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