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Remember £250,000 spend on Virtual Reality Headsets for Schools? - Astonishingly Council has no record of them being used !!
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TOPIC: Remember £250,000 spend on Virtual Reality Headsets for Schools? - Astonishingly Council has no record of them being used !!

Re: Remember £250,000 spend on Virtual Reality Headsets for Schools? - Astonishingly Council has no record of them being used !! 3 weeks, 5 days ago #73

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------ Original Message ------
From: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Thursday, 21 Mar, 2024 At 12:46
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information(FOI) Request for Review - 2288-0977-4483-0049 - renewal/extension of any contract(software/maintenance/repair/replacement etc) with Avantis.

As previously advised my role is to represent the Council's interests in legal matters and as Monitoring Officer to identify any issues of lawfulness in Council actions.

It is for directors of services to exercise discretion (subject to appropriate delegation) in how their services operate and I would not interfere in that process unless issues of lawfulness arose.

Issues of value for money are properly addressed via the Council's internal audit process and scrutiny from the Audit Committee.

I am very well aware from my involvement in handling your various Freedom of Information requests relative to this matter and discussion in that context with the Chief Auditor and various officers of the Education Service that you have been supplied with all information held in this regard.

Services including Education review processes on an ongoing basis as indeed will schools operating under the direct management of headteachers who will make decisions as to the use of materials and equipment on a daily basis.

Correspondence already supplied to you reflects ongoing consideration by Education of future use of the equipment.

My own satisfaction that there is no illegality stems from consideration of all the various documentation which I have assessed in the context of the various FOI review requests and discussions with the Chief Auditor and Education officers with relevance to the matter.

Regards

Gerry Mahon

Re: Remember £250,000 spend on Virtual Reality Headsets for Schools? - Astonishingly Council has no record of them being used !! 3 weeks, 5 days ago #74

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------ Original Message ------
To: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Cc: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Monday, 25 Mar, 2024 At 09:24
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information(FOI) Request for Review - 2288-0977-4483-0049 - renewal/extension of any contract(software/maintenance/repair/replacement etc) with Avantis.
Cc: Craig Geddes

Dear Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement)

Thanks for this.

However as I am sure you are aware the processes you outlined have proved ineffectual in the scrutiny of 'Value for Money', as those involved have collectively chosen to stay silent and will not ask or seek answers to the question

Was The £249,875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

Again, it is difficult not to entertain the proposition that this matter is being stalled or worse by yourself and all below by choosing the same plan of action of remaining silent, in the hope that the matter will go away, in order to protect The East Renfrewshire Council 'Brand' .

Indeed there is no more stark evidence of this than the fact that the cyclical school cluster audits will not be completed until end 2028

(10 years after the £249,875.00 spend on 30/10/2017 and 5 years after initial inquiries in January 2023)

Again, I am sorry to have to raise this proposition , but after a year and no questions being asked/answered and even after your latest response, you can appreciate my concern.

Why are all below choosing to remain silent?

Mention of some use/occassional use/anecdotal use from persons, is not in itself evidence that the £250,000.00 spend on VR Class Headsets was Value for Money.

However, the files/facts from FOI Responses are mounting evidence that the majority of these VR Class Headsets were never used and you should ask and get answers to the question -

Was The £249.875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

Freedom of Information Ref: 9899-8892-9731-2744
Details of How, When, Where, Number of Times the headsets were used -

'Unfortunately, we do not hold the information which you seek. Under S 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act, I am therefore required to formally state that this information is not held'

Cyclical School Cluster Audit Report -

'It was noted that no subsidiary records are held to show when the VR headsets are in use....'


- Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) - Nothing to do with me

'As previously advised my role is to represent the Council's interests in legal matters and as Monitoring Officer to identify any issues of lawfulness in Council actions. It is for directors of services to exercise discretion (subject to appropriate delegation) in how their services operate and I would not interfere in that process unless issues of lawfulness arose.'

but happy to turn a blind eye to possible significant waste of Council Tax Payers Money?


