Volunteer Development Team - New Cadet Portal


#161

AIUI, the portal is simply a window into SMS - it does not “keep” its own data as you suggest. A cadet will be able to check their own personal details for accuracy (not not to modify it). That is one of the key advantages as I see it: allowing cadets to highlight inaccuracies helps us preserve the integrity of the user’s personal data.

What is presented in the activities management part will, I suspect, be limited.


#162

Hi All,

Apologies for my somewhat “snarky” previous post (my new favourite word) - we have had an interesting few days getting ready for the Command Board that took place this morning (more on that in a sec). I have read all of the comments above and I am listening as appropriate.

Key points from my side:

  • If cadets don’t bother themselves to check Cadet Portal, they will miss out on the chance to receive information and find out about the latest and greatest away from the Squadron environment. I am confident that most Squadrons are very good at keeping their cadets informed, but this isn’t always the case and we are trying to provide you with an approved, sanctioned and official mechanism to communicate with the cadet en masse without the need for social media platforms, email and other forms of communication outside of the organisations control;

  • I would argue that Cadet Portal actually enhances cadets data security for all of the reasons raised above including the RFCA contractor/ACF case studies. The only data that cadets see about other cadets is their rank and name on the list of returns, so as far as the Data Protection Act (2018) (which includes the GDPR provisions within it), there are no issues as a rank/name is not classified as PII. And, as many of you have stated, this is already being done via the notice on the wall…

  • We are not trying to create a virtual cadet force and I personally think this argument is nonsense. We are just providing a fair and transparent way to access information.

  • Yes, Cadet Portal will require SMS to be better maintained and up to date in line with the existing policy - the pressure to achieve that is just going to be coming from a different direction/source i.e. the cadets themselves. If you want to argue the point about the policy, feel free to raise it as a concern with RCN on the VoV threads on SharePoint.

  • As someone pointed out, Cadet Portal is not the data source, SMS is - so if it is on SMS, it can be presented to the cadet through Cadet Portal

Command Board
The Cadet Portal agenda item at Command Board took place this morning at 0900-1000 hrs.

We had VDT members in attendance via Skype and the guys were in Northumberland, Sussex, Tyne and Wear and Norway. I delivered the presentation and live demonstration to the Board via the Bader guys computer (i.e. I was controlling their PC) that they shared via Bader Skype for Business.

Firstly, I can say with some authority that this is the first time volunteers have attended the Command Board in this way using the technology available through the Bader platform - and in fairness, it all worked. So that’s a brand new live system (on our Pre-Prod site on the Bader infrastructure) being demonstrated to senior staff via Skype for Business! I was impressed anyway!

The reception was extremely positive and there were excellent questions from the various Regional Commandants, COS and Comdt RAFAC throughout the demonstration. We have permission to carry on with Beta and then a Corps-wide deployment pending any corrective action from the MOD/RAF security and pen testing that needs to happen.

Next Steps
We still have quite a lot of development to do for MVP and we will be working on that. We produced an MVP Constitution at the outset of the project which is essentially our “promise” of what we were looking to build into the initial release. I need to review that and then assign tasks to the developers (I would point out that I am not a developer, but the VDT Lead - I couldn’t code my way out of a paper bag!!) as appropriate.

We need to prep for pen/sec testing and then implement any changes they require. Oh and my wife is due to give birth to our second in the next couple of weeks, so I need to get this demo video finished and approved so I can cut the number of demos down and keep you all informed on where we are. I will get some time to work on that today :slight_smile:

So, apologies once again if I came over as obtuse, that wasn’t the intention, it has just been a stressful week!

Best,

J


#163

Congratulations on the success of the Command Board @james_elliott! Excellent work!!!


#164

And congrats on the second kid! (or is that commiserations? :wink: )


#165

From a cadet POV, it looks very good! Definitely will help organisation of events etc.

Apologies if i’ve missed something, but will there be a noticeboard feature implemented? Might be able to completely replace FB groups and allow for quick change of parade night uniforms, change of plans etc to be communicated quickly.


#166

Good luck with both your babies!!!


#167

Well done on that, Didn’t know we had a Sqn In Norway.


#168

Yep, eventually it will advertise events that the squadron is doing, allow cadets to sign up to them, and have announcement features


#169

I think you will have succeeded at the command board because they; haven’t got to do anything, won’t cost them anything and can deny all responsibility if it goes breasts up.
I’m still missing the benefit except for cadets that don’t attend regularly, hence the virtual Air Cadets comment. It would grate if cadets got to hear about things and, cut squadrons out of the loop.
As for finding out why cadets select when to and not to come, it would seem they pick the so called “fun” things and this is where I’ve always worked on the lines of cadets who turn up for the not so fun things get priority over those who pick and choose.
I can’t see cadets updating details either.

