27th May 2011 at 01:00

Taking the BIS

A warm welcome to the latest stage of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' engagement with the trendy world of social media: the BIS blog.

Observers were particularly pleased to see that comments are enabled, so there could be real debate on its pages. It brings to mind the scene in The Thick of It, where shadow minister Peter Mannion enquires how his blog is going, only to see comments denouncing him as a crook, love-rat and holocaust denier.

"This is the trouble with the public, they're fucking horrible," he wails.

BIS is promising some fairly strict moderation, so FErret suggests smuggling in secret messages via acrostics, if you must.

Russell: hard as FAQ

Speaking of insubordination, a curious passage can be found in the frequently asked questions (FAQ) about changes to minimum contract levels (MCL) published by the Skills Funding Agency.

Question: "Geoff Russell has promoted the idea of `hard federations'. Could you define what a `hard federation' is and if it applies to the MCL policy?"

Answer: "The agency would not use the word `hard' in relation to federations because it implies there are several types whereas really there is just one definition."

Naming Geoff Russell solely to contradict him seems particularly gratuitous when this is the only public reference FErret can find to the Skills Funding Agency chief executive supposedly promoting hard federations.

Anyway, Mr Russell is having the last laugh: Kingston College and Carshalton College announced a hard federation last week after taking the agency's advice. No word yet on whether the FAQ writer has been forced into a hard federation with his local Jobcentre.

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