30 October 2009

Unchecked parents can't loiter in play areas

Just sent this comment to BBC Breakfast news about their item on parents who haven't been CRB checked not being allowed to loiter in supervised children's play areas:

"It seems very sensible to prevent non-CRB checked adults (be they parents or not) loitering around children's play areas. Being a parent and being a pedophile are not mutually exclusive, quite the opposite. Statistically the person most likely to abuse a child is not the media hyped loner lurking in the bushes but actually that child's parents, another parent or trusted family member or friend.

Possibly a more interesting question is why these parents who say they want to stay in the play areas don't get the CRB check. What are they afraid it will turn up?"

21 October 2009

JSA, not EMA

I recently heard through a local college that EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) may be scrapped because the administrative costs are too high. It seems to me that the best way forward would be to roll those on EMA on to the Job Seekers Allowance system. JSA is unlikely to be scrapped (unless it's replaced with something equivalent) and with the existing scale and infrastructure the additional administrative costs should be minimal.

I have therefore started a petition to the prime minister to scrap EMA and allow those who are/would be entitled to claim JSA. I am aware, from people I know who are JSA claimants that the job centres already let people 'sign on' over the web or to simply come to the job centre and swiping a card. Either this could be carried over to the pseudo-EMA claimants or perhaps the colleges could be required to 'sign on' their students to maintain the requirement of attendance to get paid (though if it's a case of we'll pay someone to sit around and do nothing why should we stop paying someone just cos they miss a couple of days of a course?)


6 October 2009

British Computer Society Birmingham branch launch new website

I didn't know they had an old website so can't compare the new one to the old. There it is though: http://birmingham.bcs.org/

It does follow the new branding of the BCS.

Actually that I didn't know my local branch had a website is probably pretty indicative of the key problem the BCS has. Communication. They don't do it terribly well. Not with their members and especially not with employers. It seems to be the only professional body that isn't the de facto, if not de jure, requirement for advancement in the field they represent.

2 October 2009


Got the results for my PRINCE2 practitioner exam. I passed! Got 84% which is way more than I thought.

Some people at work commented that this is higher than the minimum score you need to become a trainer in PRINCE2. I have been thinking of asking one of the project manager's at work if he would like to collaborate on a book.

Aging population and working past retirement age

Sent this to BBC Breakfast as a comment, don't expect they'll read it out so posting here. They're talking out the aging population and people working past retirement age:

The downside of working part time past 'retirement' is that the way many benefits and pension schemes are set up means that any income from part time work will be taken out of your pension or other income.

I do agree that older people should be allowed to remain in work, I'll be 40 next year and expect to have to stay in work into my 70s. Perhaps the way to deal with the perceived competition for jobs between old and young is to look at the younger end for changes. We're already part way into the change. Rather than expecting the majority of people to leave full time eduction at 16 or 18 we should be encouraging them to stay in full, or close to full, time education longer. This does not necessarily mean 6th form or university, it could mean vocational training, apprenticeship, voluntary work or a mixture of these.

This could be continued into adult life where people could be supported in taking career breaks to study for career changes or development. We've moved from one job for life being the norm to many jobs in a career for life, perhaps we can now move to multiple careers in a life.