BREAKING NEWS:Trade Unions all call for outsourced Schools contract to be brought in-house.

 

 

 

“Barnet Council’s draft Equality Impact Assessment is fundamentally inadequate because it does not assess the impact of the two options on the equality groups and assumes no negative impact. But there is a world of difference in terms and conditions, particularly pensions, between being transferred to the Council and being transferred to a Local Authority Controlled Company which currently does not exist and will be modelled on other Council arms length companies that have inferior terms and conditions. Therefore the Equality Impact Assessment must be rewritten.”

Dexter Whitfield

“Why, why, why are Barnet Council making this crisis worse? The contractor is dumping the contract through no fault of the staff. All the staff want hear from Barnet Council are these two little words “Welcome Back”. The evidence for returning the hard working Education and Skills workforce is contained within the Joint Trade Union report written By Dexter Whitfield.”

John Burgess Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.

It is clear that the best option is for Education and Skills to return the council.   Employment will be less attractive with an LACC resulting in it being harder to recruit and retain the experienced staff required and this can only mean an inferior service for schools and the young people of Barnet.

Keith Nason, Secretary Barnet NEU.

“The comparison of key criteria in this report makes it clear to the advantages of an in-house option and I encourage GMB members’ to read this detailed report.

Outsourcing has been bad news for Barnet staff. Time and time again, we have seen private providers fail to deliver while members’ terms and conditions and national agreements have been undermined.

GMB are clear that it is better value for services such as this to be brought back in-house.”

Mary Goodson, GMB Barnet Branch Secretary & Krissy O’Hagan, GMB London Region Organiser.

The following Trade Unions representing workers from Cambridge Education have worked together with their members and Dexter Whitfield to produce a report to Barnet Council.

  • UNISON
  • NEU
  • GMB
  • NASUWT
  • Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP)

Summary of the report

The two options of in-house provision or establishing new Local Authority Controlled Company (LACC) are examined using 12 key criteria (see Table 1) with in-house provision having significant advantages over the latter.

1.The Council’s draft Equalities Impact Assessment is significantly flawed because it concludes there is ‘No Impact’ for any of the equality groups when in fact there is a Positive Impact for all equality groups with the in-house option but a Major Negative Impact for all equality groups with the LACC option.

2. We have examined the ability of Education and Skills to retain and recruit qualified and experienced staff and conclude that the continuity of service and quality of pension schemes are fundamentally important. The LACC option fails on both these criteria.

3. A sustainable motivated workforce to provide the range and quality of services required by schools, parents and children for their physical and mental health is dependent on the retention of the existing staff and the recruitment of new qualified and experienced staff is critically important to ensure high quality services for Barnet Schools.

4. A divided, demoralised workforce as a result of a differential in terms and conditions combined with an inability to retain and recruit qualified staff is inherent in the LACC model and will have a long lasting negative impact in education and the community.

5. The Council has failed to prepare a full Equality Impact Assessment for the consultation process.

6. The Council has stated that the Equality Impact Assessment and the full business case will only be completed after the consultation feedback deadline of 4pm 3 July 2020. This contradicts Government policy set out in the Green Book, and ignores over a decade of established custom and practice in Barnet and is likely to fail to take full account of key and other unforeseen emerging issues.

7. The multinational Mott MacDonald’s use of the Force Majeure contract clause raises many questions given that Barnet’s Education and Skills contract represented just 0.23% of the company’s £771m annual turnover in 2019. The fact that all local authorities with education responsibilities, teachers and parents are confronted by the same impact of COVID-19 raises questions over the real motives of this decision.

Recommendations

1. We strongly recommend that Barnet Council transfers Education and Skills staff from Cambridge Education back to direct employment in the Council.

2. We recommend that the contract management functions of the ISS catering contract, which is going to be novated to the Council, are established in the Education Department.

To View the Full report click on link below

Barnet Why Educ Skills in-house 2020

Notes to Editors.

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

Background:

History of the outsourcing of Schools Meals and Education & Skills services

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2015/11/17/history-of-the-outsourcing-of-schools-meals-and-education-skills-services/

 

Catering Services: “Jewel in the Crown”: Privatisation of Education & Skills and Catering in Barnet

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/Barnet%20Jewel%20in%20the%20Crown%20final.pdf

 

Education & Skills and Catering: Threat of large-scale subcontracting

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/sites/default/files/Barnet%20Education%20&%20Skills%20subcontracting.pdf

“IMPORTANT Update: Guidance and template letter for vulnerable employees (England)”

28 May 2020.

Please read the latest guidance provided by UNISON

This guidance covers:

1 Clinically extremely vulnerable employees (people at high risk)

2 Clinically vulnerable employees (people at moderate risk)

3 Employees living with / caring for the vulnerable or extremely vulnerable

4 Black employees

5 Older employees (over 60)

6 Employees who have childcare responsibilities

7 Employees who are feeling anxious about returning to work

8 Template letter to head teacher

Click on the link to read the guidance

https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2020/05/Guidance-and-template-letter-for-vulnerable-employees.pdf

If you need any help with this advice please contact the branch office at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

 

Capita refusing share COVID risk assessments with Barnet UNISON

Dear Members

Barnet UNISON as part of our efforts to ensure all of our members was safe contacted Capita in order that we could take part in the Risk Assessment consultation process.