- Director of Education - Nothing to do with me

'Services including Education review processes on an ongoing basis....'

There has been no review undertaken or report produced on of the use of these VR Class Headsets.

Director of Education will not ask or seek answers to the question

Was The £249,875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?



- Education Committee - Nothing to do with us

Education Committee will not ask or seek answers to the question

Was The £249,875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

There has been no questions asked at any Education Committee Meeting regarding VR Class headsets from March 2023 to date.


*See attached below request for Meeting Thursday 9 November 2023 Subject: Agenda Item 3 - Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy Report


- Chief Auditor - Nothing to do with me

The Chief Auditor via yourself (Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement)) has categorically stated and made it clear in their email response (10 October 2023) regarding the cyclical school cluster audit -

'For clarity, there was no commitment to carrying out an investigation or to comment on the cost of the headsets or whether they were considered value for money. '

(School Cluster ID and audit Dates
1 - St Luke's 2027, 2 - Mearns Castle 2026, 3 - Eastwood ????, 4 - Woodfarm 2028, 5 - Williamwood 2023, 6 - St Ninian's 2024, 7 - Barrhead High 2025)


The cyclical school cluster audits will not be completed until end 2028


- Audit & Scrutiny Committee - Nothing to do with us

Audit & Scrutiny Committee will not ask or seek answers to the question

Was The £249,875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

Although many requests have been made, there has been no questions asked at any Audit & Scrutiny Committee Meeting regarding VR Class headsets from March 2023 to date.

At 33:30 into the video recording of the 18 Januay 2024 Audit & Scrutiny Committee Meeting the Chair Andrew Morrison states -

'...the question that has to be asked... we are a scrutiny body... we challenge... we question things... and that's the job...'

If the above is true why then will the Chair and Committee members not ask and get answers to this question -

'Was The £249.875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers' ?

**See attached below request for Meeting 22 February 2024 Meeting Agenda Item No 5.


It is my belief that you as a Senior Manager (Legal & Procurement) do have a role to play in this and it is incumbent on you to inform

Director of Education, Education Committee, Chief Auditor, Audit & Scrutiny Committee

that the processes you outlined for scrutiny are proving ineffectual as those involved have collectively chosen to stay silent and will not ask or seek answers to the question

Was The £249,875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

Again, it is difficult not to entertain the proposition that this matter is being stalled or worse by yourself and all below by choosing the same plan of action of remaining silent, in the hope that the matter will go away, in order to protect The East Renfrewshire Council 'Brand' .


You did not answer - 'Would appreciate if you confirm that you are aware that the majority of these VR Headsets were never used.'


Your help will be appreciated as will an acknowledgement/response.



* Attached request for Meeting Thursday 9 November 2023 Subject: Agenda Item 3 - Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy Report


Subject: Agenda Item 3 - Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy Report - Education Committee Meeting - Thursday 9 November 2023 10:00am
'------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Monday, 6 Nov, 2023 At 13:56
Subject: Agenda Item 3 - Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy Report - Education Committee Meeting - Thursday 9 November 2023 10:00am
To: Education Committee Members

