Frequently Asked Questions

A Fact Sheet for NYCC schools

The following frequesntly asked questions are provided to help you choose your MIS and FAS Systems. 

Management Information Systems - A Fact Sheet for NYCC schools

Background

The vast majority of North Yorkshire maintained schools currently use the Capita SIMS MIS and the current contract ends on the 31/03/2017. Some schools are using other MIS systems.

What do I use my MIS system for?

It’s used to keep a record of all your pupils details, attendance, assessment marks and progress, SEN, Behaviour, plus Staff details including Single Central Record information.  Secondary schools in addition use their MIS for Timetabling, Cover, Exams Management and Options.

Why a Framework?

We very much recognise schools should have choices so instead of a re-procurement exercise for a single product it was decided to use the procurement process to produce a Framework of MIS products.

A  Framework gives information about products and prices and negates the need to carry out a further procurement exercise. Schools can choose to take a product from the Framework or they are free to approach suppliers directly and conduct their own procurement.

How do I find out more?

Suppliers with products on the Framework have been invited to attend ‘Information Days’ at the end of the month which will give you the opportunity to ask any questions and see demonstrations. We will also be talking about your options at the Admin & Finance conferences (Feb 7th & 8th). Suppliers may also have on-line sales information.

Timescales

We do need everyone to tell us which software they will be using from April 1st.  The current predominant MIS software supplier, Capita SIMS, has been successful in their bid to be included on the Framework so if you want to stay with SIMS then the current licence will be renewed.  However if you wish to change to a new supplier we will provide a customised quote which will include set up and data migration costs in the first year. 

Changing Times!

Taking into account the tight timescales and the possibility of changing circumstances we recognise that schools may want to move to a new MIS product at a time which suits them or because the school is changing status (federation type arrangements or conversion to academy status).

However please note there may be a cancellation fee from the incumbent supplier. We can give you an indication of this fee at the point you request a quote.

Things to bear in mind:

Network capacity and Broadband availablility

When you look at products on the Framework you will need to ensure that your current ICT infrastructure can meet the ‘needs’ of a product.

Price

Is going to be a very important consideration when you look at products on the Framework.

You will be looking for ‘added value’ and will be looking for greater functionality in areas that will make a difference to you and the school if you are going to possibly pay a higher price.

Less obvious costs

A change of software invariably means a significant investment on your part.

There might be a need for several days training which carry both a cost and time commitment and going forward it will probably mean taking longer in the short term to complete jobs until you are fully confident and familiar with the software.

There may then be further time and cost investments needed when you approach significant events such as Year End.

Transfer of information

Each MIS supplier on the Framework has provided prices for transferring information from any MIS sytem to their MIS.

Sometimes the less time consuming choice is to ‘start again’ and see the new product as a way of ‘data cleansing’ and a way to ensure that you have accurate and up to date information.

If you decide to start again then the obvious option is the start of the academic year in September. If not then you need to take into account the time needed to re input data for the year so far.

Future Proofing

We all like to plan ahead but trying to second guess the product which will suit the school in 1, 3, 5 years time is very difficult. It is because of this that the Framework contract has the series of break points in the call-off contract template, which allows a school not to continue with a particular product, subject to the six months written notice being provided.

Support

The MIS Team are committed to continuing to provide first line support for your choice of MIS. Our priority now is to gain ‘hands on’ experience of the MIS products in a North Yorkshire school context. Where we are unable to solve issues or find workarounds we will be referring our queries to second line Supplier Support.

Training

We will pull together a training programme as soon as we know about your choice of product.  For those who want to make a change for 01/04/2017 we recognise that training is extremely time critical.

 

Key Considerations

 

Cost

How much is the software going to cost in terms of license (initial and future years) and are there any extra costs for parts of the software that may be included in my current MIS?

Are there any implementation/installation and/or data migration/transfer costs?

Familiarity

Does the software use different words and terms to the ones I’m used to and understand?

Functionality

What do I need the software to do?

Will it give me everything I need or do I need additional modules?

What do I want it to do which will enables me to deliver ‘added value’ in school?

Infrastructure

What capability does my server need? What’s my Broadband capability?

Future Proofing

If circumstances change can I move to a product that better suits my future needs?

Should I be looking for a product which might suit future circumstances?

Or should I look at what suits my needs best now as I don’t know what the future holds?

Links

Does the software ‘link’ to other systems used in school? Anycomms?  ParentPay?

Training and Support

How many training days will be needed, immediately and going forward?

Who will be supporting me in using the software– first line and second line?

Does the supplier have experience of working with schools?

Financial Accounting Software - A Fact Sheet for NYCC schools

Background

All North Yorkshire maintained schools currently use RM Finance and the current contract ends on the 31/03/2017.

What do I use RM Finance for?

RM Finance is used to record income and expenditure and provides information about current spending. It provides a ‘snapshot’ of where you are now and reporting information about your individual budget accounts.

It is not used to calculate staffing, funding or other costs which feed into your three year financial plan. This is done using the web based Budget Planning Software (BPS). The BPS is also used to produce the monthly budget monitoring reports which predict your financial position at the end of the current financial year.

Why a Framework?

