Volunteer Software Development Team - New Cadet Portal


#340

Just saw the video, great job guys👍🏽


#341

Thanks and I will pass that onto the Bader Developers for you :slight_smile:


#342

We’re cooking on gas today!

New TG21 video also uploaded to YouTube today :slight_smile:


#343

Quick update from us:

  • Penetration and Security testing on Bader (including Cadet Portal) was completed last Sunday by 90 SU. The report will be issued some time in January but the RAF pen tester said there were no ‘significant issues’ - which isn’t massively helpful so we will have to wait for the report to be issued and then take corrective action as appropriate.
  • We are currently working on the cadet being able to edit their profile information (address, email, phone numbers etc) which we are hoping is going to be in the first release - we were going to leave this until after the Corps-wide roll out but I think we have time to do it now
  • We have implemented some changes to the homepage to include a list of events the cadet is signed up to and a list of events added/modified in the last 7 days
  • The nominations from the RCs for their 2 Squadrons to take part in Beta are due by this Friday and I will be communicating with the nominated Sqns over the Christmas Break and early New Year
  • We are investigating the idea of text message (SMS) support for Cadet Portal which would bring a new capability to communicate with parents/guardians. Very early stages on that though and no promises.
  • We have implemented a series of random images on the login page which change per visit based on approved images supplied by HQ Media Comms.
  • SPOL is being migrated (again) in January and we really need that to be completed so we can generate the annon links for Cadet Portal.
  • VDT are meeting at Cranwell in early Jan for a working weekend. I have been invited by the CACWO to address the WOs national conference at RAF Wittering on the same weekend and I will be asking them to support Cadet Portal by producing some quality video content on dress and drill stuff e.g. how to mould your beret, how to polish your trousers etc etc.

@MattB You have your wish! We have implemented additional information from Cadet Portal to SMS on things like special diet requirements etc.

So here is CP on an iPad and you can see there is a box where the cadet can enter information then press save details. This box only appears after they have added their name to the event. If they go back and revise that information in the future, as long as they press save details, it will be fired over to the SMS nominal roll:

…and here is SMS showing the data

So, all is progressing well and no major hiccups at the moment!


#344

Hi,
Ref cadet changing details.

Is this the cadet changes their details I.e. their mobile number, their email.
Or will they be able to edit their address and parents / NOK details.

I don’t want to sound like a pessimist (honest) But genuinely I have on Sqn now and have had on my previous squadrons cadets who cannot write their own address, do not know where they live and do not know parents contact details.

What protections will be in place to ensure the continued validity of NOK details.

If the poo hits the fan and I need mum’s number then and immediately and for whatever reason SMS is the only way ican get it (for the precise people out there, let’s just scenario that the consent forms have been incorrectly driven off in another vehicle for example), the details have to be correct.

CFAVs cannot be held responsible for data they no longer have control over.

It’s all looking good though.


#345

Hi there,

We submitted two recommendations to Command Board:

(1) That the cadets be able to edit some of their personal data like address, home telephone, mobile, email etc without staff intervention

(2) That cadets be able to edit NOK data but there MUST BE AN APPROVAL MECHANISM BY STAFF IN SMS.

Your logical next question is “how do we validate that change as staff?”. My initial response would be “how would you validate it now?” Since cadet records are often updated on the cadets say so ie “sir, my dads new number is XYZ, can you update my record please” etc.

The reason we are looking at things like SMS text messaging is to text the parents to inform them of changes where appropriate ie for NOK data changes…

Does that help?


#346

We verify details by being adults who can read and write.

My point is and I can’t really overstate this.
If you have educationally challenged cadets who WILL tinker with things they suddenly get access to and they edit details thinking they are helping or another reason, we as staff will have to go in and double check all the changes.

I know this might seem an unlikely scenario for some. But as an organisation we take all sorts and believe me there are cadets who can very well use IT and so will master this system.
But you give them access to change something it will get ballsed up.

I couldn’t give a fig what they change their email or their mobile to.
But if they change NOK details and make a mistake it could and eventually will have consequences somewhere in the Corps.

We are talking about giving 12 year olds access after all.

Not all cadets are Dacre winning sky God future prime minister’s.

Some… God forbid are, mentally challenged, losing, future society drop outs

THIS IS THE TRUTH WE RARELY ACKNOWLEDGE
It’s not a failing on us but we have to at least acknowledge it for things such as this.

Sorry to be blunt.


#347

You do seem to be preaching to the converted though, as James has already said that staff will have to approve a change.


#348

Only if option 2 above is selected.


