In three days another austerity driven Barnet Council restructure will end with the possibility of another redundancy.
Barnet UNISON had noticed a few discrepancies in the data accompanying the report namely the staffing numbers and the lack of any idea as to what savings were required from this proposal.
This is odd because all the savings are detailed in the latest Medium Terms Financial Strategy report which was recently agreed at the last Policy and Resources Committee on 20 February 2019.
You can view the report here https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s51255/Appendix%20Q%20Summary%20of%20savings%20proposals.pdf
As you can see when reading the above report there is no identified saving for the Community Safety Team.
Barnet UNISON wrote to Executive Director of Environment and asked the following:
“In paragraph 2.9 it states:
“The proposal decreases the core funded council posts from 9 FTE posts to 7 FTE posts. Whist doing this it also brings the current staff costs in line with the staffing budget and increases the capacity on the front line where there is the most demand.”
As you know there is a potential redundancy with this proposal. In which case it is important to understand what saving is required for this restructure as there isn’t a saving figure provided in this document.
- What is the saving required for this restructure?
This leads to next question.
I’ve looked at the Savings proposals (attached) going to Policy and Resources Committee on 20 February 2019 and I am unable to find under environment and reference to a saving for Community Safety.
- Is this proposal linked to the MTFS Budget savings
- Please can you forward the Equalities Impact assessment?
I’d like to add that Barnet UNISON would support any proposal that ensures the Barnet Community Safety Team has the capacity and structure to deliver on the commissioning, enforcement, strategic, policy and operational statutory community safety functions of the team.
At this stage our view is that the proposed reduction of Community Safety Managers would put this at risk.
Lastly, please confirm that the consultation does conclude on 28 February 2019.”
Last week we received the following response:
“Please note the answers to your email below:
Community Safety would be contributing approximately up to £68,000 to Environment savings.
The proposal is contributing to overall Environment savings.
As there are fewer than 10 staff working in Community Safety it is not appropriate to compare their equality data against the corporate data, both in terms of the limited metrics and from the perspective of inappropriately disclosing information of a sensitive personal nature which would enable the identification of the individuals concerned.
The report will therefore focus upon more general approaches to equalities and fair and equal treatment of staff in the workforce based on protected characteristics. You can expect this before the end of consultation.
I can confirm that consultation concludes 28 February 2019.”
Barnet UNISON responded immediately:
“Thanks for this information.
As there is a risk of redundancy and as a result the level of support for staff may be impacted by the redundancy I am think it important the Council communicates the information provided below.
For consultation to meaningful its important all of the key information is made available to the staff team.
In terms of the equalities impact information. I note that risk number ST027 in the Corporate Risk register quite rightly identifies the risk of not having a dedicated Equalities Officer in place. As you know the post holder has left and the Council has chosen not to replace this post. In which case I do think it important that with the consultation period due to end in just 7 days your report which you state will “focus upon more general approaches to equalities and fair and equal treatment of staff in the workforce based on protected characteristics” will be shared with all staff as a matter of urgency unless of course the Council decides to extend the consultation date.”
Barnet UNISON is unaware if the above responses have been shared with staff. If not it would be a concern as consultation must provide open and transparent information for the workforce in order they may be able to consider any alternatives to redundancy.
Watch this space…….