We very much recognise schools should have choices so instead of a re-procurement exercise for a single product it was decided to use the procurement process to produce a Framework of financial accountancy software (FAS) products.

A Framework gives information about products and prices and negates the need to carry out a further procurement exercise. Schools can choose to take a product from the Framework or they are free to approach suppliers directly and conduct their own procurement.

How do I find out more?

Suppliers with products on the Framework have been invited to attend ‘Information Days’ at the end of the month which will give you the opportunity to ask questions and see demonstrations. We will also be talking about your options at the Admin & Finance conferences. Suppliers may have on-line sales information.

Timescales

We do need everyone to tell us which software they will be using next financial year by Wednesday 15th February for the start of the new contract period on 1st April 2017. We fully appreciate that such a short turnaround is not ideal for anyone.

Timescales are very tight because we need to ensure that we can support you to be able to undertake your accounting processes including payment of invoices, produce VAT returns and complete Bank Recs after 01/04/2017 and that you will be able to transfer data between your FAS and the BPS to produce budget monitoring reports. As yet we do not had opportunity for ‘hands on’ experience of the financial software products in a North Yorkshire school context – this is about to become our highest priority!

Changing Times!

Taking into account the tight timescales and the possibility of changing circumstances we recognise that schools may want to move to a new finance product at a time which suits them or because the school is changing status (federation type arrangements or conversion to academy status).

The call-off Contract order template at Schedule 1 to the Terms and Conditions of Contract has been drafted in such a way as to provide schools with a series of break points in an arrangement. In order to trigger one of these break points the school must provide their supplier with 6 months prior written notice to the break point, that the school does not intend to continue with the arrangement.

Things to bear in mind:

Change whatever!

When you look at the products on the Framework you will see the current accounting software supplier, RM Finance, has been successful in their bid to be included on the Framework but you will find that the product is different. The procurement process has ‘overlapped’ with RM’s planned development and improvement programme of the software. The software will be moving to a web based platform (which means you can do your finance wherever there is access to the internet). The updated software maintains ‘User familiarity’ and operates on a ‘cash book’ single entry basis. As part of the developments RM have ensured that the move from the current version of RM to the new version of RM can be achieved without any loss of data or additional work for the User.

Network capacity and Broadband availablility

When you look at products on the Framework you will need to ensure that your current ICT infrastructure can meet the ‘needs’ of a product.

Skill set

Many of the products you will be looking at will be using ‘double entry’ and require a reasonable understanding of formal accounting practices and protocols.

Price

Is going to be a very important consideration when you look at products on the Framework.

You will be looking for ‘added value’ and will be looking for greater functionality in areas that will make a difference to you and the school if you are going to pay a higher price.

Less obvious costs

A change of software invariably means a significant investment on your part.

There might be a need for several days training which carry both a cost and time commitment and going forward it will probably mean taking longer in the short term to complete jobs until you are fully confident and familiar with the software.

There may then be further time and cost investments needed when you approach significant events such as Year End.

Transfer of information

The suppliers on the Framework have provided prices for transferring information from RM Finance to their FAS.

Sometimes the less time consuming choice is to ‘start again’ and see the new product as a way of ‘data cleansing’ and a way to ensure that you have accurate and up to date information.

If you decide to start again then the obvious option is the start of the financial year. If not then you need to take into account the time needed to re input data from the start of the financial year to the point in time when you start using the new product.

 

Future Proofing

We all like to plan ahead but trying to second guess the product which will suit the school in 1, 3, 5 years time is very difficult. It is because of this that the Framework contract has the series of break points in the call-off contract template, which allows a school not to continue with a particular product, subject to the six months written notice being provided.

This means that if your circumstances change in any way you will be able to give six months written notice and use that time to plan how you will move to a new product.

Support

The FMS Team are committed to continuing to provide first line support for your choice of FAS. Our priority now is to gain ‘hands on’ experience of the financial software products in a North Yorkshire school context. Where we are unable to solve issues or find workarounds we will be referring our queries to second line Supplier Support.

Training

We will pull together a training programme as soon as we know about your choice of product. For those who want to make a change for 01/04/2017 we recognise that training is extremely time critical.

If you decide you would like the updated RM Finance software then the transfer, including data, from the current version to the web based software will take place during the Summer Term and appropriate training materials will be provided.

 Key Considerations

Cost

How much is the software going to cost in terms of license (initial and future years) and are there any ‘add on’ costs e.g. additional modules, additional Users etc.?

Are there any implementation or installation costs?

Skill

Do I need to understand accounting principles and protocols?

Does the software use ‘language’ and ‘terminology’ I understand?

Functionality

What do I need the software to do?

Will it give me everything I need or do I need additional modules?

What do I want it to do which will enables me to deliver ‘added value’ in school?

Infrastructure

What capability does my server need? What’s my Broadband capability?

Future Proofing

If circumstances change can I move to a product that better suits my future needs?

Should I be looking for a product which might suit future circumstances?

Or should I look at what suits my needs best now as I don’t know what the future holds?

Links

Does the software ‘link’ to other systems used in school? Anycomms? Budget Planning software?

Training and Support

How many training days will be needed, immediately and going forward?

Who will be supporting me in using the software– first line and second line?

Does the supplier have experience of working with schools?

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