Our branch has been busy for the last 8 weeks supporting and advising our members working and dealing with the COVID 19 risk in the workplace.

Whilst many staff are able to work from home there are staff who have to go out into the community to deal with the public.

It is important that all employers comply with Health and Safety Legislation in relation to Risk Assessments.

Now more than ever all employers should understand the importance of carrying out Risk Assessments for all of their staff in order they can provide assurances their workplace is safe.

It is important to note but as of Friday 22 May 2020, Barnet UNISON has not been consulted on any Risk Assessment for any job role being carried out by our members on both Capita contracts.

We have seen a Capita generic Risk Assessment which as soon as we challenged it Capita admitted it was out of date.

Barnet UNISON was informed that Capita compliance team issued 3 generic risk assessments (which have seen) which we were told would be a starting point for discussions around role specific Risk Assessments for staff working on the two Barnet contracts.

This was positive news.

Barnet UNISON requested the contact details for the manager responsible for coordinating the Risk Assessments on both Capita contracts in Barnet.

Capita responded stating they will not share or agree all risk assessments as requested as this is not something as an organisation that we do.

The health, safety and welfare of our members working for Capita is a serious matter and as such we have escalated this matter to UNISON National as the following legislation must be followed by the employer.

It is worrying that in this current COVID Pandemic where serious and fatal risks are being faced by workers every day that any employer would refuse to share or agree Risk Assessments with a Trade Union.

Relevant Legislation: Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Regulation 3 – employers must conduct suitable and sufficient risk assessments

Regulation 4 – requires employer to control hazards at source

Regulation 7 – employer must appoint competent persons to conduct RA

Regulation 10 – workers must be given comprehensive and relevant information about risks

Regulation 13 – employers must ensure workers are capable and trained

Regulation 16/19 – RA must take account of women of child-bearing age and young people’s risks.

Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

Regulation 4 states:

Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.

If you have any concerns please email the branch on contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

End.

 

 

 

 

We Need To Hear From You

IMPORTANT:

We are attending weekly skype meetings with Barnet Council every Wednesday morning.

Barnet UNISON statement:

If you have any questions or concerns email the branch at

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

You can keep up to date with Barnet UNISON here on our

Website here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BarnetUNISON/

Twitter https://twitter.com/barnet_unison

Coronavirus Update “underlying medical conditions”. 17 March 2020

“I have been told that I have an underlying medical condition and I must leave work and self-isolate for 12 weeks.”

“What do they mean by self-isolation?”

  • Those who are vulnerable* should stay off work for 12 weeks (not in self isolation but to avoid risk of infection)
  • Self-isolation means staying indoors and not even shopping for food or essentials. Further details are here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
  • All unnecessary social contact and travel should be avoided by everyone, including pubs, restaurants, theatres etc.

 “What do they mean by underlying conditions?”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
  • chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
  • diabetes
  • problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
  • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • those who are pregnant

Some clinical conditions put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this category, next week the NHS in England will directly contact you with advice the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice in full, outlined below.

People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:

  • people who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
  • people with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
  • people with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)

Barnet UNISON advice:

If you have any of the above conditions please contact your employer. Barnet Council have confirmed that all of their staff and agency workers who are at risk and will need to self-isolate will receive full pay. If you have any problems please contact the Barnet UNISON office at

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Breaking News: Barnet UNISON writes to Norse the Cleaning contractor for Barnet Council

Norse won the Barnet Council Cleaning contract last year. They provide cleaning services in many schools and Council buildings including the new £55 million new Colindale office.

Barnet Council quite rightly have recognised the need to increase the cleaning regime in Council buildings and schools in order to try to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus amongst staff and the public.

However the main risk identified by Barnet UNISON was that the cleaners do not receive sick pay and many are on zero hours contracts. This means it is highly likely that any cleaners exhibiting symptoms of the virus will still attend work as they could not afford to lose pay.

Barnet UNISON asked the Council to make contact with Norse to ask if they will ensure all staff will receive full pay if they need to self-isolate or exhibit symptoms of the virus. To date the Council has not had a reply.

Today, Monday 16 March 2020 Barnet UNISON has written to Norse asking them for clarification about sick pay for their staff working on the Council corporate cleaning contract.

We will report their response as soon as we have had a response.

