Hackney Carriage (Taxi) for Hackney Homes ALMO

 

The contract with Hackney Homes came to an end on 31 March 2016 as the council’s cabinet voted not to renew it.

Chair of Hackney Homes Rupert Tyson, and Vice Chair Alice Burke, who have been involved in Hackney housing for a combined 60 years, were present at the meeting.

All 33,742 Hackney Homes tenants were consulted on the plans through a process run by independent research agency Ipsos MORI.

Hackney Homes was formed in 2006 to deliver improvements to the council’s housing stock through the Decent Homes programme. The original five-year contract was extended to 2014 and subsequently to 2016.

Cllr Philip Glanville, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Hackney Council has come a long way over the last decade and Hackney Homes has been a major part of its success story.’

“I’d like to thank Hackney Homes’ Board, and staff for all of their hard work and look forward to welcoming them into the Council.’

Rupert Tyson said: “Hackney Homes and Hackney Council agree that the time has come to return housing management to the Council. Hackney Homes has achieved what it was established to do and I’m proud of our achievements over the last nine years and would echo Cllr Glanville’s thanks to my colleagues on the Board and the staff of Hackney Homes for their hard work over the last 9 years.”

 

Barnet UNISON Press Release “I have a Jewish neighbour and a Christian neighbour, and they are my brothers.”

At Barnet UNISON we were appalled to hear of the racist abuse being expressed against the planning application for an Islamic Centre at the Hippodrome in Golders Green.

The title of this piece comes from the press officer, Ahmed Al-Kazemi, of the Hippodrome Centre in Golders Green. This is just one comment made to appeal to those who would condemn the opening of the centre as an Islamic Centre on racial grounds.

We welcome and would echo the comments made by Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, of the Golders Green Alyth Reform congregation and Laura Marks, chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust condemning the racism and appealing to a prouder anti-racist tradition.

We also support Barnet Council’s decision to remove all comments relating to this planning application from the public domain on its website.

We celebrate the fact that when the Bravanese Islamic Centre was tragically burnt down a few years ago, the response from all Faiths in the community and people from the broad anti-racist political spectrum was quick in rallying round to support that community and show solidarity.

This is the kind of Barnet we want to belong to.

We would very much like to be a part of a similar response to the racist abuse being levied at the Hippodrome Centre now.

For background information please read these articles:

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/racism-row-over-petition-to-stop-islamic-centre-being-opened-in-golders-green-hippodrome-a3659521.html

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/14/golders-green-hippodrome-mosque-plan-rabbi-urges-calm

https://www.bod.org.uk/board-of-deputies-looks-forward-to-good-relations-with-new-muslim-community-centre-in-golders-green/

 

 

Taxi for Brent Council ALMO

Taxi for ALMOs?

 

As Austerity Policies continue their brutal assault on public services, Barnet UNISON has looked to see what is happening to the ALMO’s

Today is the first of a number updates on ALMO’s.

This post is about Brent Councils decision to bring their ALMO back in house here are some extracts from the Council reports.

Feel free to open the links and ready all of the reports yourself.

Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

 “The interests of tenants and leaseholders are my top priority and the results of the consultation show now is the right time to bring housing management back in-house. This decision will allow us to respond more swiftly to the Government’s housing policies, deliver savings and ensure our tenants and leaseholders receive nothing but the best service in the future. Our decision also follows a national trend of local authorities bringing their housing ALMOs back in-house. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board and everyone at BHP for their hard work over the past 14 years.”

Joanne Drew, Chair of BHP’s Board of Management, said:

 “BHP was set up to improve homes as part of the government’s Decent Homes Programme. We have always been committed to working with Brent Council and ensuring local residents are at the heart of the organisation. We will continue to work closely with the council, residents and staff over this transition period to provide modern, efficient and effective services for the benefit of all council tenants and leaseholders.”

Short Summary of the Review Report

Preferred Option

“The In-House option offers the best opportunity to make savings and provides the strongest levels of control. This option also puts the housing management service in a better position in relation to the Council’s wider plans to secure improved outcomes for residents. It will be necessary to look at how this option will address Member and resident engagement and there are various options that could be pursued. For example a Members and residents committee may overcome the loss of the ALMO Board under the In-House option. In conclusion, taking into account the challenging financial situation, and all other factors outlined above, it is recommended that the In-House option is chosen. This is the option which the Council believes will best serve residents in Brent but it wants their views on this proposal.”

https://www.brent.gov.uk/media/16406070/short-summary-of-review-of-housing-management-options-3.pdf

You can read all the reports click on this link

https://www.brent.gov.uk/housingreview

For A Better, Fairer, Democratically Accountable Barnet.

