I hope you are all keeping safe and well in these strange times of isolation and self-distancing. It looks as though we are set for a few more weeks of it, so I hope you have mechanisms in place for coping with the physical and mental health stresses we are all likely to be under. I hope your colleagues, friends and managers are being as supportive as you need them to be.
I’ve read with interest the exchanges on the ADSO forum recently and I take away two big things from this. Firstly that DSOs and governance officers continue to be extremely resilient and capable in coping with change and challenges. That has always been the case within my experience and I am pleased to note how that continues to be the case. A colleague of mine a long time ago, who was new to committee work, once told us how we underestimated our own importance. To be honest she was slightly ridiculed at the time (probably out of group self-deprecation) but the fact remains that DSOs are indeed very important parts of the local government machine – so don’t forget it!
The second thing is simply the practicality of hosting meetings. I have to admire you all the more as I have recently started hosting meetings for a hobby group of mine (photography). I had participated as a group member of various on line chats (including a meeting of the ADSO Board) and took it all for granted, but it is very much the case that this all changes when you suddenly become responsible for making it all work. In my case it is just for fun but in yours it involves statutory responsibility with the public spotlight firmly falling on you – so very much more important. I have to take my proverbial hat off to you for enabling local democracy to continue during these challenging, traumatic and sad times. For those of you with a technical curiosity I have been using Cisco Webex because of the alleged security fears of Zoom.
The forum continues to be busy, we created a “combined authorities” part to the forum so those members can discuss issues relating to CAs. So if you are a member of a CA please post in this part of the forum would be great to hear your experiences.
Following the publication of the The School Admissions (England) (Coronavirus) (Appeals Arrangements) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, ADSO and LLG have produced guidance on the meaning and impact of the new provisions. Our thanks to Joanna Boaler for her work on the drafting.
DfE have also issued their own guidance and both documents can be found on the ADSO website homepage.
Yours in democracy
Peter Savage, ADSO Company Secretary