviour towards CWYM parents

Am hearing disturbing reports that the College has forbidden some parents from discussing the possibility of calling a SWYM EGM (and possibly other topics too) on College premises.  Also that a security guard intervened to halt a conversation between a small number (I believe 2) of CWYM parents in the car park.

Such actions seem unlikely to reduce concerns about the appropriateness of the current culture/management style.

Will the College do the right thing vis a vis those parents?

Perhaps it is time for the Bournemouth and Poole College to take a leaf out of the Olivier Theatre's book, as in this blog post.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Bournemouth and Poole College delaying response (already overdue) to request made under Freedom of Information Act 2000

Please see the comments I have just added to my post of 17 May, here.  The College are either delaying their response to a request which they should have provided two days ago under the Act, or are declining to answer it altogether.  I hope it is the former.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Answers to "Why is this public?" and other questions

(Post made at 1251 UK time on 21 May 2017. This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until 4 February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about some aspects of the running of the musically excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).


Why am I commenting in public?



Some SWYM members (i.e. Centre parents) have asked me why this blog exists, and why I have made it publicly visible.

This is for several reasons:
  1. Given the questions as to whether the SWYM is being run in line with its Constitution, and for general good governance,the SWYM Constitution needs to be accessible to SWYM members. To date, this blog has (to my knowledge) been the only place where members could view the Constitution (you can it see here).
  2. The College is a publicly-funded body and members of the public (including of course SWYM members, but also school headteachers and heads of music and conductors of other ensembles) have a right to view information obtained from the College under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  This blog provides such a place for the responses to my FoIA requests (e.g. here)
  3. As explained in the very early posts on this blog, while I was Chairman of SWYM, I had a duty to communicate with SWYM members in a situation where I had significant concerns about whether the SWYM Constitution was being followed.  I had previously raised these concerns privately but was concerned that I had not been given satisfactory answers.  
  4. My confidence in the ability and/or willingness of the College to address the concerns I had been raising (about the management style within CWYM vis a vis both SWYM and staff, the degree of freedom the SWYM Committee had to choose items for discussion on its agenda, and a lack of accountability of the WYO Director, including a very high degree of secrecy about the WYO rehearsal schedule) has been increasingly undermined by several of the College's actions (and inactions) over the period since last November.  

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Formal complaint now with Bournemouth and Poole College

(Post made at 0924 UK time on 20 May 2017. This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until 4 February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about some aspects of the running of the musically excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).

The Bournemouth and Poole College have informed me that they are treating my correspondence with them as a formal complaint and will investigate it as such.  I have now sent the College various further details, including concerns raised by several parents and teachers as to the degree of pressure put on WYO children, causing in some cases significant upset.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Feedback form sent by the College to WYO parents omitted section on the standard of tuition, other groups had this

(Post made at 0911 UK time on 18 May 2017. This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until early February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about some aspects of the running of the otherwise excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).

Last week, the Bournemouth and Poole College sent Centre for Wessex Young Musicians parents (but not us, which is improper) a feedback form.  The forms sent to parents of Wessex Junior Fanfare, Wessex Youth Fanfare, Wessex Starter Strings and Wessex Middle Strings included a section asking for comments on the standard of tuition received by the children.

The form sent to parents of Wessex Youth Orchestra children did not include that section. Why?

(I'm not suggesting that the standard of tuition is poor in any of the groups, just that this smacks of bias and a reluctance to be accountable).

My suggestions for improvement at the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians

(Post added at 0825 UK time on 18 May 2017. Most of this content is originally from a Facebook post I made on 12 May 2017, but now added here because it is relevant to improving the culture of both CWYM and SWYM).

This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until early February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about some aspects of the running of the otherwise excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).

I understand that Centre for Wessex Young Musicians parents (again except us, which is improper) have been sent an email with a feedback form asking for suggestions for improvements. So here are mine:
  1. [this para slightly reworded 1622 UK time 13 May 2017] Beverley (or someone else suitable) should replace Susanna as Director of the Centre. Susanna to carry on as WYO Director, but with very close supervision by Centre Director.
  2. The SWYM Committee to be allowed to set its own agenda (without a veto by WYO or CWYM Director) as per its current Constitution.
  3. WYO Director's manager to make sure that she consults properly with WSS / WMS Conductor and Fanfare conductor rather than imposing by dictat.
  4. Honest, regular communication with schools by publishing the schedule of extra WYO rehearsals on the website
  5. All staff (not just the WYO Director) to be able to make suggestions to SWYM Committee and to get a fairer share of the funding. Parents to be able to make suggestions to SWYM Committee too.
  6. All significant expenditure items that need to be paid by SWYM to be approved in advance by the SWYM Committee.
  7. SWYM Committee and Centre staff to look into whether the gap between WYF/WMS and WYO has become too high? If so why? Eg has the increasing number of extra rehearsals that the WYO has been getting contributed to this? With a view to working out how to either reduce the gap or to fill it, so that players who feel that they have outgrown WYF/WMS have somewhere to go and we don't lose them from the Centre. (If we lose them, then they might miss the opportunity to develop their music playing to the stage where they are good enough to have near lifelong enjoyment from it). If an intermediate orchestra is needed to fill the gap, then SWYM to work out how to finance it.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Freedom of Information request (no. 3) to the College dated 20 April 2017