Cllr A Anderson - Chair, Cllr K. Pragnell (Vice Chair), Cllr T. Buchanan, Cllr K. Campbell, Cllr D. Devlin, Cllr C. Merrick, Cllr O. O’Donnell and Cllr G. Wallace
Education Committee Meeting - Thursday 9 November 2023 10:00am
Agenda Item 3 - Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy – Report by Director of Education (copy attached, pages 3-33).
The Education Department should not be marking their own homework.
Mark Ratter Director of Education wrote on 10 February 2023 regarding the cost and use of these Class VR headsets -
'To date there has been no specific report on the use of the VR headsets. I can confirm that officers are currently evaluating the Education Department's Digital Learning & Teaching Strategy 2018-21 and a full report on this will be submitted for consideration at Education Committee later this year.'
Agenda Item 3 would appear to be the report to which he is referring.
Would appreciate if you will ask questions and get answers on the Value for Money and use of Class VR headsets designed by Avantis that cost £249,875.
Member of Education Committee Clr Kate Campbell wrote on 10 March 2023 regarding these headsets -
'I became aware of the said headsets a few months ago'
'and to that end I have been making some enquiries'
'as I tend to agree that questions need to be asked.'
These VR Headsets were purchased 30/10/2017 but in the 4-5 years 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and up to 23 October 2021 there is clear evidence these headsets were never used.
However, there is clear documentation of many issues within these years(Evidence given in further email updates)
There is also scant evidence of these Headsets being used from October 2021 to the current date.(Evidence given in further email updates)
Indeed the Education Department have written that there has been no recorded contact with Avantis on the use of said Headsets since 23 October 2021 to date.
'13/9/2023 - FOI 6885-9688-1138-2130
- 13/10/2023 - To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Can you confirm this 1 file is all the attachments? The last informtion given is for 23 October 2021.
Surely there has been contact with Avantis and Emails etc between Council Officials since then?
Thanks
- 17/10/2023 - Thank you for your email. Graeme Hay has advised that he will ask officers to check this information again. Unfortunately, some of the officers are on leave this week, however on their return on Monday 3 October, we will ask that they review all recorded information.
Kind Regards
Education Department
- 24/10/2023 - We have now checked with all officers and can confirm that there is no additional recorded information in relation to your request.
Kind Regards
Education Department '
After a £249,875 spend and in 6 years (2017 to 2023) only 1 example of these VR Class Heasdsets being used can be given in the Agenda Item 3 Report.
'Page 15
Improve access to digital technology for all learners.
Virtual reality (VR) headsets are providing motivating stimuli to enhance learning. For example, children use the VR headset to explore what they see, feel and hear in the Arctic to support their writing. Digital leaders use their skills in digital technology to teach skills to other children.”
Braidbar Primary School, HMIe Summarised Inspection Findings, May 2023'
'Page 16
Improve access to digital technology for all learners
All school-based learners have access to virtual reality technology, which has been specifically recognised as enhancing learning through recent inspection reports'
No evidence provided regarding above.
Page 21
Ensure that digital technology is a central consideration in all areas of curriculum and assessment delivery.
Children use confidently matrix barcodes and virtual reality headsets
No evidence provided regarding above Class VR Headset usage.
I will forward 2/3 further emails for background that provide mounting evidence that these Class VR Headsets have hardly been used and the £249,875 was not value for money.
Again, would appreciate if you will ask questions and get answers on the Value for Money and use of Class VR headsets designed by Avantis that cost £249,875.
An acknowledgement will be appreciated.
Thanks'


**Attached request for Meeting 22 February 2024 Meeting Agenda Item No 5.
Indeed, as Chair you were requested to ask these questions at AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - 22 February 2024- Agenda Item 5, but you did not bother to do so(nor did any other member)
(Exract from email request)
'I would appreciate your help and cooperation in raising this matter and asking questions as requested.
Agenda Item No: 5
EAST RENFREWSHIRE COUNCIL - AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - 22 February 2024 - Report by Chief Auditor
INTERNAL AUDIT PLAN PROGRESS REPORT 2023/24 QUARTER 3
Appendix 2
INTERNAL AUDIT - REPORTS AND MEMOS ISSUED 2023/24
MB1195/NS 10 Schools Cluster Williamwood - Education
Date Audit Started - 27/7/2023
Date Report/Memo sent - 12/1/2024
Date Reply Due - 16/2/2024
The Chieif Auditor has written 'Report will be available once a satisfactory response is received from the Director of Education confirming whether the recommendations are accepted or not.'
The Chief Auditor in their FOI 5897-2918-4533-7989 response produced documentation confirming the lack of use of these VR Class Headsets, many issues from Day 1 over the 4 years 2017 to 2021 and beyond, and Staff/Teachers reluctance to use these VR Class Headsets.
This is all well documented in the documents sent to you.
Report Reply from Director of Education was due 16/2/2024.
... please ask following questions at Agenda Item 5 -
- ask for copy of Report
- ask for reasons why no reply has been received
- ask when reply is expected
- ask why the majority of these VR Class Headsets were not used
- ask why majority of Staff/Teachers did not use the VR Class Headsets
ask -
This is a serious matter with the Chief Auditor confirming the lack of use of these VR Class Headsets and again I would ask that you ask and get answer to the question -
'Was The £249.875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers' ?
In light of the overwhelming evidence provided to you that these VR Class Headsets were hardly used, ask the Director of Education to give an explanation.'

