40 % Cuts Planned

Newspaper headlines are dominated by the story that Government Ministers are being asked to look at 40% cuts. As you read the article we are told that no one will really have to make this level of cuts.

Who do they think they are dealing with?” “Do they take the public for mugs?”

It is oldest and meanest trick in the book. You build up the scale of the cuts far beyond what you want so when you reduce the amount everyone breathes a sigh of relief!

There is a word for this sort of behaviour it is ‘bullying!”

Consultation on the Cuts

Incredible as it seems but not only have the Con-Dem Government tabled the Budget from Hell, they want public sector workers to help them!

To view the letter from Nick & Dave click here

(My letter must have got lost in the post!).

They have even set up a web site called Spending Challenge Web Site

http://spendingchallenge.hm-treasury.gov.uk/

You can email your ideas here.

Email: public.enquiries@hm-treasury.gov.uk

Email: camerond@parliament.uk

Email: cleggn@parliament.uk

How about sending some messages like

·        Deep and rapid cuts to public spending are irresponsible – they’ll make the deficit worse by weakening the economy and adding to unemployment. Cutting public sector jobs costs more in lost tax and extra benefits than it saves.

·        Raising VAT is regressive, putting the heaviest burden on the poorest. Cutting public services is even more unfair – research commissioned by UNISON shows it hits disadvantaged households six times harder than the richest.

·        The fairest way to reduce the deficit is to make the banks cover the costs of the crisis they caused, and tackle tax avoidance and evasion by big corporations and wealthy individuals – this could raise more than £50bn in annual revenue.

You want more suggestions click here.

What is there to hide?

Options Appraisal for the Future Shape Adult Social Care Provision.

Options

Strategic Fit for Transforming Social Care

Deliverability

Acceptability

VFM

Totals

Customer

Council

Staff

Transfer to Barnet Homes

5

5

4

4

3

4

25

LATC

4

4

3

4

3

3

21

Social Enterprise (start-up)

4

3

2

3

3

3

18

Remain In-House

2

3

4

2

3

1

19 15*

Tender/Trade Sale

4

2

2

3

1

2

14

Closure of Service

1

1

1

 

1

1

1

6

* Please note the table sent to the Trade Unions (see above) scored the in-house option 19 but as you can see the total is 15.

This Project has been shrouded in secrecy from the outset once the decision to exclude the Trade Unions was made. We have attempted to engage in the process and submitted 46 questions to the Adult Social Care Future Shape Project team.

To date we have not had a response.

To view our questions click here 

 

Barnet Council Support Services & Adult Social Care staff ‘shock World Cup exit’

For the last two years the Trade Unions have been seeking to ensure that the Future Shape programme is:

1.     The process is open and transparent

2.     There is genuine trade union and staff engagement in delivering an in-house option for the Options Appraisal.

On Wednesday 30 June I attended the first of two ‘Away Days’ being provided for staff delivering services such as Finance, Legal Services, Customers Services, Libraries, Audit, IS, Procurement, Property Services, HR, Pay Roll, Pensions, Revs & Bens. 

The purpose of the meeting was to launch the creation of the New Support Services Future Shape project and to explain the reasons behind it.  The major staffing revelation was that the Council has decided not to include the Option of an in-house bid in the Options Appraisal process. Staff were told that they would be looking to the services of one of the big top 100 FTSE companies e.g. IBM, SERCO, MOUCHEL, CAPITA

Whilst this should not have come as such a shock to staff, hearing officially that the Council would not be giving them the opportunity to compete clearly upset some staff.

More important is on what basis an in-house bid has been ruled out of the Options Appraisals. No data has been produced or provided to the Trade Unions which could demonstrate the rationale for this decision. Last year I sought a meeting with the previous Leader of the Council because of fears that in spite of the Future Shape jargon, what we was seeing was old style privatisation with a 21st century makeover!

The meeting was useful and he provided the following quote:

“Once we get to look at the ‘who’ it may be that we partner with other organisations to provide a service in a different way.  Equally, it may be that we continue to provide a service because we are the only organisation that can achieve sufficiently high quality at sufficiently low cost.  This is an interpretation the Council does what only the Council can do. Clearly we have many excellent services and we would not embark on unnecessary disruption, but we would be in favour of change if we were confident it would bring significant improvements in quality and value for money”.

which we published last year for the full article click here

The question which remains unanswered for the 700 staff is

“How can the Council be ‘confident’ they can bring in a private sector partner to deliver better value and service improvements if they do not put up an in-house option in the Option Appraisal process?”

