FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Barnet UNISON issues warning to members about the Pension Service provided by Capita.

Barnet UNISON Press Release: Friday 1 December 2017

“The final straw for me was when I was sent copies of letters issued on London Borough of Hounslow letterheads with London Borough of Hounslow email contact details to our members by Capita Pension Service in response to their own Barnet Pensions queries. Barnet UNISON has been monitoring an ongoing catalogue of serious errors made by the Capita Pensions Service operating out of Darlington. Not only am I unhappy with Capita, but also with the Council, which agreed this outsourcing model. This fragmented model, where you have two pay roll departments running out of Belfast and Carlisle and Pensions running out of Darlington was agreed by senior Barnet Council Officers in 2012. They have long gone and left us with a service in which we have no confidence. Our Pension, is our members’ single biggest financial saving for their future. It is also their deferred earnings. The Pension service our members’ are having to endure is unacceptable. My concern is that there is an “Emperor’s New Clothes” culture in our Council. No criticism is tolerated, well Barnet UNISON will not stay silent the service needs to be brought back in-house.”  John Burgess Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary 


 

We advise all Barnet UNISON members who are in the

Local Government Pensions Scheme

to read this Press release and take up our offer below.

 


1.  Please find a brief explanation of the serious issues we have found over the past two years

  • 2015 Annual Benefit Statements not sent to all by statutory deadline
  • 2016 Annual Benefit Statements not sent to all by statutory deadline
  • 2015 Annual Benefit Statements not all correct – CARE benefit incorrectly based on taxable pay rather than pensionable pay
  • 2016 Annual Benefit Statements not all correct – CARE benefit incorrectly based on taxable pay rather than pensionable pay
  • 2017 Annual Benefit Statements not all accurate – missing previous LGPS membership, more than one statement, CARE benefit based on part pensionable pay
  • Barnet Pension communicated on another local authority’s letterhead showing two different e-mail addresses for communication with them
  • Insufficient details provided for pension calculations to check accuracy

2. What HAS Barnet UNISON done so far?

  • Raised issues at meetings with Chief Executive in December 2016, January 2017 and September 2017
  • Asked LBB to inform breaches to the Pensions Regulator
  • Issues raised at Local Pension Board meetings
  • Issues raised at regular monthly meetings with Council officers and Capita Pensions staff.

3. What YOU can do

End.

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: John Burgess Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: john.burgess@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

Below are a few links of the post transfer consultations with Capita which resulted in wholesale cuts to the local workforce.

1. The Pensions Regulator fines Barnet Council for failing to submit pension documentation

https://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/issues/july-online-2017/pensions-regulator-fines-barnet-council-failing-submit-pension-documentation/

2. Capita consultation on proposed sacking of Barnet Council Pension workforce as jobs move to Darlington (2013).

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/Pensions%20consultation%20document%20final%20v1%20071013.pdf

3. Barnet UNISON Press Release: “From hard working families to ‘scroungers’ – Capita redundancies

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2013/10/06/barnet-unison-press-release-from-hard-working-families-to-scroungers-capita-redundancies/

4. THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

“But he hasn’t got anything on,” a little child said.

“Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, “He hasn’t anything on. A child says he hasn’t anything on.”

“But he hasn’t got anything on!” the whole town cried out at last.

http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheEmperorsNewClothes_e.html

 

URGENT: More School grading ballots: VOTE YES

Barnet UNISON has just been informed that Barnet Council has sent another batch of grading ballot letters  to all community schools.

The next roles going forward for a Grading Appeal are as follows:

  • Teaching  Assistant  3 Mainstream
  • Teaching Assistant  3 Special
  • Teaching Assistant  4
  • Teaching Assistant 4 Special
  • Learning Mentor
  • Breakfast /After school Club  level 3

We need everyone to vote YES in order that Barnet UNISON can submit the Appeal.

If you have not had your ballot letter, please contact Barnet Council by email at unified.reward@barnet.gov.uk or post to The Unified Reward Team, London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London, N11 1NP.

Closing date Friday 15 December 2017. 