But as with all previous meetings nothing was done.'


Thanks

Re: Remember £250,000 spend on Virtual Reality Headsets for Schools? - Astonishingly Council has no record of them being used !! 3 weeks, 3 days ago #75

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++++++
Similar requests were also sent to Committee Members
Tony Buchanan (Vice-Chair), Provost Mary Montague and Councillors Paul Edlin, Annette Ireland, David Macdonald and Gordon Wallace.
++++++

------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Cc: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Wednesday, 27 Mar, 2024 At 08:55
Subject: AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MEETING - 28 March 2024- Please Help in progressing action on question - was £250,000 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money ?

Cc: Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) - Gerry Mahon

Dear Chair Audit & Scrutiny Committee - Cllr Andrew Morrison

AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MEETING - 28 March 2024

The Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) - Gerry Mahon has stated in their email to me on 21 March 2024 at 12:46 -

'Issues of value for money are properly addressed via the Council's internal audit process and scrutiny from the Audit Committee. '

It is now over a year since you as the Chair and the members of the Audit & Scrutiny Committe were requested to ask and get answers to the question

Was The £249,875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

However, despite requests, you as Chair and Members of Audit & Scrutiny Committee, have declined to ask any questions or get any answers at any Audit & Scrutiny Committee Meeting since March 2023.

I would ask

- that you give an update in your Chairs Report regarding asking and getting answers to the question -

Was The £249,875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

- give an update in your Chairs Report regarding Cyclical School Cluster Audits not being completed until 2028

(School Cluster ID and audit Dates
1 - St Luke's 2027, 2 - Mearns Castle 2026, 3 - Eastwood ????, 4 - Woodfarm 2028, 5 - Williamwood 2023, 6 - St Ninian's 2024, 7 - Barrhead High 2025)

(10 years after the £249,875.00 spend on 30/10/2017 and 5 years after initial inquiries in January 2023)

- give update on the statement made by Chief Auditor -

The Chief Auditor via yourself (Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement)) has categorically stated and made it clear in their email response (10 October 2023) regarding the cyclical school cluster audit -

'For clarity, there was no commitment to carrying out an investigation or to comment on the cost of the headsets or whether they were considered value for money. '

I would also request that you ask The Chief Auditor about their statement above and Cyclical School Cluster Audits not being completed until 2028 at Agenda Item 7

EAST RENFREWSHIRE COUNCIL - AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
28 March 2024
Report by Chief Auditor
INTERNAL AUDIT STRATEGIC PLAN 2024/25 TO 2028/29
Page 105
EAST RENFREWSHIRE COUNCIL
Internal Audit Section
(School Cluster ID and audit Dates
1 - St Luke's 2027, 2 - Mearns Castle 2026, 3 - Eastwood ????, 4 - Woodfarm 2028, 5 - Williamwood 2023, 6 - St Ninian's 2024, 7 - Barrhead High 2025)


As said many times previously

I do not understand why you as Chair and members of A&S Committee and the Chief Auditor decline to ask and get answers to the question

Was The £249,875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

As the Chair you stated regarding the Audit & Scrutiny Committee-

'...the question that has to be asked...we are a scrutiny body... we challenge... we question things... and that's the job...'

and the Audit and Scrutiny Committee is responsible for ensuring Value for Money is being obtained -

East Renfrewshire Council Scheme of Administration
FUNCTIONS OF STANDING COMMITTEES
9. The standing committees of the Council shall have the following areas of responsibility:-
Audit & Scrutiny Committee
(n) to examine the activities and accounts of the Council in order to ensure that
(a) the expenditure approved by the Council has been incurred for the purposes intended,
(b) services are being provided efficiently and effectively and
(c) value for money is being obtained;'


, I am still having difficulty to understand why yourself as Chair and other members of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee and Chief Auditor will not ask and get answers to the question -

Was The £249,875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

You have been previously been provided with all the relevant information and would ask that you read this information.

