Yet more additions to USO-FX

This evening we released additional options in the USO-FX product which allows for the mass distribution of files to many schools.

A zip archive can be uploaded containing files with file names that start with the DCSF number of a school, the zip file is then broken down into individual files and each file sent to the selected user in that school by USO-FX.

Further details of this can be seen in the on line help files found here.

Additions to USO-AutoText

Couple more features to this service today. You can now ‘opt out’ entire year groups from the texting service – useful with the 14-19 agenda work that is going on.

You can pre-set your school’s option’s, details here in the help files.

Then modify these settings on each occasion you extract data, details of this option are here.

Some time ago ….

Chris posted a list of items he wanted added to the online help.

1. Matching the Staff and Pupils queried by the auto upload.

For this topic have a look here

2. Checking the SIMS upload to the USO has run.

This can be found here

3. Using OpenCheck

This is on the wish list …. watch this space

4. Enabling and disabling StaffMail.

5. Setting up and removing aliases.

6. Creating shared mailboxes.

4,5&6 – the request has been passed to LGfL

7. Checking data for the SMS texting.

Details of how to do this are here

we have actually added some further test’s in this section since Chris made the request.

8. Using the SMS texting.

The base page of sms text’ing is here

9. Receiving a USO-FX file.

10. Sending a USO-FX file.

The root pages for USO-fx are here

do watch this specific space – USO-fx is about to have a number of extra features added !!!

The unbelievable happens ….

After more than 20 years I’ve finally succumbed to general pressure and we have started writing a User Guide for the support site !

The green shoots of the project can be seen on the support site. There are also link buttons in the support site itself that take you to specific pages on the guide.

In due course we will be adding pages based upon questions being raised by users on the help desk, support cases being raised and web hit counters on the support site but if anybody has any suggestions for areas they would like covered sooner rather than later please post them here.

As we progress you will see various links appear in the support that take you direct to the relevant pages.

Don’t forget this is like painting the Forth bridge and I suspect is a task that will never be completed !

Base of the manual can be found here.

Martin Coulson

USO-AutoText & imported data

The USO-AutoText system now has added functionality with regard to testing imported parent contact numbers.

Options have been added to the support site interface that allow System Admin’s to identify parent contacts that exist in the schools MIS system that do not have a mobile number listed for them.

In addition the import utility now checks and removes alpha characters from the imported data so when your schools MIS system has ‘07887-123456(Mum)’ entered as a mobile number this will be reduced to 07887123456 which will be accepted.

A specific attendance report has also been added to the USO-AutoUpdate software that can be run at a time chosen by the school which extracts data about pupils who are have failed registration on that day.

This data is then used to seed a new tab in the sms section to allow’s the school to easily send a text message to the parent’s of the pupil using a default message with personalisation added for the parent’s name and the pupils name.

More improvements to USO-AutoText

We have now added and attendance tab to the sms texting system. In conjunction with USO-AutoUpdate the system now extracts attendance data from your schools MIS system and allows you to automatically text all the parent contacts for your missing pupils in one go.

You can also now send text messages to groups of pupil contacts based upon class or year data and also select all or just the primary pupil contact from the MIS system.

For further details or to get this service activated for your school or LA please raise a support case.

USO-AutoText additions


We have a number of new features in the SMS texting system USO-AutoText released as of today.

All the SMS configuration now exists under one menu from the main page of the support site called ‘SMS’

You can now allocate numbers of SMS messages to schools and also the cost per message at an LA level on the ‘configuration settings’ page.

In addition you can also set the email address for incoming sms messages on a per school basis – an incoming message has it’s CLI number from the sending phone looked up in USO and then the message is forwarded to the configured email address for the school that that user is associated with.

Another page ‘Invalid Mobile Numbers’ looks at the data imported from the MIS system and checks that it is just a number and no alpha characters, it also looks for the correct number of digits and with the correct start sequence for it to be a mobile number – incorrect numbers are listed so the school or LA user can see the accounts that need attention and it’s not possible to send txt messages to them.

The ‘Send Message’ page now tells the user how many message credits the school has remaining and also the cost of sending the presently selected message based upon the LA price per text. This page also allows the user to deselect any number of the pupil recipients from the ‘Pupil Contacts’ list.

We also now have an MIS bit that can be set in USO which allows the user to see sensitive data that’s been imported from an MIS system – this means that an ITcontact, Power or Super user does not automatically get to see contact details for pupils and other MIS data.

For further details or to get this service activated for your school or LA please raise a support case.