 

 

 

Barnet UNISON has been involved with many campaigns involving the Community over the years. We do not see a contradiction between the provision of good services and good terms and conditions for the workers we represent. Our members often use the services our colleagues provide. Our key campaign has been the opposition of outsourcing which we warned would deliver inferior services to the Council, with a higher cost to residents and with less accountability for the money spent.

 

Unfortunately we appear to have been proven right. The following quote is from the Council’s own recent External Audit report:

 

“As at 31 March 2017, the Council has a prepayment balance of £44.7 million in respect of its Customer and Support Group (CSG) contract. This contract covers a number of front line and back office services including finance, ICT, HR, customer services, revenues and benefits, procurement, estates, and corporate programmes. As this is a significant prepayment, we challenged management with regard to its basis“.

 

Barnet UNISON has agreed policies we would like to see implemented by the next Council administration. We may alter or add to these policies and positions following discussions in the coming months.

 

Barnet UNISON (Local Government Branch) calls on those parties and candidates contesting the local Council election in May 2018 to support (and implement if elected) the following:

 

 

             AGENCY STAFF/CONSULTANTS

 

  • End the Council’s over reliance on agency staff and consultants, replacing these with Council employees.
  • Review Unified Reward and consider returning to GLPC.

 

 

CARE

 

  • Adopt UNISON ethical care charter.

(https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2013/11/On-line-Catalogue220142.pdf)

 

 

COLINDALE MOVE

 

  • Address and alleviate the problems caused by the forthcoming relocation of Barnet Council and Partner organisation staff to the new Colindale Office building.

 

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY

 

  • Bring all the Council’s Health & Safety responsibilities back in to in-house control and monitoring.
  • Review Health & Safety arrangements in the Borough.

 

 

HOUSING

 

  • TBG Flex employees to be employed on Local Government T&C’s, Pay with access to Local Government Pension Scheme.
  • The Barnet Group to be brought back in-house.
  • End short term 2 & 5 year tenancies and reintroduce secure life time tenancies for all tenants.
  •  End or  limit  Right to Buy and the  subletting of Right to Buy properties
  • Increase Council home building.
  • Widen the availability of social housing within the Borough.
  • Resource the monitoring of housing where necessary to ensure it is fit for habitation.

 

 

LIBRARIES

 

  • Restore the pre-April 2017 level of staffed opening hours, with sufficient Library workers (in numbers, qualifications and experience) and resources.
  • Review the use of lost Library space with a view to returning to Library use.
  • Bring the Partnership Libraries back in-house.
  • Work with all stakeholders in the Library Service to produce a strategy that will maintain and improve the quality and accessibility of Barnet Libraries.

 

 

OUTSOURCING

 

  • No more Council services to be outsourced.
  • Work towards bringing services already outsourced back in-house including NSL.
  • Review Capita and other contracts with the aim of bring services back in-house.
  • Ensure that while outsourcing contracts are running they are properly overseen and these services are provided to the contracted level without incurring further cost to the Council.

 

 

PAY

 

  • Support the Trade Union (UNISON, GMB, Unite) NJC PAY CLAIM 2018 – 2019
  • Ensure that Council, partner organisation and contractor employees are paid at least the London Living Wage.
  • End Performance Related Pay.

 

SCHOOLS

 

  • 52 week contracts for TAs and other support workers.
  • Oppose the establishment of academies.

 

 

STREET SCENE

 

  • Instigate a search within the Borough for a site (or sites?) for a depot (depots?) suitable for all Street Scene’s long-term needs?
  • Commit to the retention of Street Scene services in-house.

“Ey up Barnet what you doing about this debt?

FAT CAT PROFITS

In the context of ‘Austerity’ and the constant cuts it has brought to frontline services and staff, it is important that the employer is doing all that it can to ensure it doesn’t lose any income.

Recently the External Auditor had not signed off the Councils accounts due to a number of serious issues.

I attended the Extraordinary Audit Committee on Tuesday 19 September 2017 yo listen to some of the discussion.

Below is an extract from the External Auditors report http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=144&MId=9401

The use of bold and underline is mine.

 “As part of the review of aged debts, we noted that the Council had excluded two older debts from the calculation of the allowance for non-collection or for impairment as management was of the view that these were recoverable.

The first relates to The Barnet Group at £296,000 that is in excess of one year old. Management has stated that as The Barnet Group is a wholly owned subsidiary that this debt is secure.  However, we have not seen evidence of why this amount is considered to be a valid debtor.”

