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.

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.

TAXI 4 Housing repair contract in Islington

Taxi for ALMOs?

Islington Council has called off its housing repairs contract with Kier, deciding against a three-year extension option, and brought the work back in house.

Kier had been providing repair services to the London Borough of Islington’s 30,000 homes for the past 14 year under a £16.5m a year contract.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, said:

“This is an important milestone for Islington’s council housing. At the same time as building a new generation of council housing we want to provide a high-quality service for our residents.

“Two years ago we brought housing management back in-house – and now our decision to bringing the repairs service in-house too shows how important it is for us to get it right.

“By running the repairs service directly, we can ensure resident satisfaction is a priority over profit. Over time, we want to maximise local employment and apprenticeships, alongside supporting the workforce and reducing dependence on subcontractors.”

Excerpt from Islington council report:

There are two main options for Executive to consider:

An in-house service with a quantified estimate of potential financial risks

An extended contract subject to conditions that would have to be negotiated with Kier with unquantifiable financial risks.

The report continues that:

“An in-house option offers the best protection against further deterioration in the market for providing responsive repairs services. In recent years many councils and other housing providers have been hit hard when major contractors go out of business. Islington itself had a narrow escape when Connaught went out of business shortly before it was due to take up a capital investment contract, and some of our new-build has been delayed by the collapse of Rok.”

Conclusion

‘The in-house option carries potential short-to-medium term cost disadvantage, but in the longer run could be to the Council’s advantage. It also carries the risk of the service declining during a difficult transition. A well organised and well managed in-house service would provide better value for money and could reduce the financial risk of volatility in the market.’

http://democracy.islington.gov.uk/Data/Executive/201307111930/Agenda/F1.%20Kier%20responsive%20repairs%20contract%20review%20final.pdf

 

 

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.”