Archive for February, 2007

School Annual Reports are no more

Monday, February 12th, 2007

When I first became a School Governor, one of the first jobs that I got involved with was helping to produce the ‘Annual Report’. I remembered them from when I was at school – every year we would be given a fairly dull but important looking booklet to take home to our parents. It perhaps shouldn’t have been a surprise that compiling these things was the only thing more painful than trying to read one.

But things are different now. Changes made in the Education Act 2005 means that the Governors’ Annual Report is no more, and has been replaced with the School Profile.


RE: What will happen to Millennium Volunteers?

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

See this post from last October for background. To sum up, it talks about the future of Millennium Volunteers, a government programme which we deliver in Solent Youth Action. In particular, wondering about the future of the scheme.

I heard an update about this today in a statement issued from the Cabinet Office:

As an Millennium Volunteers (MV) delivery partner you are aware that the management of the MV programme is transferring from DfES to the Cabinet Office from 1st April 2007 … The funding for this period is secure and the MV programme will be funded in its current form until 30th September 2007.

The Cabinet Office wishes v to take on management of the programme from 1st April 2007 as recommended by the Russell Commission. We wanted to update you on the discussions that are currently taking place regarding this suggestion.


Accessing Pocket Outlook email programmatically

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

screenshotI mentioned ages ago about a little extension I wrote for my phone that lets me dump the contents of an email that I receive into any other bit of Pocket Outlook – turning an email about an event into a Calendar item, or an email asking me to do something into a Task item – with a single click.

I recently noticed a problem with it, and finally got around to looking into it tonight. The problem was that sometimes the body of the email wouldn’t make it to the new Calendar or Task item. Everything else, like the subject and the sender’s name would be fine, but the body of the new item would be blank.


The importance of presentation, part 3

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

I’ve mentioned before about how impressed I was by the difference made by improvements to the style and appearance of our revamped Annual Report last year. This week it was the turn of Solent Youth Action’s website to get the makeover treatment.

Have a look – this is before and this is after. The content is more or less the same, but the appearance has been massively improved, consistent with the style and colour scheme of the Annual Report.

It’s amazing what a difference it makes to how professional we seem. There is a lot more that we want to do with the website to make it more of a tool for the young people that we work with, but in the meantime this is a huge improvement.

Starting a new blog

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

I’ve been quiet this week because I’ve been working on the creation of a new blog. This one is a group blog that I’ve started for people that I work with on a software product called “WebSphere MQ”. It’s now live at

I went for a hosted service this time, rather than set it up all myself, so if I don’t have to worry about bandwidth usage if it proves to be popular.

And – also unlike this one – I actually bothered to customise the style of the blog and draw a custom banner image (my artistic skills truly know no bounds! ;-)).

Other than writing some posts for it myself, I’ve also been persuading colleagues to write me stuff, writing some of the static pages like ‘About’ and ‘Disclaimer’ to get it all ready, and double-checking our work guidelines on blogs to make sure I’m not breaking any rules!

Unless you have an interest in WebSphere MQ, it’s unlikely to be very interesting to you. But if you do, please take a look and add a comment.

(And if you work on WMQ and I haven’t badgered you already, please join in! Give me a shout with your wordpress ID and email address and I’ll add you to the list of authors. :-))