back to article Devon County Council techies: WE KNOW IT WASN'T YOU!

Devon County Council has pointed the finger of blame at a "new IT printing system" for a letter littered with spelling mistakes that informed a father he was being fined for taking his son out of school in term time. penalty notice from Daniel Moore - used with permission. Do not reuse without his permission The letter Daniel …

Anonymous Coward

Woohoo - precedent !

Now everyone at Devon CC can send letters to their boss congratulating them on being an class act, missing spell class to with another C word and blame the printer.

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Re: Woohoo - precedent !

Like your wit, misspelling a “funny” response to an article about spelling mistakes... great “deliberate” error

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FAIL

At the very least the writer of the letter could have said "oops, sorry about that I was really busy and doing 2 things at once." Not only does this acknowlege the issue but sublty suggests that its actually a permissable mistake.

The fact they screwed up and then tried to blame someone else is just pathetic personal ethics.

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Aaiieeee The fact they screwed up and then tried to blame someone else is just pathetic personal ethics.

I think you mean “...is modern politics.”

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I'd be surprised if Mrs Dawn Stabb (who sounds like someone to avoid in the wee small hours) had actually typed the letter herself - presumably they have some boilerplate text somehwere.

In fact it looks a bit to me as if the boilerplate text was moved from their old system to the new one by OCR from a printed copy. Could explain a lot...

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OCR errors could explain the missing characters in notie, amountof and cred but not the swapped or incorrectly typed characters in hte, guitly, dteailed and issus.

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It should also be a form letter, so they just need to enter the pupil's and parent's details into it and the rest remains the same, so somebody ballsed up the template, by the look of it - either that or the education department should do take basic Office courses!

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Headmaster

I think you mean “...is modern politics.”

Modern?? you will find this kind of crap is the pages of Punch from the 1840s there is nothing new about it.

Wiki Punch (magazine)

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the swapped or incorrectly typed characters

Good point. I've often seen "e" and "s" confused (as in "issus"), but the transpositions are odd.

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"The fact they screwed up and then tried to blame someone else is just pathetic personal ethics."

Indeed, this kind of "casual lying" is pervasive in society today. It should not be accepted, especially from official bodies such as representatives of the people since it hints at a greater general dishonesty.

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Anonymous Coward

Spelling!

Four spelling errors in second sentence -- pot and kettle? Or some kind of post-modern joke?

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Re: Spelling!

Muphry's Law:

"If you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written."

(and yes, it's supposed to be spelt like that)

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Headmaster

Spelt?

Spelled!

Spelt is a type of grain.

;o?

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Re: Spelt?

spelt - past and past participle of spell

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Headmaster

Re: Spelt?

spelt - past and past participle of spell

Depends on which side of pond you live. If you use "spelt" as such, then "gotten" probably grates on your nerves.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Spelt?

>then "gotten" probably grates on your nerves

Gotten is still quite widely used in UK regions - our soft lad's just gotten himself six month for mitherin't fire bobbies..

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Re: Spelt?

"spelt - past and past participle of spell"

I just looked in my pantry, spelt - pasta.

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Demonstrates clear lack of initiative or creativity - Marked as E minus

A good PR spokesidiot would have stated that, "Unfortunately the head of education has been using an Apple MacBook Pro with known keyboard issues, which resulted in bad typing".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Spelt?

Would that be the pasta particulate?

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Anonymous Coward

I thought the idea of a signature was to indicate that you "own" the content of the letter. Can she be voted out?

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Coffee/keyboard

"Mrs Dawn Stabb (who sounds like someone to avoid in the wee small hours)"

Bravo! Bravo!

.

.

.

Now you owe me both a new keyboard and a fresh cup of coffee

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Anonymous Coward

OCR, seriously?!?

To transfer forms from one system to another?!?

The NHS has no hope then...

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OCR systems usually have a spell checker, so problems tend to be errors that are correct spellings of a different word.

Also, for a letter of that length, it would be quicker to type it than OCR it anyway.

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You will be amazed at what OCR can do, having seen what I have seen the past ten years, besides misreading. Not only dropping text, but adding text that is not there on the page or the entire book as well. ... That being one of the reasons why I think, excuse me, know we are doomed when Artificial Idiocy will take over the planet.

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Anonymous Coward

Perhaps someone in DCC could let El Reg know discreetly how many copies of this template letter have been sent out ha ha!

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But if it misses there is no harm done.

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Happy

Re: Spelt?

onefang I just looked in my pantry, spelt - pasta.

No, spelt - P-A-N-T-R-Y, I think you'll find.

You're welcome.

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Happy

Re: OCR, seriously?!?

Excuse me Doctor, is this a word you have written , or an EEG trace..?

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That was my thinking. Reprimand her for incompetence, then fire her for lying.

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Update on the router fix

I dust off my Router Text-Change software (a simple piece of code that simply watches packets go by and occasionally introduces a spelling mistake or adds a zero to the end of a figure

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Re: Update on the router fix

... citation needed ;p

(Ok, we all know the BOFH episodes)

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Garbage In, Garbage Out...

..but obviously not any more!

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The BOFH was there!

All Hail the Mighty BOFH!

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3rd party

They may well be using a 3rd party letter printing service which is supposed to check the letter, print it, put it in an envelope and post it. Doesn't excuse the badly written letter in the first place, mind.

