BreakingNews: Will Barnet Council close schools early ?

Hi Ian

I am writing to you in your statutory role to ask if you are aware of the Greenwich Council decision which has appeared online this afternoon?

I attach a copy of the letter sent out to all Greenwich schools by the Leader of Greenwich Council.

Please note he states:

“I have asked all Schools in Greenwich to close their premises from Monday evening and move to online learning for the duration of term, with the exception of key worker children and those with specific needs (exactly the same as the first lockdown).”

Throughout the pandemic we have been advised that Barnet Council are working in line with London Councils. I am assuming this decision has been subject to some discussions with London Councils?

Given the increased likelihood of London going into Tier 3 and perhaps the 23 – 28 December initiative being limited for people living in London is Barnet Council going to try to mitigate the spread by following their lead?

I will be writing to over a thousand plus UNISON members working in Barnet Schools most of which are frightened at the increasing likelihood that there will be more infections in the last week of school and the negative impact it will have on their families.

Stay safe.

Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary.

Barnet UNISON

0208 359 2088

www.barnetunison.me.uk

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2088

 

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

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