If so can it be linked to actual attendance at the squadron, ie not been, can’t sign up. I could see a lot of unhappy cadets when they are told; not been, not going and I can’t see many COs thinking this sort of thing is OK. Attending the squadron and seeing what is going on has to be a reason to be in the ATC, having virtual sign up sheets is an absolute nonsense IMO. We have a closed FB but the only time anything other than community events gets a mention, is a contact ‘x’ if you cannot make it. Had a few unhappy cadets when they’ve turned up, seen something where the sign up has closed and they can’t go. but they get a clear message and I tell parents the same.
One of the main stays of any volunteer organisation and benefiting from it is getting a reward after putting in the graft. Take being part of say a sports team, doing all the training and not getting picked, but the lazy sod who turns up once in a while gets picked all the time, yet not being any better than you. That is how this seems to me.

As a question do schools allow students to update their details on the school IMS? if not why is it something cadets can? The other laugh is that HQAC have rammed the MOD and security and data protection thing for staff, but here is something seemingly over rides all that, because some oldies in Cranwell want to be down wiv da kids.


#170

Did you also miss the benefit when we switched from chalk and slate? How about when we started using email?

What’s the difference between that and a physical one? Or putting a notice out on Facebook? You can still reject people!

Nothing is overridden! For starters there’s no offence in giving people access to view their own or non-protected data. If you bothered to read above then this has already been covered.

Stop picking holes where they don’t exist for the sake of complaining because it’s the only joy you have in life.


#171

I imagine you complained when females were allowed to join the Corps too? You strike me as that type of person.


#172


#173

Now now people - remain civil.


#174

I’m not sure many were fully in favour given that girls in the ATC was initially a 2 year experiment with massive restrictions and limited squadron involvement. I was a cadet and our squadron wasn’t part of the experiment, so no thoughts either way. We had a GVC unit at the squadron and had known girl “Air Cadets” for as long as we had been cadets.

But thanks for jumping on the bandwagon anyway.


#175

It means the cadet will have access to all of the information - including JIs if made available, without having to bother you - this could mean greater uptake of events as there is a more accessible path for information to get home.

Cadets hear about things before staff now due to social media vs CoC dissemination, you will have the choice as to an event appearing on the Cadet Portal or not, so nothing is bypassing the staff!

There would be no need for the SATT Course SMS event to appear in Cadet Portal, as it’s a Staff course - and the system is being designed to allow this.


#176

I for one can’t wait for the Cadet Portal to become live. There are a few sqns and one in particular in my wing where the cadets are treated like mushrooms. They only get to do what their CO allows. The portal will allow all to see and the RAFAC offers it cadet and not what the CO allows…


#177

I personally would like the option as an OC to control what events are visible to my Cadets for several reasons.

Their may be a reason we as a Squadron aren’t taking part/aren’t supporting a particular Wing event. (Prioritising our own being the obvious reason normally). But also because in my Wing some people seem to invite every Squadron to everything on SMS and the Cadets would therefore be swamped in rubbish. (I know I am!).


#178

I don’t get that mentality at all if I’m honest. Surely the whole point of being an OC is to ensure, where possible, every cadet gets the opportunities out there; staff availability permitting of course.

The only time I ever withhold passing on information is if I have cadets who do not meet the eligibility criteria or if its an activity we have to bid for and requires we provide staff (flying etc) and we cannot supply those staff (or registered civ com). In those situations I most certainly will not give details out as it gets the hopes of cadets up and then it is dashed.

So its very good there is going to be a mechanism in place where we can stop that information being given out without the staff first being able to support it, but there must also be oversight surely to ensure OC’s don’t “bin” announcements because they have the " it’s my train set" mentality or the “we don’t do that because I don’t like it” mindset.


#179

Just a thought - could you not simply allow staff accounts access to the portal? I appreciate that a few things would be missing (with PTS in particular) but it would allow us to get the hang of ‘driving’ the system and check that it’s doing what we think it is.

I’m not sure if you’re just being deliberately obtuse here, but surely anyone can see the very obvious difference between viewing/editing the personal data of a whole squadron and your own personal data.


#180

No, I don’t think that would work. Again, the easiest way is to ask a cadet to login and show you their account.