Policy anomaly – Use of Unique Pupil Numbers within DPA

This may be of interest to anyone working in a local authority (or a school). I have noticed an anomaly in the DfE UPN Guidance, which arises because there is another guidance document which clarifies things.

I was recently asked for advice by the Systems Development Manager who is responsible for the ICS (Integrated Children’s System – children’s social care system) in Trafford. Her question was about whether a Unique Pupil Number, collected for the purpose of the annual Children In Need census return to the DfE. I checked the UPN Guidance update 2010 which suggested that you could not store the number.

I came to this conclusion through reading the document, and in particular the paragraph which states that “The UPN should not be regarded as an automatic adjunct to the pupil’s name, routinely appearing on any record or document relating to them”. It goes on to state that ” the UPN to be designated a “general identifier” under the Data Protection Act 1998, rendering its use by any organisation for any purpose unrelated to education illegal”.

However, (this is the interesting bit) the second para of page 14 the Guidance Notes for the completion of Children In Need Census 2012-13 actually states that “Once obtained, the child’s UPN may be retained on the Local Authority Social Services database for the purposes of returning the information to the Department.” Since the census is annual and social care cases may well be open for longer than a year, and because it doesn’t state that you should remove it once the return is sent, this would seem to imply that the number can continue to be stored there.

We have decided that this usage in the guidance for this year is in line with the general UPN guidance from 2010, in that this is not “routinely” using the number, and is for a specified purpose. It is still in line with the Privacy Notice issued for schools to issue to pupils and parents. I have checked the guidance for previous years, and this has been the case since 2010! This will save a lot of work for the team responsible for the return, as they will now be able to keep UPNs and those children who are unfortunately included on the CIN census for more than one year will automatically be available, reducing the number of children who will need UPNs populating.

I just WISH that the guidance issued by the same departments would be consistent!!!
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cpd23 – Thing 3: Considering my personal brand

OK, OK, I know. I’m a bit late on this “Thing”, but I think that’s probably a good place to start when thinking about who I am. Because basically, I’m a very busy person, who says yes too often, and finds interesting, distracting, absorbing things everywhere! More on that in a minute.

So – first things first, I did a quick google of my name to see exactly how I come across on the World Wide Web. A Google search for me in the UK finds the following results on the first page:

  1. The journal article version of my MA dissertation on the Emerald publication Aslib Proceedings.
  2. Not me
  3. LinkedIn results page for the three people in the UK with the same name (I appear 2nd)
  4. Not me
  5. Not me
  6. Not me
  7. My Just Giving profile
  8. A set of procedures published on a webpage from work
  9. Not me
  10. Not me

Not too bad. The next page of results produced another 6 results (including a photo of me after a charity run!), another et of work procedures, two of the individual Just Giving pages, a book review (from 2005, but still), and my profile on WhatDoTheyKnow.com. Third page of results includes even more – work things, and the first mention of my CILIP involvement with local Branch.

So what didn’t appear? Well, my Facebook page for a start. I think this is due to my personalised URL for my Facebook page being based on my nickname, a shortened version of my name. Twitter also doesn’t appear, which is more puzzling as my profile does use my full name. (Even a search for my name plus the word “Twitter” didn’t find my profile).

I was pleasantly surprised that this search resulted in these pages as most present my professional life, and the exception of my charitable giving through organised sponsorship is also something I’d like to publicise.

But is it a problem that I don’t have a consistent “brand”. Well, despite my involvement in this particular thing, no, I don’t think it is! I keep my Facebook page for my personal life – my friends and family can choose to follow my professional blog here if they wish (they don’t!), or follow me on Twitter where I might have the odd professional musing. When I first started CPD23, I tried using my original blog. And then I got to “Thing 3” and I rethought that.

My “other” blog had started because I wanted to try blogging, but wasn’t sure what to blog about. I left it blank for a whole year, before deciding just to blog about things I enjoy. This turned out to be mostly baking, sewing, and learning new craft like crochet. So I wasn’t sure whether the CPD stuff would fit. I am a very busy person – as well as the above hobbies I am also a member of an amateur competitive cheerleading and dance team, and my other half is currently living in Leeds studying for an MSc/PhD! I was concerned that if I had more than one blog I wouldn’t keep up with everything. But a chat on Twitter with a fellow info professional (and one of the people responsible for cpd23) convinced me that I probably could manage two blogs.