“The second relates to Comer Homes at £925,711 that is in excess of two years old. Management believe this is recoverable and relates to energy costs paid on the North London Business Park premises that should have been paid by Comer Homes. We have seen correspondence in 2015 suggesting that this will repaid at £50,000 per month but we have not seen any recovery to date. The case has been passed to HB Public Law.

Due to the aging of these debts and lack of recovery action to date, we are seeking a specific management representation to confirm that these amounts are recoverable.”

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s42287/Appendix%20A%20-%20Audit%20Completion%20Report.pdf

I am currently involved in a consultation in Street Services Cleansing services. Approximately 25% of posts are being deleted in order to make a £600K saving.

Imagine my disbelief and then anger that we can let the above debts go without a fight.

Furthermore I have since learnt from a post by Barnet Blogger Mr Reasonable “Capita have claimed a saving of £942,000 made up of actual annual energy savings of £111,071 plus £202,420 of “corrected overcharges”.”

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/gainshare-contract-clause-that-keeps-on.html

How does that work?

We are owed £923,711 from energy costs yet I read we are paying Capita a bonus for making savings on energy costs.

How does that work?

 

 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: West Sussex Council take vital service back off Capita

West Sussex have written to Jeremy Hunt seeking emergency powers to bring Children’s MASH Service back in house.

“The proposal is to bring the administrative function of this MASH service back ‘in house’ so that the entire service sits within Children’s Social Care. This will ensure that the MASH will be able to fulfil its statutory threshold decision making function on critical safeguarding matters within 24 hours, as is required in Working Together 2015.”

http://www2.westsussex.gov.uk/ds/edd/fr/fr09_17-18.pdf

How much are Barnet Council paying Capita?

The above list of payments by Barnet Council to the two Capita contracts has been produced by Barnet Blogger Mr Reasonable. In both contracts the Council appears to be paying more than they said they would have to pay when they first signed the contract.

The difference is quite shocking and when considered in the context of vital frontline services facing cuts and/or closure it is difficult to understand where the money is coming from to pay all this money.

If you want more detail here are some links to some of Mr Reasonable posts on #BarnetCouncil spend

Barnet Audit Fiasco Part 2 – Capita penalised £55,000 but disaster looms after 2020

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/barnet-audit-fiasco-part-2-capita.html

Barnet’s Payments to Capita – the external auditor challenges £44 million pre-payment

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/barnets-payments-to-capita-external.html

Barnet Council Agency Staff Spend – reducing but still very high

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/barnet-council-agency-staff-spend.html

Is Peterborough the new Luton – Barnet outsources its homeless

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/is-peterborough-new-luton-plight-of.html

Barnet Payments for June – Capita earn a fortune and a booze up on the Council

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/barnet-payments-for-june-capita-earn.html

 

A Night of Shame But Who’s to Blame – Last Night’s Audit Fiasco

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/a-night-of-shame-last-nights-audit.html

“Should we be worried about Barnet Councils contracts with Capita?”

A number of our members have privately raised concerned about the an increase of worrying reports about Capita, who appear to be experiencing some difficulties. 

Barnet Council chose to outsource a large number of Council In House services to Capita in 2012 and 2013.

Last week Capita began two restructures which are likely to lead to redundancies for many ex Barnet TUPED staff.

A simple Google search has revealed some worrying news about the health of the global giant Capita.

Capita drops as first half underlying revenue declines although profits rise, restructuring on track.

http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/184355/capita-drops-as-first-half-underlying-revenue-declines-although-profits-rise-restructuring-on-track-184355.html

 

EXTRA: Capita Shares Fall As Underperforming Divisions Weigh On Profit

http://www.iii.co.uk/alliance-news/1506003339606792800-3/extra-capita-shares-fall-as-underperforming-divisions-weigh-on-profit

 

Outsourcing firm Capita’s shares slump 10% amid falling profits and pensions dispute strike

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-4907008/Capita-s-shares-slip-10-amid-falling-profits-strike.html

How’s that ‘turnaround’ year going, Capita? …Sheesh, sorry I asked

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/09/21/capita_h1_results/

 

Capita stripped of key contract running MoD military estate early

https://www.ft.com/content/3eb508ec-9eb2-11e7-8cd4-932067fbf946

 

FTSE’s biggest loser: Capita staff vote to strike over pensions as the FTSE 250 firm is stripped of a Ministry of Defence contract

http://www.cityam.com/272475/ftses-biggest-loser-capita-staff-vote-strike-over-pensions

 

FCA fine looms for Capita over failed Connaught fund

https://www.ftadviser.com/Articles/2017/09/22/FTA-capita

 

Capita staff in Birmingham to strike for six days in pensions row

http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/capita-staff-birmingham-strike-six-13659665

 

What do you think? 

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