StaffMail LA address book

The StaffMail offline address book that is visible to a member of staff in a London school contains every StaffMail user in that person’s school.
A version this address book which lists every StaffMail user across all schools in an LA has until now been available only to users who have either USO “LA Power User” or “LA Super User” status, but StaffMail has now been modified so that it is visible to all staff associated with USO’s “LA or Council” establishment.

StaffMail display name

A new enhancement to the LGfL StaffMail system makes it possible to control the format of the display name presented in outbound emails and address books.  The current options are:

<Legal First Name> <Legal Last Name>  (this is the default setting)
<Title> <Legal First Name> <Legal Last Name>
<Title> <Initial of Legal First Name> <Legal Last Name>
<Title> <Legal Last Name>
<Initial of Legal First Name> <Legal Last Name>
<Legal Last Name>
<Legal Last Name>, <Legal First Name>
<Preferred First Name> <Preferred Last Name>
<Title> <Preferred First Name> <Preferred Last Name>
<Title> <Initial of Preferred First Name> <Preferred Last Name>
<Title> <Preferred Last Name>
<Initial of Preferred First Name> <Preferred Last Name>
<Preferred Last Name>
<Preferred Last Name>, <Preferred First Name>

Each LA can choose its own preferred format, and by default this option will apply to users in all schools within that LA.  Additionally, though, each school can pick its own preferred format (and this will override the LA setting, if in place).

Once a change is made to the school or LA policy, the revised display name will take effect for a StaffMail user whenever a modification is made to the person’s USO account.  This modification might be a password change (via the ‘key’ icon at or an update to the user’s preferred names (through the My Account… Account details page within the secure area of the support site).


The USO-AutoText service is presently available for trialing within a USO environment on a school by school basis.

Once integrated with USO-AutoUpdate it’s possible via the Support Site interface for schools to distribute text messages to staff and parent contacts either as bulk messages or as single destination texts.

For more information on the service try clicking on the ‘SMS’ tab on the Atomwide or LGfL support sites, where you can also register your mobile phone by visiting the ‘My Accout’ tab and then following the ‘Account Details’ link.


USO-AutoUpdate is a new service from Atomwide, approved by Capita, which automates the exporting of data from SIMS (other MIS support is planned for the future) into the Atomwide/LGfL USO service.

A highly granular level of control and visibility is offered on the details that are exported into USO, which can include staff, pupils, and parents, including parent or guardian contact details.

The product is available on a per school basis, or as a bulk purchase at LA level, for new and existing USO users. The latter is the recommended process of procurement, especially if part of a new USO rollout across an LA.

As part of the process, the USO support site provides an interface to allow the management of user details as they are imported and to allow for the cleansing of any erroneous data whether in the MIS system or in USO.

Wauton Samuel <> USO integration

Wauton Samuel have just completed work that allows School MIS system to automatically update the USO database in a similar way to that of the GroupCall exporter product. This package completely automates to process of creation of USO users.

Wauton Samuel’s main customer base is the Primary sector in London and if you are using this product and wish to enable the Automatic USO update feature please contact them …

By loggin on at WSWebServices


By email


By phone on 020 8691 6622

User Listing

Couple more additions to the user provisioning that should be of interest to Itcontacts.

If your using an automated method of creation of USOaccounts like GroupCall or USO-AutoUpdate then you will now receive, as Itcontacts, an email when new users are created in your school.

In addition in the

Home : User Accounts : User list/search

View on the support site there is a new indicator option (bottom left side) that lets you sort users by creation date.

Modification to support reporting

Information for Atomwide USO School Nominated Contact (NC), Power Users and Super Users.

As you may already be aware, during 2008 and 2009 there has been an increased focus, supported by government guidance, relating to information handling and information security, especially with regard to staff and pupil details in the context of schools.

In response to this guidance, Atomwide has been reviewing its own data security methodologies and practices, and discussing their implications with its contracting customer authorities.

With the increased amount of data now being transferred in support of USO-integrated services, and with an ever increasing range of services relying on that data for access and authentication purposes, those discussions resulted in Atomwide changing the process by which personal user data could be sent into the Atomwide Service Desk at the end of 2008.

Following that change, all personal user data was required to be submitted via automated secure upload, or via manual upload using the secure utility within the Support Site.

A similar change will take affect from 1st August 2009, that will result in authorised contacts needing to post support enquires via the ‘Raise an Issue’ option under the Service Desk tab in the Support Site.

In this way, we can ensure that all sensitive data, whether intentionally submitted to us, or unintentionally included in a support request, is sent to us in an encrypted and hence secure fashion, rather than via an email system that cannot be verified as secure in the same way.

As a consequence, any emailed enquiries posted after 31st July 2009 will receive an automated reply with details of how to log a case via the Support Site.