Your help in progressing this matter promptly will be appreciated.

Thanks

Re: Remember £250,000 spend on Virtual Reality Headsets for Schools? - Astonishingly Council has no record of them being used !! 3 weeks, 3 days ago #76

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------ Original Message ------
To: "Blair, Michelle" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Cc: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Wednesday, 27 Mar, 2024 At 12:23
Subject: AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MEETING - 28 March 2024- Please Help in progressing action on question - was £250,000 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money ?

Cc: Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) - Gerry Mahon

Dear Chief Auditor - Michelle Blair

AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MEETING - 28 March 2024

The Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) - Gerry Mahon has stated in their email to me on 21 March 2024 at 12:46 -

'Issues of value for money are properly addressed via the Council's internal audit process and scrutiny from the Audit Committee. '

It is now over a year since the Chair and the members of the Audit & Scrutiny Committe were requested to ask and get answers to the question

Was The £249,875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

However, despite requests, Chair and Members of Audit & Scrutiny Committee, have declined to ask any questions or get any answers at any Audit & Scrutiny Committee Meeting since March 2023.

It is also now over a year since the Chair Audit & Scrutiny Committee contacted you.

As Chief Auditor you have not spoken at any Audit & Scrutiny Committee Meeting regarding asking and/or getting answers to the question

Was The £249,875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

or

regarding Cyclical School Cluster Audits not being completed until 2028

I would request that you give update to Audit & Scrutiny Committee at Agenda Item 7 -

'Agenda Item 7
EAST RENFREWSHIRE COUNCIL - AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
28 March 2024
Report by Chief Auditor
INTERNAL AUDIT STRATEGIC PLAN 2024/25 TO 2028/29
Page 105
EAST RENFREWSHIRE COUNCIL
Internal Audit Section
(School Cluster ID and audit Dates
1 - St Luke's 2027, 2 - Mearns Castle 2026, 3 - Eastwood ????, 4 - Woodfarm 2028, 5 - Williamwood 2023, 6 - St Ninian's 2024, 7 - Barrhead High 2025)'

- give an update regarding Cyclical School Cluster Audits not being completed until 2028

(School Cluster ID and audit Dates
1 - St Luke's 2027, 2 - Mearns Castle 2026, 3 - Eastwood ????, 4 - Woodfarm 2028, 5 - Williamwood 2023, 6 - St Ninian's 2024, 7 - Barrhead High 2025)

(10 years after the £249,875.00 spend on 30/10/2017 and 5 years after initial inquiries in January 2023)

- give update on the statement made by yourself -

The Chief Auditor via yourself (Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement)) has categorically stated and made it clear in their email response (10 October 2023) regarding the cyclical school cluster audit -

'For clarity, there was no commitment to carrying out an investigation or to comment on the cost of the headsets or whether they were considered value for money. '

- give update giving reasons why you will not ask and/or get answers to the question

Was The £249,875 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

Your help in progressing this matter promptly will be appreciated.


Thanks

Re: Remember £250,000 spend on Virtual Reality Headsets for Schools? - Astonishingly Council has no record of them being used !! 3 weeks, 3 days ago #77

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Chief Auditor would appear to have contacted Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) - Gerry Mahon. This would appear to be his response sent to Chief Auditor but, inadvertently also sent to myself ?

------ Original Message ------
From: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Wednesday, 27 Mar, 2024 At 12:40
Subject: Re: AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MEETING - 28 March 2024- Please Help in progressing action on question - was £250,000 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money ?

