What happened at the General Functions Committee 14 January?

General Function Committee is a committee which looks at staffing issues.

We submitted a number of reports

To view our Adult Social services report click on the link


Strangely this report was not discussed in the public part of the meeting so we do not know what councillors thought of our report. 

The Welfare Rights report and our budget briefings which we had discussed at committee the previous meeting were not accepted onto the Agenda for this committee. This has never happened before! 

Bizarrely, some of the councillors that sit on this committee had accepted the same report the previous evening!  

We are seeking an urgent meeting with the Director of Corporate Governance as there maybe be implications for those facing redundancy. More details to follow…

What happened at the trade unions meeting with councillors 13 January?

The Joint Trade Unions presented the Welfare Rights budget report and a budget briefing to the committee.


The councillors voted to accept receipt of reports in order we could discuss the content.


Welfare Rights/Sheltered Housing


·        How will the existing work of the Unit be covered if the unit is closed?

·        What approaches have been made (or are going to be made) to the third sector to cover the work of the Unit?

·        Has a disability impact assessment been carried out to determine affect of closing the Unit?

·        Has any consultation with service users been undertaken?

·        how will the views expressed be incorporated into the budget consultation process


Agency figures

We have asked for details of agency staff in order to ensure that there are opportunities for redeployment of staff vulnerable to redundancy.


Consultants spend

We have asked for consultancy spends across the directorates


Children’s Services

On the proposals affecting staff working in Children’s Services we were informed that talks on the restructures would be taking place with the trade unions. Reports on the outcomes of these consultations will follow.

Budget consultation – process

Understandably members are confused between the statutory 30 day notice period and the consultation process.


The statutory process started on 7 January which means some staff could receive redundancy notices on 7 February. However others could receive them later as their restructures move at a different pace.


Consultation has begun across the service areas, further updates will be provided by our Officers representing members facing redundancy.


Some key dates for members to note in relation to the budget


Full Council 27 January.

This meeting will consider the budget report raised at General Functions


Cabinet 23 February

This meeting will approve the final content of the budget.


Full Council 3 March

This is attended by all of Barnet Councillors and votes of whether to accept this budget

Overwhelming support for Welfare Rights Unit

A BIG thank you to Barnet UNISON members for the support you have shown the Welfare Rights Unit

Clearly the service is valued and key in supporting the most vulnerable members of our community

To view some of the messages we have received at such short notice click here



Council Budget 2009 -10

Council Budget 2009 UPDATE

Supporting the Vulnerable

First of all I want to thank those of you who have already sent messages of support to the welfare rights unit which is down be deleted in the budget proposals being considered at the Cabinet meeting tonight. We still need more of you to send in your messages of support. This is a service that provides to those with the highest need. In these severe economic times it is imperative that these service users are supported. Our report which we will be submitting to the Council (which will be publicly available found that the Unit is the last 12 months raised a staggering £1.8 million in benefits for service users in Barnet.

If you would like to send a message of support for this service please email john.burgess@barnetunison.org.uk

Sheltered Housing Scheme under threat as a result of proposed £950,000 budget saving. We have not had the opportunity to go through the proposals but our members working in sheltered accommodation understand that if this proposal goes through they will lose their jobs. We do not know who or what support will be provided to the 500 residents using this valuable service.

If you would like to send a message of support for the Sheltered Housing Service please email john.burgess@barnetunison.org.uk

Budget Proposals

The Trade Unions have not had the opportunity to discuss the proposals as they first need to be approved at tonight’s Cabinet Committee. You can find the Budget proposals online at


What you can do

If you work in a service where there are redundancies please let the branch office know by emailing contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or ringing the branch on 0208 359 2083/2088 in order we can arrange support for you and the service.

4 star pay for 4 star work?

I hope everyone had a good holiday and I hope we all get at least something of what we want and need next year!

Those in Adult Social Services will be aware of the major restructuring taking place there. Since late November we have been incredibly busy working on the 11 new Role Profiles covering well over 100 staff members at all grades. I’ve held meetings with most staff groups to go over the Role Profiles and points raised have been forwarded to the management team at our consultation meetings. Many points have been taken on board but some key concerns remain:

                       In the proposed new Role Profiles there is an expectation that staff will be working across disciplines. Social work staff will be expected to be able to assess and equip people with some Occupational Therapy equipment whilst OTs will be expected to assess and sort people out with some services usually arranged by social work staff. “Jack of all trades and master of none?” Or working more effectively and so providing a better service to the public resulting in less frustration?

                      Non-professionally qualified staff will continue to make complex decisions and handle complex situations but will their pay reflect this? So far this has not been the case. UNISON will continue to press for the pay these staff deserve. 

Most of what has been achieved could not have been so without the input of our members attending meetings and without the extra facility time given to the union. Has anything been achieved?

Role Profiles have been re-drafted and some major changes on some/ minor changes on others have been made reflecting the comments and questions raised by the unions. Whether this now means we all agree with the re-drafts is another matter!

On the 2 points outlined above there is greater insight into the complexity of  the issues involved.

The next round of meetings should clarify the outstanding issues of principle.

I look forward to seeing everyone again in the next round!

Helen Davies

Branch Chair and Adult Social Services steward.

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