Orbit – a massive online paperwork system is closing!!

Orbit, arguably the biggest EYFS onine programme, has announced that it will no longer be operating from the end of the academic year unfortunately.

This isn’t the first time an online EYFS paperwork programme has folded, Mark Kahl from Baby’s Days claims Baby’s Days will never close because it’s a paid for system.  But don’t forget, Nobleminder was a paid for system but that one went out of business too; although admittedly in a very different and much more uncontrolled way compared to how Orbit have made their decision.

Orbit look to be doing everything they can to ensure people can remove their data and will hopefully soon be developing a bulk download option.  So there really is no need to panic and start printing of reams of work.

If you currently use orbit or have been affected by this then it’s probably a good idea to take stock of your paperwork system as a whole.  Did you know you can lose your Ofsted registration if you breach Data Protection?  You’d also face a very large fine from the ICO if they found you had breached data protection.

Edited 10.21am Thursday to add: Some people thinks this isn’t true, read an independent link here: http://www.ictknowledgebase.org.uk/dataprotectionandweb which explains even if you’re ICO registered and you back up, you’re still not carrying out your obligations under DPA.

Many people don’t realise that when they use Baby’s Days for every tiny aspect of their business there is the very real chance that they are breaking Data Protection everyday.  As users enter the data into the system the user is deemed to be a Data Controller.  The system that holds the information is deemed to be a Data Processor; essentially an online filing cabinet that does nothing more than store data.

Did you know that a Data Processor (ie. the company) owes you practically nothing under the Data Protection act?  If they lose or restrict access to your data there will be absolutely no comeback on the company because it is you (the user) as the Data Controller that needs to ensure you are in full control of all of the data all of the time.

I discovered all this when Baby’s Days terminated my account with immediate effect not allowing me any time to remove my data.  When they did this I obviously complained to the ICO; although they were lovely and very sympathetic there was nothing at all they could do, despite many people saying I should be protected by the ICO.

Babys Days isn’t registered with the ICO to offer your data any protection at all and not many people understand that; they have no responsibility to you in their T&Cs.  They can delete or restrict your access to the system and as such you are not in control of all of your data all of the time.  You are responsible for the data, not them.  If you lose control of it for any reason, you will be fined, not them. They owe you nothing other than a filing cabinet service.

Unless you have a separate contract with Baby’s Days outlining what they will and won’t do with your data (over and above what the T&Cs say) then you are currently breaking the law and not meeting your obligations under Data Protection; which is also a requirement of the EYFS.  You face having your Ofsted registration terminated or suspended and you also face a fine by the ICO.

If you find this hard  to believe (which I did, because this isn’t mentioned anywhere on Baby’s Days website or anywhere else like through the council etc!) here is a screen shot from the ICO, it’s of an email I’ve been sent.

ICO-say-you-need-a-contractEdited Thursday @10.21am to add:  If you’re on your phone and you can’t read that, here is a smaller close up version of the part that is important.

ICO-say-you-need-a-contract 2

I’ve struggled to get Ofsted to take this matter seriously but they are now looking into whether all users of Babys Days are actually working outside of the remit of The Data Protection Act.  Please be careful and take action to protect your Ofsted registration and make sure all of your Data is backed up, every last shred, daily ideally.

Also don’t assume that this applies to all Online systems – it doesn’t.  They all have very different T&Cs to the ones Baby’s Days offer (which have changed again recently in case you didn’t know); Baby’s Days T&Cs offer the user no protection or guarantees with regards to what exactly happens with your data beyond, ‘it’s stored safely’.  Where it’s stored isn’t of much use to you if you don’t have the right to access it.

2 thoughts on “Orbit – a massive online paperwork system is closing!!”

  1. Oh my!, I have just read some of the comments left by Kel Thomas and Mark Kahl about Orbit in various groups, and quite frankly I’m totally disgusted.

    Any decent person/company would have made comments that reflected support and sympathy for a competitor, whilst putting their own customers worries at ease. Instead he has openly gloated and is telling people ‘that’s what you get for using a free system, hahaha’ I actually feel sickened by this attitude, and am still shocked anyone would want to part with their hard earned cash to someone with this mentality, let alone leave their personal data and business in their hands.

  2. This is shocking!
    I’m so pleased I’ve left babydays……I feel so much more in control of my data now.
    I gave them the 30 days notice that they required…..but they disconnected me with minutes……thankfully I’d backed everything up before giving notice. Usually you get the 30 days notice period to continue using a system!
    I really hope Ofsted look into this matter with urgency……it’s children’s data at risk here.

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