Craig Ball on Ed Balls’ Ofsted Balls-Up

January 6, 2010

My apologies to those of delicate sensibilities who might take this amiss. It is, I accept, insensitive of me to do this to you at the beginning of an article. There is no choice, I am afraid – I must return to the Ofsted “stuck in the photocopier” story. Did you think I was referring to my apparently uncouth title? If you visit an Anglo-Saxon site you must expect some Anglo-Saxon language.

My heading made itself, anyway. Craig Ball is the well-known US e-discovery consultant and fearsome commentator, a Special Master and a Forensic Examiner. He and I are allies in the battle on both sides of the Atlantic to increase understanding of the rules, and of the technology available to aid compliance with the rules. Ed Balls is the egregious Children’s Minister whose intemperate dismissal of Sharon Shoesmith, Director of Children’s Services at Haringey Council, gave rise to the proceedings in which the “stuck in the photocopier” excuse was raised. Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, a party (along with Haringey and Ed Balls) to Shoesmith’s application for judicial review of the decision to dismiss her, and the outfit whose capacious photocopier was the alleged hiding place for 2000 missing pages. Balls-up is a kind way of referring to the daily conduct of entities like Ofsted, as well as to the failure of the long-term mission implicit in its name – educational standards have plummeted in the last decade, and Ofsted’s spineless incompetence is partly to blame. Read the rest of this entry »


Heavy snow provides an illustrated interlude between heavy articles

January 6, 2010

The friendly rivalry which exists between US and UK e-disclosure experts and commentators goes beyond questions like “Who can produce the most ludicrous excuse for non-compliance with the rules?”

Over the Christmas break, Gabe Acevedo of Gabe’s Guide to the e-Discovery Universe published a photograph of the table outside his window, using the depth of snow on it as an index of the overnight fall. We may not quite have matched that depth last night, but we are catching up:

This morning’s weather is a severe test of resolution for one who likes to work at an open window:

Transport is something of a problem round here just now. If all else fails, these trusty steeds are a couple of minutes away:

Port Meadow is a dusty plain in summer and a lake in winter. Today it is a snowy waste land:

Normal service, in the form of words rather than pictures, will be resumed shortly.

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