Spring Term 2024 update

The spring term has been hectic for us at WhichMIS? and we thought as we rapidly approach the end of term it might be a good idea to offer a refresh on what we’ve been up to for the past few weeks.

On the 1st day of BETT, Bromcom announced their Northern Ireland contract win to provide their MIS for over 1,000 schools, with a migration plan to complete before the end of this year!

Then we come to the ESS decision announcing to schools that they could not use their SIMS backups to migrate schools’ data into another MIS, despite this having been standard practice for many years.

Bromcom had already taken the lead in this battle and had fired the first shots offering a full indemnity to schools and by applying to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to halt what they describe as ‘this anti-competitive behaviour by ESS Ltd.’ Click here to read the article.

A few days later Arbor published an open letter, they launched what they are calling the ‘Arbor Switching Guarantee’ which has, as its leading position, the statement that ‘Arbor will take legal responsibility when you transfer your school data to us via backup file.’ and they promise to cover a school’s SIMS licence cost until the contract ends in March 2025. Click here to read the article.

We now understand the both IRIS, with Isams & Ed Gen, and Compass are offering a similar guarantee.

On 15th February we published ESS’s response. Click here to read the article.

We’re now seeking the opinion of schools and MATs on this important issue, which we plan to publish separately and if requested to keep comments anonymous. So if you have a view of this subject, please contact us at hello@whichmis.com.

We also interviewed some of the MIS senior leaders whilst at BETT and you can view their videos by clicking the links below:

Since September last year we’ve talking about the ethics around referral fees and have published 3 different articles. Click an image to read the article.

It was recently pointed out that referrals could breach the BESA code of conduct, which states:

We will never offer any inappropriate financial or other inducement, including direct and indirect payments, offers of employment or substantial gifts or entertainment, to any person in an attempt to influence any decision-making process which may affect our organisation or our industry.’

This Code of Practice is a mandatory membership commitment given by members to BESA. Each member is expected, as a condition of Membership, to meet the ethical standards provided for in this Code of Practice in that Member’s relationship with the Member’s customers.

For those not aware of BESA the British Educational Suppliers Association, is the trade association covering the entirety of the UK educational suppliers sector. It operates on a not-for-profit basis, and is accountable to an Executive Council that is elected by member companies. (www.besa.org.uk).

It has a 90-year heritage serving the UK education sector, and represents over 300 educational suppliers in the UK, including manufacturers and distributors of equipment, materials, books, consumables, furniture, technology, ICT hardware and EdTech to the education market.

It is our view that all support units will always do the best for their schools and recommend the best product, but if that is the case, why do some MIS providers pay referral fee and others not do so?

Surely the only reason they would pay a referral fee is because they think that the referral fee would help to get them more customers?

If we all believe that it’s not going to make any difference, why are they giving their money away?

Regulatory Compliance:

In some sectors, including local Authority traded services, paying referral fees is heavily regulated or even prohibited to ensure fairness and transparency. Companies must navigate these rules carefully to maintain compliance.

In conclusion, while referral fees can influence recommendations, they are just one of many factors that support units consider when advising schools on MIS products.

The ultimate goal for support units is to find the best fit for the school’s needs, regardless of incentives.

Why Subscribe?

WhichMIS? is an online publication for schools, multi-academy trusts and the wider education industry.

It aims to present a balanced view of the MIS landscape in the UK, with views from all the key market players, as well as reviews, the latest news and expert commentary.

Subscribe free of charge to ensure you can access all posts, news items and articles!

Your Privacy is important to us