(Published at 0752 UK time on 18 May 2017. Copy of email sent on 20 April 2017 to freedomofinformation@bpc.ac.uk, the address at the Bournemouth and Poole College for Freedom of Information Act requests. I received an acknowledgement on 24 April. The requirement to respond within 20 working days means that the response is due - after allowing for the Bank Holiday on 1 May - by the end of Tuesday 23 May at the latest. This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until early February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about some aspects of the running of the otherwise excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).

Email Title: Request under Freedom of Information Act

Dear Mr Roberts

As the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians website still implies (at http://www.cwym-music.com/wyo-membership-guidelines.html) that the Wessex Youth Orchestra rehearsal schedule is confidential to WYO players and their families, in contravention of Jacqui Kitcher (WYO Director Susanna Riddell’s line manager)’s statement to the SWYM Committee last December that she expected the schedules to be published, please would you send me (in electronic form):

  1. A copy of the WYO rehearsal schedule for this term (summer 2017), together with a copy of any associated instructions, and a list of which other organisations (and the roles of the people at those organisations, e.g. head of music at a school) the schedule has been sent to.
  2. In what proportion of Freedom of Information Act responses does the Bournemouth & Poole College claim (as it did in the responses to my two previous requests, contrary to ICO guidance at https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1150/intellectual_property_rights_and_disclosures_under_the_foia.pdf) that copyright would be infringed by publication of the responses?

As before, please would you acknowledge receipt of this request? Thank you.

Yours sincerely

Patrick Lee

Saturday, 6 May 2017

BPCollege/WYO "Key Facts" document for schools gets the facts wrong and omits key information ...

(Paragraph added 0440 UK time 12 May 2017: This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until early February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about some aspects of the running of the otherwise excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests)

No wonder the College and WYO Director wanted to avoid the WYO rehearsal schedules being published.
It seems that a document was recently sent by the Bournemouth and Poole College to schools, entitled  "Centre for Wessex Young Musicians - Key Facts", with sub heading "Communication and Cooperation between the CWYM/WYO and local schools".

Unfortunately, this document gives a materially incorrect picture of what has happened in recent terms (the only ones I have details for, because the rehearsal schedules were kept secret).

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Freedom of Information Request (no 4) to the College asking for clarification of discrepancies in their responses

(This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until early February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about some aspects of the running of the otherwise excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests)

Further to https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/bpcollege-freedom-of-information.html I have just made (as indeed any member of the public is entitled to do) a further request to clarify the key question as to whether the dates of the WYO's frequent extra rehearsals (4 during weekdays last term) have been shared with schools or not.
You can see the new request on the  What Do They Know site at:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/discrepancies_in_information_giv#outgoing-646928.

Please note that the two hyperlinks I provided in the WhatDoTheyKnow request seem to have included an extra closing bracket as part of the hyperlink (probably my mistake as it is the first time I have used the WhatDoTheyKnow site to make a request), so lead to "Page not found" errors.  The correct hyperlinks are:

For Freedom of Information Request response F0082: https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/bpcollege-freedom-of-information.html

For WYO Director 's website page on her role as WYO Director:
http://www.susannariddell.com/wyo-director


Friday, 28 April 2017

BPCollege Freedom of Information response 14 Mar 2017 to request made 20 Dec 2016

(This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until recently Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about some aspects of the running of the otherwise excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).

Below is the response I eventually received from the College to a request I made on 20 December 2016 - I was informed that the delay in their reply was due to my request (and several follow up ones requesting an acknowledgement of receipt) having gone into their spam folder. The attachment to 1. is shown as the second schedule (not the first, although that was also - incorrectly-  headed as Autumn schedule) in this previous post

Note that paragraph 3 says that schools are told of events (i.e. concerts) for which permission letters, rather than about those extra rehearsals which take place on weekdays.  