Barnet UNISON submission to Barnet Council about #Coronavirus

Dear Barnet UNISON members
The follow proposals have been submitted to Barnet Council today.
The following applies to all Barnet Council workers (Barnet Council workers includes all staff working in Barnet Community Schools.) during the period of the current #Coronavirus Pandemic.
• All sickness absence monitoring to cease.
• Full sick pay to be paid to all staff regardless of length of service or where their entitlement has reduced or expired.
• No reduction in pay for staff who are self-isolating or caring for someone who is at risk.
• No reduction in pay for any worker having to take time away to look after their children.
• No redundancy consultations.
• All restructures to go on hold.
• Disciplinaries where no risk to life and limb or others to be postponed.
• All other grievances/disciplinaries/capabilities/and Appeals to only go ahead on a case by case basis in agreement with the trade unions.
• For those workers who would be considered to be vulnerable to Coronavirus e.g. workers over 60 and those with underlying health conditions are to be allowed to self-isolate and/or work from home if they so wish.
• Barnet Council to seek information from their workforce as to what skills, expertise they can volunteer in order to assist the Council to be able to redirect resources to socially useful activities and offer training.
• Any worker volunteering to work at a higher grade will be paid at that rate.
• No worker will suffer a financial detriment from volunteering.
• Communication to go out on a daily basis giving clear guidance about what the Council is doing across all services. This communication should go out in a number of formats e.g. Email, flyers, Council website (not just intranet). This communication will be done in such a way as to demonstrate we understand the workforce will be the ones passing on information about the Council’s response and can play a useful role in carrying out and reinforcing these messages.
• Business continuity meetings to include representatives from the trade unions.
• Urgent reviews/risk assessments to be carried out with the involvement and collaboration of all staff to determine what work must be done and what can be done differently or postponed in order to reduce unneccesary contact with public e.g. telephone assessments instead of face to face meetings.
• Provision of counselling services for all staff to be promoted in all future communication in order to look after the mental wellbeing of the workforce
• To ensure adequate supplies for handwashing is provided for mobile workers.
• End hot desking.
• Where possible allow workers to vary working hours to reduce risk of infection on congested public transport.
• Bring the outsourced cleaning services back in-house.
Contractors
Barnet Council to seek confirmation from all contractors whose staff work alongside Barnet Council workers that they are also providing full pay for their staff who are off sick or self-isolating or needing to look after children.
Agency
Barnet Council to seek confirmation from all agency organisations supplying staff to work alongside Barnet Council workers that they are also providing full pay for their staff who are off sick or self-isolating or needing to look after children.

Barnet UNISON seriously health and safety concerns about building works at the depot

On Monday 18 November 2019 building works begin at the purpose built depot.

“There may be disruption to bin collection services while we carry out urgent work at Oakleigh Depot which is where our recycling and waste services are mainly run from.

Urgent work is being carried out to fix the issue of the ground movement, so that we can continue to run services safely from the depot.

Recycling and refuse collections may take place later into the day up until 10pm.”

(Source: https://www.barnet.gov.uk/depotworks)

Basically a large section of road in the depot over 200 metres or more is at risk of sliding down the hill into Oakleigh Road South.

Barnet UNISON members have been raising serious concerns about the land movement for almost 18 months. It is disappointing that the concerns of the workforce and the trade unions were ignored and now the damage requires a serious engineering intervention that will take up to six months to complete.

Today Friday 15 November 2019, Barnet UNISON has not had a single risk assessment about the major building works that are due to start on Monday. The depot is already under pressure due to the subsidence which makes traffic movement a critical risk. We have had ongoing problems with lighting in the mornings and serious concerns about the state of the Brogans site for the vehicles. It is clear the haste to move into Brogans without making it fit for purpose is being made at the expense of the health and safety of our members.

Request after request have been submitted requesting the risks assessments none have been made available.

The following Health and Safety legislation applies has been ignored:

Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations, 1977.Regulation 7

Inspection of documents and provision of information.

(1)       Safety representatives shall for the performance of their functions under section 2(4) of the 1974 Act and under these Regulations, if they have given the employer reasonable notice, be entitled to inspect and take copies of any document relevant to the workplace or to the employees the safety representatives represent which the employer is required to keep by virtue of any relevant statutory provision within the meaning of section 53(1) of the 1974 Act except a document consisting of or relating to any health record of an identifiable individual.

Barnet UNISON: Fail  

Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974

2 (6) It shall be the duty of every employer to consult any such representatives with a view to the making and maintenance of arrangements which will enable him and his employees to co-operate effectively in promoting and developing measures to ensure the health and safety at work of the employees, and in checking the effectiveness of such measures.

Barnet UNISON: Fail  

Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations, 1977. Regulation 4A

(1) Without prejudice to the generality of section 2(6) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, every employer shall consult safety representatives in good time with regard to – (a) the introduction of any measure at the workplace which may substantially affect the health and safety of the employees the safety representatives concerned represent;

Barnet UNISON: Fail  

In light of the above Barnet UNISON has no option but to escalate this matter in order that our members are safe at work.

If you are a Barnet UNISON member working at the Depot and have any questions or concerns please ring our Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

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