Contacting 2degrees for support

There appears to be some confusion about the correct email address for reporting CIH family faults to 2degrees.  The correct email is: 

At least one coordinator has been using , which has been going nowhere, resulting in lots of unnecessary stress.   It is not clear at this stage how the incorrect email has crept into our system;  I am sure the coordinator didn’t make it up!  So if anyone is aware where this error is in our documentation, please let us know urgently so that it can be corrected.

And while we are on the subject of the fault reporting process, this is a good opportunity to remind everyone how this works.  Sonia (2degrees) took the time to document this for a new member of the team recently and the points she made are worth repeating:

  1. The CiH support team at 2degrees does not take phone calls from coordinators through the Helpdesk. All communications regarding new CIH connections or progress in establishing a connection MUST be sent to  Eddie and Sonia provide us with a very responsive and professional service when this email is used.
  2. Any emails sent to 2degrees staff personal email addresses will be rejected. The value of using the common “cihsupport” email is that it can be dealt with by whoever is on duty at the time, whereas personal emails could sit unattended for weeks if the individual is away on leave or sick.
  3. Coordinators must allow at least 24 hours for a reply to any email to the 2degrees team, we cannot expect them to just drop what they are currently doing. However, that said, I know that most replies come within the same working day, so coordinators need to be patient if it takes a bit longer.
  4. Faults are dealt with by a different team and this can take from 48 to 72 hours depending on the faults team’s workload, so again coordinators need to be patient.
  5. To log a fault coordinators MUST follow the procedures we have agreed with 2degrees. This involves logging the fault by emailing to . Neither the 2degrees CIH provisioning team nor the 2degrees staff on the public Helpdesk have access to the Cportal emails, so it is just wastign everyone’s time to try and use these channels to inquire about progres sin clearing faults.  Coordinators must always us the Cportal email.
  6. Coordinators must monitor their emails for replies whenever messages have been sent to the provisioning team of the faults team.  2degrees report that on many occasions they have to re-send replies simply because a coordinator has not read their emails.
  7. Coordinators are also responsible for the accuracy of information supplied to 2degrees when signing up new families.  Recently, one coordinator used the wrong town when requesting a new connection and this resulted in lots of wasted effort and frustration for both 2degrees and the coordinator concerned.  We are human and unlike computers (yeah right!) we do make mistakes, but it can save a lot of stress to get things right the first time.
  8. Any coordinators who are unhappy about the support they are receiving from 2degrees (for any reason) must raise this with their Area Manager (for Auckland), their Relationship Manager (for the Bay of Plenty/ East Coast) or the national support team (Di, Kristina, Laurence Z). There is also an opportunity to raise and persistent ongoing issues at our regular Computers in Homes hui.




Code of conduct for home visits

At our recent NCCG, a new policy document called “Code of Conduct for Home Visits” was distributed, but we unfortunately ran out of time to discuss this.  Please take the time to read this document and share with anyone on your team – especially coordinators and technicians – but anyone who may be required to make a home visit as part of delivering the Computers in Homes programme.

The Code of Conduct also touches on situations that could affect the safety of CIH personnel or contractors.  By way of a recent example, in one region, a technician encountered a domestic violence situation and while he did proceed to install the computer and internet connection, he only did this after ensuring the person being assaulted was okay and the abusing partner had left.  He promptly reported this to the CIH coordinator who visited the family to again check that the woman was okay.  The incident was then reported to us; in this particular case we agreed that any further follow up would best be managed locally.

This incident is a timely reminder of situations that coordinators and technicians will unfortunately encounter from time to time.  Please take this as an opportunity to reinforce our Code of Conduct and Health & Safety policies with any staff or contractors who are required to visit CIH family homes.

Toggl for Time Management

Coordinators will recall Sylvia’s presentation on Toggl at our Nelson hui.  I have been meaning to post the outcome from the discussion following her presentation about a sensible set of ‘project’ categories  for you to use to monitor your lives and find out where all the time goes.  It would also be really useful feedback for us when we try and scale the coordinator and delivery partner roles and develop new support roles.  So if anyone has joined the Toggl world, please feel free to share your reports with us.  I am not so interested in week-by-week reports as I know your workloads fluctuate wildly, but what would be good is a three or six month report.