Note also the unusual request by the College not to publish the Freedom of Information response. (I did reply to Mr Roberts giving my reasons and challenging the claim that publication might infringe copyright, quoting the Information Commissioner's Office's own documentation which makes clear that providing copyright is acknowledged, and no commercial use of made without permission, copyright is no bar to publication of FoIA responses).  

The attachment referred to in 5. below is here (note that this appears to be the original advert issued for the post of WYO/CWYM Director from 2008 and the job description does not seem to have been changed since then).  I did consider redacting the salary information, but a) this was a public advert from 2008, b) it is 9 years old, and c) there is no bar under FoIA to publishing it, and d) my comment is that (as I have mentioned previously to the College in comments about sustainability/best practice is to avoid the need for large sudden increases in course fees by making small regular increments to keep pace with inflation/market rates), like other rates paid to CWYM staff, it seems low compared to the quality of the work done. (I reiterate what I have said many times before, i have no criticisms of the quality of the output from the Centre, my concerns are to do with its current management style and the degree of cooperation/communication with schools and other musical ensembles in the area).  

Start of Freedom of Information request response

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Secret WYO rehearsal schedules which both the WYO Director and the College repeatedly tried to stop publication of

(This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until recently Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about some aspects of the running of the otherwise excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).

Almost six months after I first asked for the autumn schedule, and delays in obtaining it under Freedom of Information, followed by repeated attempts by the Bournemouth and Poole College (the College) to avoid the information being published (by false claims that it would infringe copyright to do so) I am now able to publish the Wessex Youth Orchestra (WYO)'s rehearsal schedule for Autumn 2016, and also for Spring 2017.

I pointed out several times to the College that the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has made clear that copyright is no bar to publication of responses received under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and that copyright is not infringed by publishing the information providing the copyright is acknowledged. (See paragraph 18 of https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1150/intellectual_property_rights_and_disclosures_under_the_foia.pdf).   The College did not reply for several weeks and when I asked a third time for clarification came back with "we acknowledge the regulations" which evaded the question.

When an organisation repeatedly claims that a list (of rehearsal dates and times, and instructions to children/parents about confidentiality and how many rehearsals must be attended) is COPYRIGHT and publishing it would breach that copyright, then one is entering PrivateEye territory. Such a claim stretches credulity and smacks of a desperate attempt to avoid publication of the said schedules.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Broadstone Music Flute Workshop (1600-1800 28 Jan 2017)

(copy of a message received from CWYM Coordinator Beverley Williams, NB files are not attached here)

Dear Wessex Young Musicians,

Broadstone Music Series is holding a Flute workshop on 28th Jan for 2 hours 4-6pm, and a Double Reed Day on 5th Feb which will be taken by the BSO double reed section. Young children are welcome to come along to try out oboes and bassoons. The flute workshop is just 2 hours and players need to be above grade 5. Any ages are welcome at either event. 

Please visit www.broadstonemusicseries.info  for more information and see the attached

Many thanks

Beverley

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Agenda for SWYM Committee meeting 13 Jan 2017

Here is the current agenda for the next SWYM Committee meeting:


Time
Ref
Topic
Lead
19:30
1.
Welcome and apologies

PL
19:32
2.
Minutes of the last meeting:  9 September 2016 (ideally, please notify any comments to Kathryn as SWYM Secretary in advance)
PL
19:35
3.
Matters arising

PL
19:40
4.
Constitution (primer ahead of review during 2016-2017 year)
PL
19:42
5.
SWYM culture: how can we work together most effectively?
All
19:57
6.
Changes requested by the College
BW/JQ/SR?
20:07
7.
Concerts
7.1         RAH Proms 16 November
7.2         4 December concert
7.3         12 March 2017 Fanfares & Strings
7.4         25 March 2017 WYO Gala

SR / BW

20:22
8.
Fundraising
8.1         Future of the ‘100’ Club
8.2         Wessex Youth String Quartet (26 Nov 2016)
8.3         Christmas ‘busking’

BW/JQ?
PL
KT
20:32



9.
Finance
9.1    Accounts                                                                
9.2   Bursaries                                                                         
9.3   WYM Trust
TM








20:42
10.
Any other business (ideally, please notify Kathryn in advance)
All
20:45

11.
Next meeting: 7.30 pm on Friday 24 February 2017, Room 1137 Jellicoe Building
All



Freedom of Information request to the College

I put in a freedom of information request to the College on 20 December 2016 to request information which I had previously asked for internally but without success.