This would be a massive contract for the private sector and we along with other Councils have had our fingers burnt by the private sector. If we really have learnt lessons then “why are we ‘shunning’ in-house bids?”

Options Appraisal or Group Stage explained

One of the regular criticisms of Future Shape has been the jargon used. To try and help members understand the process I am using the analogy of World Cup group stage qualification process.

Service Delivery Options

Points scored

In-house team

 

Management Buy Out (MBO)

 

Barnet Homes

 

Local Authority Trading Company (LATC)

 

Joint Venture

 

Private Sector sale

 

Closure of Service

 

 Please note: We have asked the Council, but have had no response as to how many Options go through to the next stage where a Full Business case will be produced (Followers of the real World Cup will know that only the top two go through to the next stage).

MEMBER ALERT: If you do not progress to the next stage you are out. If the in-house option is discarded at this stage staff will be facing the prospect of being transferred out of the Council.

To help understand the process and implications it is often best to see a live example.

Below is a table showing the scores of an

Options Appraisal for the Future Shape Adult Social Care Provision.

Options

Strategic Fit for Transforming Social Care

Deliverability

Acceptability

VFM

Totals

Customer

Council

Staff

Transfer to Barnet Homes

5

5

4

4

3

4

25

LATC

4

4

3

4

3

3

21

Social Enterprise (start-up)

4

3

2

3

3

3

18

Remain In-House

2

3

4

2

3

1

19 15*

Tender/Trade Sale

4

2

2

3

1

2

14

Closure of Service

1

1

1

 

1

1

1

6

* Please note the table sent to the Trade Unions (see above) scored the in-house option 19 but as you can see the total is 15.

The Trade Unions have registered a ‘failure  to agree’ over the Options Appraisal process to council officers and have requested a Corporate Joint Negotiation Consultation Committee with councillors in order we can formally discuss our concerns. The example above has been shrouded in secrecy from the outset once the decision to exclude the Trade Unions was made. We have attempted to engage in the process. We have submitted 46 questions to the Adult Social Care Future Shape Project team and to date we have not had a response.

Julie – we miss you

Earlier this week the Barnet UNISON branch was informed that Julie, our office manager had passed away whilst on her holidays. She was only 43 years old.

The news is devastating and our thoughts go out to her partner Graham and their families and friends.

Julie worked 17 years for Barnet UNISON first as an admin assistant and more recently as our office manager. Julie was more than a member of staff she was a friend and ardent trade unionist. Julie was like having an extra UNISON rep in the office. Over those 17 years she must have spoken to hundreds of members ringing the branch for advice and support.

Julie was totally committed to the trade union movement and she was an ACTS member and an advocate of the rights of UNISON staff.

I am sure that there will be many UNISON members who will remember Julie and want to send messages of condolences, please send them to john.burgess@barnetunison.org.uk

The branch will be organising a collection and card for those wanting to make a donation and or sign the card. Please pop into the UNISON Office.

Her passing is unexpected and her loss will be deeply felt by all who knew her. We will miss her terribly, we already do. The thought of not seeing her smiling face in the UNISON office again is just awful.

Farewell Julie, a friend and great trade unionist.

STOP Mass privatisation of schools

The Council Trade Unions have responded to the news that up to 35 Barnet schools rated by Ofsted as ‘outstanding’ are being strongly “invited” to be fast tracked into becoming Academies without any consultation.

Underneath the political hype and spin the reality of what it means to become an academy is very different. Once again politicians are promoting ‘political dogma’ without thinking about the long term consequences.

  • There is no evidence of a public clamour for the creation of new academy schools. A recent public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos MORI found that 96% of parents did not want state-funded schools to be run as academies.

 

To read full press release click HERE

Once upon a time in a land far far away …………in ‘Make-Believe Land’ 2010

Once upon a time in a land far far away …………in ‘Make-Believe Land’ 2010

Person A learns his colleague Person B is in financial trouble and could lose everything. Person A lends Person B money to help. Person B promises to pay back with interest when things are better. Person A does not check why Person B found himself in financial problems he just felt he should help. Person A did not check if Person B had learnt the lessons of why he found himself in financial problems.