#349

Personal data is not the same as NOK data; they are two separate recommendations.


#350

However we want to term something… so long as if a cadet changes a NOK detail in sms staff are at least made aware that is all.

Like I said the rest looks great.


#351

I am only trying to protect the most vulnerable cadets from themselves!


#352

So, BOTH of the recommendations above have been accepted by Command Board. SOME data the cadets can be edited without the need for staff approval. ANY NOK data changes MUST be approved by a member of staff. So anything relating to parent/guardians contact data…


#353

Excellent.
Thanks For clarification.

This is looking like it will be a good success.


#354

Hurrah! We got there in the end! :smiley:

Just be clear, I am entirely sympathetic to your concerns and I understand why you are raising them - this is new and scary stuff and we are giving cadets the ability to change things which they generally couldn’t touch before and I am glad we are being challenged on how we are going to do this.

By the way of background:

The Command Board through RCN, our Project Sponsor, is really keen that we develop Cadet Portal not just for the lowest common denominator. We appreciate that cadets can do silly things through ignorance or pure stupidity, but we need to assume that they won’t and then deal with this by exception using the current rules, regulations and disciplinary procedures already enshrined in policy.

For instance, we are going to allow cadets the ability to upload a profile photograph which will pull through to their SMS record etc. If a cadet decided it was a good idea to take a photo of a part of their anatomy and upload that, we would expect Sqn Cdrs to deal with that appropriately using the tools they have at their disposal - for instance, PI 501 and the routes for disciplinary action available.

My personal belief is that as long as Cadet Portal is part of the cadets induction process and the disciplinary action which may be taken explained, the instances of sillyness will be very minimal. Our experience with running SquadronBox and MySquadron over the years have shown that cadets can be sensible and work within a structure…else they probably wouldn’t join the Air Cadets :wink:


#355

Being able to lock out the ability to make changes on a per-cadet basis would be a useful ability, even if limited to a higher formation that the squadron…

Hopefully in addition to the current, “official” photo that could, potentially, end up on a future cadet ID…

Plan for the best; prepare for the worst.


#356

Negative, we are not going to be doing that (just being honest)

You understand where this is going :wink:

Agree - as an emergency planning/business continuity management person - and I feel we have in that the Organisation has very comprehensive disciplinary procedures in place which you can wield at the Squadron level with quite a large degree of freedom, as long as you follow the proper process and guidance issued by the Organisation :slight_smile:


#357

I believe that it is a mistake to trust that the user will do as expected and relying on punishing people for their transgressions when steps can be taken in advance that would mitigate the problems systemically. This is not a slur on any cadets, just a realistic approach to ANY user of ANY system.

Would you expect a software developer to just tell a customer not to enter invalid values into a form, or would you have him the code in validity checks on the inputs? It is like putting those little plastic things in the wall socket when you have toddlers on the loose :wink:

However good the product is looking now, I worry that we end up not quite doing it right - same as always!


#358

A little off-topic, but they’re actually more dangerous than not using them at all.


#359

I understand your concerns - but let’s get real here for a moment. We can apply some logic within the system for some items of data the cadet may be able to update but without having a checking process for each and every change, the software won’t be able to tell if some data is correct or complete gash.

For instance, this is the sort of thing they will be able to change:

  • Address - there would not be a way of automatically validating this information unless we use something like a commercially available address database (i.e. input your postcode and choose your house from a drop down list) - which we won’t be able to do as the MoD won’t let us use one and it would be too expensive. I would love to be able to do this but we won’t be able to in this project.

  • Telephone number - we can put some logic controls in on the number of digits and whether or not it is a landline or mobile number, that’s fine - but other than that…

  • Email - we can validate the data in that it has to have an @ symbol and fit the right format for an email address - but they could just put in gibberish and that wouldn’t be the systems fault

  • Profile pic - We would not be able to do any kind of intelligent screening (without spending many ££s which we don’t have) of photos uploaded which is why we would be reliant on the Sqns keeping a check and then take action as appropriate

  • NOK data will all have to be checked by staff before the record is updated - which is no different to what you are doing on paper now

So, that leaves us with two options:

(1) Insist that all changes to any data require Staff approval and intervention as appropriate - which we believe will increase admin burden which is something all volunteers want to see decreased over time

(2) Work on the basis that infractions are dealt with by exception in line with the Organisations policies and procedures, trust the CFAVs to deal with it properly and give the cadets some credit…

I think we have a very reasonable solution with what the Command Board has approved but as you say, the proof will be in the pudding…