The categories agreed were:

  • BYOD
  • Finance Related
  • General Admin
  • Kiwiskills
  • Media and Community Liaison
  • Meetings (incl NCCG)
  • Net Sign Ups
  • Rejuvenation
  • Reporting (incl surveys)
  • School Liaison (incl Graduations)
  • Stepping UP
  • Technical Admin (Ordering, fixing etc)
  • Training Set Up
  • Travel

Engaging subcontractors

Computers in Homes coordinators have delegated authority to appoint subcontractors to assist with the delivery of certain aspects of the programme.  Specifically this includes:

  • Computers in Homes trainers to deliver 20 hours of training for groups of participating families
  • Stepping UP trainers to deliver 2-hour training modules (noting that our preference is to progressively migrate these costs to libraries)
  • Technicians to provide technical support for families, as required, for 12 months post graduation
  • Technicians to carry out Warrant of Fitness checks on computers at 12 months (applies only to families from the 2014-15 funding year and earlier)
  • Rejuvenation Surveys to complete the 12-month “follow up” survey

Templates for all these subcontracts are available in the secure area of the Computers in Homes website.  These MUST be completed and signed before any work is undertaken. A copy must also be sent to the 2020 Trust Contracts Director for any subcontractors engaged by a 2020 Trust contractor.

Most contractors are following these procedures but we felt a reminder was timely because a situation has recently arisen where a subcontractor was engaged without a written contract and there was confusion about responsibilities when a problem arose.

We also suggest that at least one written reference be sought whenever a new subcontractor is engaged and that a copy be attached to the contract.  This is especially important for people who will be required to go onto school grounds for training families and for technicians who may be required to go into CiH family homes.

Update to mileage allowances from 1 April 2016

The government-approved mileage allowance for contractors using their own vehicles for Computers in Homes work has been reduced from 77 cents to 74 cents.  There is no GST component in claims for these amounts, as payments are being made to an end user.  The contract templates for technicians and rejuvenation WOFs/surveys have been updated accordingly (v2, dated 7 April 2016).  All contractors claiming mileage allowances should be advised of this change from 1 April 2016.

Online forums for technicians and trainers

Sue Davidson and Ivan Lomax have kindly agreed to moderate two online forums, one for CIH technicians and one for CIH trainers.  All technicians and trainers are encouraged to join the respective forum and then use this to raise issues and suggest solutions.

The following links should be provided to all CIH technicians and trainers;  they can then self-register and request membership.  As the registration process is open to anyone who has the links, Sue and Ivan will be verifying their authenticity before approving their membership.

Tech forum =

Trainers =

School Term Dates 2016

2016 school terms

Term 1

11 weeks. Includes Waitangi Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday
and Easter Tuesday (a school holiday)

Between Monday 1 February
(at the earliest);
and Friday 5 February (at the latest)
Friday 15 April
(94-102 half days)
2 weeks (includes ANZAC day)

Saturday 16 April – Sunday 1 May

Term 2

10 weeks. Includes Queen’s Birthday

Monday 2 May Friday 8 July
(98 half days)
2 weeks

Saturday 9 July – Sunday 24 July

Term 3

9 weeks.

Monday 25 July Friday 23 September
(90 half days)
2 weeks

Saturday 24 September – Sunday 9 October

Term 4

Up to 11 weeks. Includes Labour Day

Monday 10 October Primary, intermediate and special schools:
No later than Tuesday 20 December
(102 half days)*

Secondary and composite:
No later than Friday 16 December
(98 half days)**


5 or 6 weeks

From school’s closing date until opening date of school the following year.

Includes Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day.

* Or to a day in December which ensures that the school has been open for instruction for 384 half days in 2016.
** Or to a day in December which ensures that the school has been open for instruction for 380 half days in 2016.

Private lessons for CIH families

Sylvia has been approached by her CIH tutors asking if they are able to provide private lessons (for a fee) to former students.  These are two older woman who have just started using computers and did struggle a bit in a class situation. They have approached the CIH tutor together, offering to pay for her time to provide additional support. One of the CIH participants has a disability that means she can no longer write so she is particularly motivated to learn more. Her grandchildren are helping but are younger so don’t yet know enough to help as much as she’d like. She also lives on the outskirts of town and can’t easily travel.

My comment:  We need to make sure that tutors do not put any pressure on participants to pay for more training – especially when we offer Stepping UP for free. It is clear from the above situation that the participants have approached the tutor and so this seems absolutely fine to me.

Di’s comment: As long as the tutor is not doing the lessons in the name of Computers in Homes, i.e. not using us as her credentials for private business or cash employment, this should be fine.  This was what the volunteer hours of the CIH Buddy was meant to be for, but we recognise this has proved to be too hard to manage in most regions.

