Tag Archives: legal

PAT Testing…

The future of mobile learning has to be in user owned technology.

From a sustainability perspective, no educational institutions (especially in the current economic climate) would be able to provide all learners with a mobile device or a laptop – even if they are getting cheaper!

However… sometimes the question of PAT testing student equipment arises from someone within the organisation. It is then decided that students can only bring in their laptops if they have been properly PAT tested or they can bring their devices in, but can not plug them in or in extreme examples students will be banned from bringing in their own devices.

I have read and checked the relevant legislation and I have phoned the HSE to confirm this.

There is NO legal requirement to PAT test student equipment, a formal visual inspection is sufficient under the current legislation.

See more details in this HSE leaflet.

The HSE were quite clear that they would not expect colleges to PAT test student devices.

Think about hotels for example, who NEVER PAT test guests personal laptops. Read this leaflet which has more information.

However… having said all that there may be good reasons to ensure that student equipment is PAT tested.

If you have an old building with rubbish wiring, it might make sense (from a risk assessment perspective) to PAT test.

Some insurance companies REQUIRE PAT testing, but check with your insurance company.

The answer to your H&S Officer is provide them with a proper risk assessment and the documentation from the HSE. Ask them to then explain why PAT testing is required beyond what is required under the legislation?


Ask H&S to set up PAT testing sessions for students, they want to do it, let them do it. Give them an indication of the session frequency required.


It actually doesn’t take that long or too much effort to train people to PAT test equipment, even the testing equipment isn’t that expensive. Train all relevant staff, Learning Resources, IT Technicians, other Technicians, teaching staff!!!! and get them to do the PAT testing.

Finally ignore all the “smart” people who tell you that PAT testing is an example of redundant acronym syndrome syndrome.

Disclaimer: ALL information containing in my post is for informational purposes only and should never be construed as legal advice. For proper legal advice you should consult a lawyer.

Infringement of Copyright

I have in the past delivered a fair few workshops on Copyright for JISC Collections, at ALT-C and across the country.

One question I am sometimes asked is “how easy is it to get caught” and “what will they do”. Most cases I know of which involve FE have been settled way before it gets to the court (or the press); however now and again cases involving copyright infringement do come to court.

This case is interesting because of the defendent, well they should know better, and the accusation that they ignored the concerns of the company involved.

FTS said it raised its copyright concerns with West Yorkshire Police in late 2006, but that the force and Hirst went on to repeat the alleged infringement in a 2007 update to their software, dubbed OLiVE. The package was made commercially available.

The issue with infringement of copyright is that the law is complex and surrounded by myths, so it is easy for any educaition provider and the staff who work there to at some point infringe copyright. They may do so accidently, they may do so thinking that they are okay too, or in extreme cases deliberatly infringe copyright. An institution needs to consider how it will react to any concerns that arrive at their door over cases of infringement of copyright. The key thing that you shouldn’t do, is ignore it and hope it will go away.

“This is James Clay live on the internet….”

Yesterday at the JISC Conference 2009 I decided during the Web 2.0 and Legal Issues session to ask my question on the use of Qik and as I did at the MoLeNET Conference I broadcast my question live on the internet…

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.801022&w=425&h=350&fv=rssURL%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fqik.com%2Fvideo%2F3d097652e0ac426e868960680bb0b414.rss%26autoPlay%3Dfalse]

more about “Qik | Live on the internet at JISC Co…“, posted with vodpod

I do think that institutions do need to be aware of the power of these technologies and ensure that they and their staff and learners have an awareness of the implications of such applications and devices.

JISC Conference 2009

On Tuesday the good and the great (and me) will be descending on Edinburgh for the JISC Conference.

JISC Conference 2009

Usually the JISC Conference is in Birmingham, this year for a change it’s North of the border.

I am flying up on Monday from Bristol, as the early flight on Tuesday is way too early for going up for one day; and there are pre-conference events on Monday too. There is a good programme and I am looking forward to it.

I am attending the session on student retention.

The need for improving retention is identified in the National Audit Office report on Student Retention (Feb 2008). The funding councils already provide additional funding to support institutions in meeting retention and widening participation targets. JISC projects have shown that technology has an important role in providing the administrative processes and support facilities that make learners feel better supported when starting a course in higher education. Several projects have demonstrated that the costs of small investments in technical infrastructure and processes can be covered by reducing student loss by just a few learners. This session will explore several examples of universities using technology to support students and, in doing so, helping to improve retention. We will hear feedback from the learners and discuss the potential of these approaches to make greater impact across the sector.

In the afternoon I am going to the Web 2.0 legal session.

Cultural perceptions about the relevance of legal issues in a Web 2.0 environment, and practical obstacles in locating authoritative resources about these issues, can present some of the biggest challenges in engagement with next generation technologies to support teaching, learning and research.

How do we encourage engagement by staff with these issues?

How can we engender a culture of mutual respect for creative works, as well as one recognising the need for pragmatism and a managed approached to risk?

Where can we go to find authoritative and appropriate resources and, once found, what tools should be used, when and how?

To address these issues the Web2Rights project, with support from JISC Legal, has taken an innovative approach by harnessing next generation technologies to develop an advisory toolkit and associated resources. Come along to find out more.

As per usual I hope to be blogging a few blog entries there, I will probably take a few photographs too, certainly will be Twittering and I may make a video or two…

Impact of Facebook on the Law

From JISC Legal.

One of the recent news articles looks at the impact social network software Facebook had on legislation this year. The article briefly discusses the impact Facebook has had through its user privacy polices, online marketing strategies and business practices at offices on the use of Facebook at the workplace.

More on this news article which would interest staff using social networking software at institutions in the UK can be accessed here.Impact of Facebook on the Law

Ripping CDs may be made legal

Here in the UK it is (still) illegal to rip a CD to your computer (so when using iTunes or Windows Media Player you are technically breaking the law if you import a CD).

Ripping CDs may be made legal

However the BBC reports that this may soon change…

Copying music from a CD to a home computer could be made legal under new proposals from the UK government.

Millions of people already “rip” discs to their computers and move the files to MP3 players, although the process is technically against copyright law.

This is of course of those things that we do on a regular basis, but is in fact still illegal, I would suspect most people don’t even realise it is illegal.