This blog was born! I decided to use a different platform to the one I use for my “personal” (for want of a better word) blog, partly because I couldn’t work out if I could link another email account, or use a different photo. I wanted a photo of me in my professional life for this one – but I still haven’t got around to asking someone to take one! I will do this soon…

I don’t currently feel the need to align my blog to anything else I have out there, because my Facebook and Pinterest are personal, my Twitter is a mixture, LinkedIn is not something I can brand, and at the moment I am blogging here fairly anonymously (although people who know me would be able to identify me of course). I haven’t yet decided how anonymous this will be as I do want to blog about work stuff which I might not be wise to do publicly (because of sensitive nature of things), but I may experiment with private posts.

This was an interesting exercise – not least because it validates the voyeuristic googling of oneself! I think I am happy with my brand, but I will certainly be more aware of it in the future.

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cpd23 – Thing 2: Investigate some other blogs

I have been investigating the blogs of the other participants of cpd23 since early May, but it’s only now I’ve gotten around to blogging about it.

I was waiting to see if there would be any other Information Governance style people who would join, and so far I have found one sort of link in someone working in Records Management. Mostly, people are starting out, and there’s a fair few blogging newbies out there as well as more confident/established bloggers.

I was also pleased to see it isn’t just me who’s getting a little behind with the course, and there are some who confess to starting out but not carrying on last year!

There is an interesting mix of librarians out there too. Some graduate trainees (welcome to librarianship!) and some who have been in the profession for longer than I’ve been alive (sorry!)!

The people I’ve met so far have seemed very friendly and approachable. When I initially started my cpd23 journey on my personal blog, two cpd23 participants commented on my blog and were really very nice. Similarly, posts I’ve commented on which have then been commented on too, have been commented on with very welcoming posts.

What a friendly lot we are! I’m looking forward to this (and I promise to try my very hardest to keep it up!)

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cpd23 – Thing 1: Blogs and Blogging

As I explained in my post yesterday, this is a new blog to capture my professional thoughts, and was brought on by Thing 3 in the cpd23 course. In a way this is Thing 1 – Blogs and Blogging (see here for more details about this “Thing”).

However, I already did a post for Thing 1 over on my personal blog, so here is what I wrote:

When I set up this blog, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to write about. I’d heard most about blogs at professional networking events with CILIP, my professional body (Chartered Institutes of Library and Information Professionals), and liked the idea of blogging professionally. But the blogs I’d stumbled across during random searching seemed to be about craft, or cooking or both! And there are also some great lifestyle blogs too. So, given that one of my worst traits (according to the O.H.) is my inability to choose or decide on anything (I blame my mother!), I decided that this blog would cover all aspects of my life.

After university, I decided to train as a librarian, and here I am 10 years later still in the profession, but not quite where I thought I might be. I work as an Information Professional, but in Information Governance rather than librarianship. I am passionate about the subject, but sometimes don’t really enjoy my job, as it can be a challenge to get people to prioritise information governance over “day to day work” – although really you shouldn’t separate the two.

I chartered in 2008, and am in the process of (finally) putting together my revalidation application, although that’s a real challenge. Being someone who plans ahead, I decided I’d do cpd23 in 2012 as something to put in to my NEXT revalidation application! It’s something to think about in any case, and given that this is my very FIRST professional blog post, it might encourage me to be brave and blog about professional issues. (Something has stopped me so far). 

I am also looking forward to “meeting” others in the LIS world, particularly as lots of us seem to be in very non-traditional roles, and given that’s me as well, it’s nice to see the breadth of subjects/sectors our profession covers.

So, I’ll be popping back here to do the cpd23 activity set by the course, and hope to see some of you along the way.

If you’d like to visit my personal blog (lots of cake, sewing, crochet and hopefully some other bits and bobs about my life), please do. You can find it at http://www.justmichthatsall.blogspot.co.uk

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A new start…

Last year, I created my first blog. And then I didn’t do anything with it. Earlier this year, I decided to make a start, but I wasn’t quite sure what to write about. I have a lot of things going on: work, CILIP Branch committee, mentoring, cheerleading, baking, crochet… the list goes on. So I decided I would keep a general blog and write about whatever takes my fancy.

Then I saw a Tweet to announce that cpd23 was running again this year, so I decided to sign up. Off I went, but then I wasn’t sure. A lot of the blogs seemed very focussed to library and information work. Noone seemed to be using a general blog. Hmm.. I carried on regardless.

And to begin with this was nice. I got a fair few comments on my blog about Herman the Friendship Cake. But then, I still wasn’t sure. Something didn’t feel right.

Finally, during a #chartership chat last night I was convinced. It IS possible to manage more than one blog. Given I’ve not blogged professionally yet, I think maybe this is the push I need. Some people won’t mind the odd bit of cake or craft blogging (what is it with home crafts and library and info professionals???), but others will want a more professional approach. And I agree.

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