Chromebooks and CiH

Chris Turner has asked a number of questions about chromebooks and CIH.  My responses are recorded here for others who may have the same or similar questions.  But just as a preamble, Sue Kini is testing the water in Whangarei, offering chromebooks to CiH families who are part of a BYOD cluster as an alternative to a refurbished computer.  The offer received a positive response from schools, which perhaps was to be expected, but it is too early to see how well this will work with families.  In principle, we want to be flexible about the type of computing device we provide as part of CiH, but we do want to make sure families are aware of the constraints around chromebooks and the absolute need for an internet connection  to do anything useful.

Question 1.  I’ve been having a look at Chromebooks preparatory to approaching two of my schools about training/offering their families a Chromebook.It’s going to require a change in training, which is not really a problem – most tutors would be able to cope with it.

Comment: We have a Chromebooks Stepping UP module;  Sue Kini will be reviewing the other CiH modules for a ‘Chromebook world’ as part of her pilot.

Question 2. Another consideration that I thought about is that we should still offer the family a choice of a desktop, laptop or a chromebook. 

Comment: Absolutely – we should offer all three options – there is a training module prepared by Patrick Harlow (one of Briar’s tutors) that trainers should use to help families understand the relative benefits of each type of device before they make a decision.

Question 3. The Chromebook that we supply them with is to be the family’s device, and not for the child to take with him/her to school, do I have that right?  

Comment: Our objective is to build parents’ and caregivers’ confidence in using digital devices, whether this be a desktop, laptop or chromebook, “to support their children’s learning”.  We will not be telling them what their children can or can’t do with the device.  In the Whangarei case, we definitely see the children taking the Chromebook to school, but parents would also have been trained in its use, so they can use it with their children at home.

Question 4. Difficulties arise when there are more than one child going to the same school and requiring a Chromebook as well.  I know that Taupo High School does have spare Chromebooks for those who don’t have one, so the device at home can stay there.  However, I’m not too impressed with the robustness of a Chromebook as a family device and am worried that a family with several kids and mum and dad will also find that it’s not suitable either.

Comment:  We are only funded to provide one device per family.  So this a factor families need to take into account when making decisions about the preferred device.  Patrick’s training module should also help families reach a good decision.

Question 5. I’ve found out that the child doesn’t have to have a Chromebook at home in order to do his/her homework.  Homework can be done online on a desktop or a laptop, files can be transferred with a pendrive from home to school and vice versa.

Comment: I totally agree.  The Whangarei pilot is a response to an economic situation.  Schools are requiring students to bring a Chromebook and asking parents to pay the device off over 2-3 years (like our BYOD pilot).  CiH families also need to contribute towards the cost of an internet connection.  Together these costs can be $20 per week.  However, if the Chromebook is supplied as part of CiH, families only face the cost of the internet contribution ($10/week).

Question 6. A Chromebook might not be popular with a family who likes to play games.  With a 16GB SS Hard drive, you can’t install any games, and you’d be limited with what games could be played off a pendrive!  It does have an HDMI connection, two USB connections and an SD card slot, so it could be connected to a monitor or a TV.  

Comment:  This is another factor that families need to take into account when choosing a Chromebook.

Question 7. Where do we buy Chromebooks from?  Dick Smith?  I went there yesterday and they didn’t have any.  Didn’t seem interested in ordering any in for me, either.

Comment: Dick Smith’s sponsorship funding for Computers in Homes has ended and any consideration of a possible renewal now rests with the receivers.  My view is that this is highly unlikely, at least in the short term.  So we are not obligated to purchase from Dick Smith.

Question 8. I’ll ask my trustees if I can buy one from Noel Leeming and give it a good test run.

Comment:  Good move.  Noel Leeming is actively advertising BYOD devices at the moment.


Rejuvenations Q&A

Some questions from Sylvia and my responses:

  1. Question:  I’m trying doing it without a WoF.  Can I confirm that the budget is $50/survey? Can we spend any extra on incentives? Like could we offer that we send a $20 petrol voucher if they fill it in?

Answer: Budget is $45 (+GST if registered) for each completed survey.  For 2014-15 families (and earlier) there is also budget for WOFs, but if you are not doing these then you are welcome to try incentives along the lines you have suggested to encourage responses (but be careful about setting precedences as this budget is not available for 2015-16 families when they become due for rejuvenations (post July 2016)

  1. I am hiring someone to help with this. Do I need a contract with him? Assuming so!

Answer:  Yes, you have assumed correctly.  We need documentation in the form of our one page contracts for everyone that we pay (similar to trainers and techs).

  1. How far back should he go? There are people in the 13-14 year who haven’t been contacted. Should he contact them too?

Answer: You are welcome to pursue families from 2013-14.