Two years passed and Person A is now in financial trouble. Person A may have to sell his home and lose his job. Person A has not asked Person B if he can pay back some or all of the money he lent to Person B.

Person B is doing very well, making profits and enjoying life. Person B knows Person A is in trouble but has not offered to help out. Person B is angry that Person A has not sorted out his financial problems and is demanding that Person A sells his house and lose his job in order to pay his debt.

Person C works for Person A. Person C may lose their job their home and their pension because Person A lent money to Person B. Person C asks Person A to ask Person B for the money they lent Person B. Person C doesn’t understand where the money which was lent to Person B has gone?

Are you confused?

Person A is the government

Person B is the Banks bailed out by the Government.

Person C is you the Public sector worker.

Final Question:

Knowing what you know now would you lend Person B money?

It is all quite simple really. We want our money back and we want it now! Sign up to our petition.

Pass it on to your colleagues, friends and family. £1.3 Trillion is a lot of money Banks should feel the pain not you.

Cuts to services, cuts to jobs, cuts to pay, cuts to pensions!

We are going to be consulted on

·        Should your service to be privatised?

·        Should your job be privatised?

·        Should you have pay freeze/cut for the next 5 years?

·        Should your pension to be closed?

Last week the Local Government Employers’ Circular – “Reducing Workforce Costs” was published.

Some of the headlines include :

·        impose a pay freeze if there is no contractual entitlement to an annual pay award or increment

·        Temporary suspension of incremental progression

·        Percentage reduction in salary through collective agreement with unions or by individual agreement in order to achieve a saving on your wage bill

·        Consider re-negotiating terms and conditions such as severance packages

Fightback

You keep nothing if you don’t fight for it.

What you can do

1.     Sign our petition online here http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bankers/

2.     Print off the petition and ask work colleagues to sign it and hand in to the UNISON Office.

3.     Sign up new UNISON members in your team

4.     Attend the Emergency Branch Meeting on Thursday 1 July 12.30 – 1.30 pm Conference room 3, Building 2, NLBP.

5.     Sign Robin Hood Tax petition and encourage colleagues and friends to sign.

‘selling off the family silver!’

Conversation allegedly overheard by someone travelling on the tube in Bank Station (it would have to be!) in the City of London.

Banker 1:  We need to start selling our public assets particularly those in the public sector.

Banker 2:  Why?

Banker 1: Because we are in a financial crisis, the economy is on the verge of collapse. The public gave us £1.3 Trillion (£1,300,000,000,000,000) which is nice of them. We don’t have to pay that off yet. Thank God they are not asking for it back.

Banker 2:  But why sell off our ‘family silver’ so cheaply?

Banker 1: Don’t be silly! We have a £1.35 Billion (1,350,000,000,000) Public Sector debt we have to pay off.

Banker 2:  I don’t understand?  Why don’t the government ask for the banks to help out?

Banker 1: Because we are banks silly! We don’t lend them money! It’s too risky! They might not pay us back and what would that mean for our bonuses? 

Banker 2:  Bonuses? You still getting a bonus?

Banker 1: Of course. Why shouldn’t we get our bonus? We take all the risks? Without us the economy would be in big trouble

Banker 2: But the economy is in big trouble, that is why the public hates bankers! Anyway I still don’t know why the sell off?

Banker 1: OK, OK listen. We got to keep the attention off the banks and back on public sector. The property portfolios of public sector are worth Billions of pounds. Thanks to our two banker mates running the Government (David & Nick) their job is to misdirect public’s attention from us to the public sector debt. By selling off council properties, especially schools the government will be able to halve the debt. They are seen as saviours, we take a cut from our friends in the multinationals who buy up the assets, everyone is a winner!

Banker 2: Not everyone surely.

Banker 1: Well no, but we are a bank not a public service! We have shareholders to answer to. Remember the banker’s motto ‘greed is good’. The Mugs just got to take the pain that is just the way it is? Any way how long you been a banker?

Banker 2: I’m not a banker. I’m one of the mugs!

Awkward silence…………………..

Schools belong to the community, they are a public asset. We should not be selling off public assets on the cheap. If you want to know more about why academies are not a good idea click on this link to the anti academy alliance http://www.antiacademies.org.uk/

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