 

John McDonnell sends message of hope and solidarity

BREAKING NEWS: Shadow Chancellor sends message of hope and solidarity to Barnet UNISON and grassroots Labour Party members.

“I fully support the Barnet UNISON policy statement For A Better, Fairer, Democratically Accountable Barnet. The branch has mounted an inspirational decade long battle with a right wing ideological driven Tory Council determined to outsource all of its services. I send solidarity message to the branch and to Barnet Labour members who together will deliver a Labour Council to implement this policy statement. ” John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor

“I’m absolutely delighted that in his busy schedule John McDonnell has the time to send a message of Hope & Solidarity to Barnet UNISON members and grassroots Labour Party members who against the odds have delivered three marginal seats in Barnet. Our policy statement is a signal of intent to begin to address the damage done to our public services and the staff made redundant. Outsourcing has delivered in Barnet, but not in the way it was spun by consultants who grew rich on the millions paid by Barnet residents in the name of austerity. Hope for the many is within our grasp, austerity lite policies are not welcome here.”
John Burgess, Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary

For A Better, Fairer, Democratically Accountable Barnet.

For A Better, Fairer, Democratically Accountable Barnet.

1. 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)

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. SCHOOLS

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

9. 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.
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.

End.

Capita Re: What is EG Works Manager?

Dear Barnet UNISON Capita Re members

We have had a growing number of worrying reports about EG Works Manager.

We understand it is a new programme designed to monitor everything that you do.

It sounds very much like what was known back in the mists of time as a “Time and Motion” survey.

A ‘Time and Motion’ survey woul

 

d involve an employees following a worker around the workplace all day, recording everything, and I mean everything, including when they went to the toilet.

Barnet Unison understand that staff are going on training in order they are able to use it as early as December 2017.

A question for Barnet UNISON members working for Re

“What do you think about EG Works Manager?”

…………………………………………………………………..

If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Barnet UNISON office in confidence.

TAXI 4 Housing For Islington

Taxi for ALMOs?

Councillor James Murray, executive member for housing, Islington Council, said:
“The decision about housing management in Islington has been finely-balanced. We have decided that bringing HFI in-house will allow us to invest as much as possible in new council housing, whilst protecting our tenants and existing stock from changes the government might make.

“It is vital that we continue to give our tenants and leaseholders the best possible service from our committed staff who currently work for HFI.

“We will also use this opportunity to expand tenant and leaseholder involvement in housing management and we will be consulting next month on how this should be done.”

 

The decision follows a three-month consultation with tenants and leaseholders this summer – with thousands of residents responding to a questionnaire survey and taking part in discussion groups run by an Independent Tenants Advisor.

The council’s consultation heard a wide variety of residents’ views on what they want for the future of their housing services. Common themes emerging were the need for new housing, more council accountability and a bigger say in the issues that affect all residents – including tackling poverty, anti-social behaviour and saving money.

If confirmed, the decision means the council will negotiate an early termination (April 2012) of the housing management agreement with Homes for Islington which currently runs until 2014.

The arrangements are expected to save the council £1.7m a year.

Between November 2011 and March 2012 the council will carefully prepare for the changeover to minimise disruption to services and maintain the high quality of services residents have come to expect from HFI.

Street Scene workers update restructures

in-house

As a result of the Council agreeing to go ahead with the three restructures in Street Scene, there is a need to ensure that our members are fully supported whatever the outcome.

It is important that members understand that they have the right to representation in their one to one meetings.

If you need support/advice please contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Or contact the Barnet UNISON reps on site at Oakleigh or Harrow Depots.

Update: Street Scene restructures 8 November 2017

Dear Street Scene Unison member

On Wednesday 8th November, 2017 7.00 pm the General Functions Committee will meet to discuss a number of restructures.

You can view the report submitted to councillors here.

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=174&MId=9284

For many staff this is a difficult time it is important that you speak with Unison in order we can offer advice and or assistance.

If you need any support and/or representation please contact the Barnet Unison office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

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.”

 

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

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