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Re: 3rd party

Increasingly common these services, many GP letters use it too.

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Thumb Up

Re: 3rd party

From the looks of it, these 3rd parties are not local operations, but have been outsourced to a country where English is not the primary language (and quality control is not a priority)

..also: lowest bidder...you get what you pay for (best case)

I had the joy of attempting to pay a medical bill online today. One pop-up window after another, and the last one had nothing at all in it! Until I switched browsers to Windows Explorer. But that was only the beginning of my troubles. The fill-in-the-payment-details dialog proceeded smoothly enough, until I was confronted by a space marked "Date". What it meant, it turns out, was credit card expiration month...but not the usual drop-down, you typed in a number, then had to click on a popup (of the same number)...sort of a truncated drop-down. The year entry was even more bizarre. Pretty much all of the Windows standard conventions for data entry and editing were violated. I'm guessing offshore code, and cheap code at that (or the owner's grandson)

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Re: 3rd party

In the last 5-6 years I have twice dealt with government websites (one local, one national), where the ONLY way to get them to work correctly was with obsolete versions of Internet Explorer.

The local government one wouldnt work with anything beyond IE6, the National one was slightly more advanced and could cope with IE 7,8, or 9.

However the latter was the biggest PITA, because it didnt fail until the VERY LAST entry in the form I was submitting, and then failed silently with no error message beyond a technical fault had occurred.

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Facepalm

Re: 3rd party

A story about four people named Everyone, Someone, Anyone and No-one.

There was an important job to be done and Everyone was sure that Someone would do it.

Anyone could have done it, but No-one did it.

Someone got angry about that because he thought that it was Everyone’s job.

Everyone thought that Anyone could do it, but No-one realised that Everyone wouldn’t do it.

It ended up that Everyone was angry with Someone because No-one did what Anyone could have done!

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Re: 3rd party

" the ONLY way to get them to work correctly was with obsolete versions of Internet Explorer."

"But, but but, MS is the standard, not this new fangled w3c standards checker thing!"

I used to have a lot of fun with twats like that by invoking the blind web browser with a braille interface who now had an open and shit case for discrimination. It seldom worked in getting the twats off their high horses, but it sure as hell rattled the shit out of local government administrators who had visions of "breach

of legal duty of care" being slapped on their arses,

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Anonymous Coward

Thanks, Labour

So much for "Education, education, education".

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Coat

Re: Thanks, Labour

So much for "Education, education, education".

Should that not be:

"Educaion, eductino, eduaction"

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Re: Thanks, Labour

Wikipedia has incomplete records for recent Devon County Council elections, but they appear to have been Liberal Democrat after 1997 and before 2009, since when they've been Conservative. And UK.gov put the screws on state school term-time holidays in 2013 (and I'm disinclined to disapprove). So, "thanks, Labour" not so much. Good news is that there won't be any state schools left soon, and, leaving your daughter in the pub after a good lunch - presumably still fine, and by "fine" I don't mean money taken off you. Unlike Devon Conty Cuncil.

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Re: Thanks, Labour

I don't think you can blame the council for the quality of the letter, though you can certainly blame them for the piss-poor excuse. If you look closely you'll see the contact is 'within Babcock LDP', a firm of educational consultants.

On second thoughts, you can blame the council: they outsourced the enforcement of their statutory obligations to a private company who employed someone unable to use a spell checker and took a slice of taxpayers' money as private profit. It also seems to be a private company which is owned by a chain of other Babcock limited liability partnerships, possibly culminating (the chain is too tangled for me) in a Babcock Corporate Secretaries Limited which holds interests in over 200 companies in the services, aircraft and arms sectors. Sounds like a nice little earner.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thanks, Labour

Wikipedia has incomplete records for recent Devon County Council elections, but they appear to have been Liberal Democrat after 1997 and before 2009, since when they've been Conservative. And UK.gov put the screws on state school term-time holidays in 2013 (and I'm disinclined to disapprove). So, "thanks, Labour" not so much.

That's sophistry and we both know it. The political make-up of a county council has no bearing whatsoever on the hegemonetic politics of the ATL. Nice try, though.

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Re: Thanks, Labour

It also seems to be a private company which is owned by a chain of other Babcock limited liability partnerships, possibly culminating (the chain is too tangled for me) in a Babcock Corporate Secretaries Limited

Part of Babcock International plc, formerly world renowned engineering firm Babcock & Wilcox. How the mighty are fallen. From being proper, skilled engineering types, to scabby, illiterate "support services" twats ripping off the parents of schoolkids by virtue of poorly conceived and written laws, through partnerships with the morons of local government.

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Re: Thanks, Labour

Minor point of order but I believe that is their corporate company Secretary for their various limited companies, a statutory officer and separate to shareholding

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Re: Thanks, Labour

Babcock International Group plc is the top of the chain. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The CEO gets a salary of £2m for their efforts.

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Anonymous Coward

It's Devon, they probably think spell check is the work of the devil.

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>>It's Devon, they probably think spell check is the work of the devil.<<

It'll be Auto 'Correct' thats the doings of Beelzebub

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Joke

It's Devon, they probably think spell check is the work of the devil.

As a Devonshire boy I resemble that comment and lob a turnip in your general direction ;->

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