Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen,
For those of you that don’t know me, I am the OC Volunteer Software Development Team at HQ RAF Air Cadets. It was my team working closely with the Bader team to build and deploy Cadet Portal across the Air Training Corps.
I am following this thread with interest and what I am particularly pleased with is that the community is self-regulating and supporting Cadet Portal following its release which concluded on 6 Jan 20.
Key points from me from my perspective and to help those without direct SMS access (i.e. cadets):
How Cadet Portal Works
Cadet Portal displays live data which is pulled from the Bader Squadron Management System (SMS). This includes everything in the cadet’s profile, their rank history, qualifications and awards, training programmes, Squadron downloads and most importantly events.
Any changes made in SMS are automatically pushed out to Cadet Portal as appropriate and this is instantaneous (although, as with all web-based systems, you may need to refresh your screen).
If the Squadron has created an event or been invited to an event in SMS, it is their responsibility to review the event and then make the decision to advertise it to the cadets through Cadet Portal. So everything to do with the local release of events is a local Squadron issue.
As lots of other people have commented, there could be many reasons why events have not been advertised. Some reasons will be absolutely valid, for instance when the unit is unable to support the event due to a lack of staff or transport.
If you are concerned that events are being published in SMS but are not displaying in Cadet Portal, you can raise a Service Desk Ticket at https://rafac.sharepoint.com/sites/interim/help/Lists/Service%20Requests/NewForm.aspx
You will need to provide event links, a clear description of the problem and ideally screenshots if possible (as with any other type of IT support ticket). We can’t diagnose if you don’t explain.
Instructional Videos and Training
SMS and Cadet Portal Instructional videos can be found on SharePoint at:
SMS - https://rafac.sharepoint.com/sites/smsportal/SitePages/SMS-Instructional-Videos.aspx
Cadet Portal - https://rafac.sharepoint.com/sites/cadetportal/SitePages/Cadet-Portal-Instructional-Videos.aspx
The same videos are available to both cadets and staff through the relevant courses on Ultilearn. These courses have been professionally authored and are really good for teaching you how to use SMS events and Cadet Portal properly.
We also have lots of supporting resources on Bader SharePoint at: https://rafac.sharepoint.com/sites/cadetportal/SitePages/resources.aspx
Squadron/Wing Direct Support
If you would like to arrange a specific support event with us, we can arrange that through Microsoft Teams. We attend (mainly virtually) lots of staff training courses and Wing conferences regularly and we can provide you with an overview and training on how things are working. If you have a group of Squadrons that want to club together, we can do that as well (and that would be better for us - we cannot support 981+ Squadrons coming to us individualy).
How cadets (and parents/guardians) can challenge locally
The complaints procedure is outlined in ACP 20 Personnel Instruction 501 which can be accessed directly from Cadet Portal under Downloads: https://rafac.sharepoint.com/:w:/s/interim/QM/Eex9QL5dFdpFgeS8CaEcCdQBcfqkKVmQQFGM8_LNTDE0rw?e=TUtYTi
What this procedure says is that the correct route to challenge [a lack of events being added to Cadet Portal] is to speak to the local Squadron Commander or another staff member to find out why.
If you are not happy with the response you receive, you should escalate your concern to your Sector Commander or other Wing Staff Officer as appropriate. I appreciate this can be difficult, but that is the correct route to take. Ideally, we would like all of these issues resolved at the local level by communicating politely and effectively.
In exceptional cases, if you really don’t feel comfortable going to your staff or higher to speak to the about Cadet Portal, please drop me a PM on here to outline your concerns. As a minimum, I will need to know which Squadron you are from - I can’t do anything without that information and I will do what I can from our end.
Note: That will not include ringing your OC to tell them off and you will not be in trouble!
Cadet Portal is a massive cultural shift for the ATC and it has only technically been fully live across the Corps for less than a month. My wife is a primary school headteacher and she reckons it takes 4-7 years to change the underlying culture of a school - and we are trying to do the same with an organisation of 50,000 people with very limited resource