Just acknowledge - my e-mail will go out later today unless Steven pulls it for some reason

Gerry


------ Original Message ------
To: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Wednesday, 27 Mar, 2024 At 13:18
Subject: Re: AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MEETING - 28 March 2024- Please Help in progressing action on question - was £250,000 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money ?

Hi Gerry

Would appreciate if you can give some info on this.

Steven?

Why would they 'pull it' ?

Thanks

------ Original Message ------
From: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Wednesday, 27 Mar, 2024 At 13:42
Subject: Recall: Re: AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MEETING - 28 March 2024- Please Help in progressing action on question - was £250,000 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money ?

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it would like to recall the message, "Re: AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MEETING - 28 March 2024- Please Help in progressing action on question - was £250,000 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money ?".


------ Original Message ------
To: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Wednesday, 27 Mar, 2024 At 14:53
Subject: Re: Recall: Re: AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MEETING - 28 March 2024- Please Help in progressing action on question - was £250,000 spend on VR Class Headsets Value for Money ?

Hi Gerry

Ok

Re: Remember £250,000 spend on Virtual Reality Headsets for Schools? - Astonishingly Council has no record of them being used !! 5 days, 14 hours ago #78

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------ Original Message ------
From: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Thursday, 28 Mar, 2024 At 16:07
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information(FOI) Request for Review - 2288-0977-4483-0049 - renewal/extension of any contract(software/maintenance/repair/replacement etc) with Avantis.

I write in response to the undernoted message but would also take this opportunity to advise of the Council's position regarding further communication on this matter.

As you are aware , there has been a significant volume of correspondence on this issue between you and various officers across a number of Council services.

This correspondence has on occasion taken the form of requests for recorded information under the Freedom of Information regime but on others has reflected more general questioning, comment or criticism of the position of the Council and its officers in relation to this matter.

Officers have returned to you outlining their positions but this has generally generated further communication from you challenging those positions.

These communications from you are generally considered to be lengthy, demanding and persistent and are having a prejudicial effect on officers' ability to address other work allocated to them.

It is the Council's view that having outlined its stance, there is little of any value it can further add to the dialogue without rehearsing information already discussed.

We have noted your position and your views on the use of the VR headsets.

We are satisfied that the Council's own internal scrutiny function is adequately sighted on these issues and there is sufficient ongoing oversight of the use of these materials.

In light of the above, the Council would now intend to invoke its Unacceptable Actions Policy.

As such, I would ask that you desist from communicating further with officers on this matter.

If further communication on this topic is received officers will be advised not to respond to nor acknowledge the same.

Please be advised that this does not affect your statutory right to make requests for recorded information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

These requests will be honoured by the Council and will obviously be subject to rights of review and appeal as is currently the case.

If you disagree with this course of action you are of course at liberty to appeal this decision.

In terms of the Council's policy any such appeal should be addressed to the Chief Executive and made within 5 working days of receipt of this message.

Yours sincerely
Gerry Mahon


------ Original Message ------
To: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Friday, 29 Mar, 2024 At 08:19
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information(FOI) Request for Review - 2288-0977-4483-0049 - renewal/extension of any contract(software/maintenance/repair/replacement etc) with Avantis.

Hi Gerry

Sorry, just twigged that you sent your email below late Thursday afternoon and -

'East Renfrewshire Council
17 h ·
Our offices are closed on Friday 29 March and Monday 1 April, and will re-open on Tuesday 2 April at 8.45am.'

Again, when you are back in office would appreciate prompt response.

Enjoy your break.

Your help will be appreciated.

Thanks

------ Original Message ------
From: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Wednesday, 3 Apr, 2024 At 11:07
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information(FOI) Request for Review - 2288-0977-4483-0049 - renewal/extension of any contract(software/maintenance/repair/replacement etc) with Avantis.

I can confirm that the council is amenable to extending the appeal timeframe from 5 to 15 days.

Regards
Gerry Mahon
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