Incredibly last week our reps were informed that Barnet Council were continuing with the repairs at Apthorp with the intention that it will re-open.
This was shocking news in that the staff were not informed it was re-opening and the Council delegated report which triggered the announcement of the sacking of the 93 Covid heroes did not mention that Apthorp would re-open
The only recorded decision was as follows:
“1. To commence work with the residents of Apthorp and their families to identify appropriate alternative placements and effect a safe transfer to the new home.”
View report here https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?Id=8668
“Why did Barnet Council consult residents, relatives, Trade Unions and staff on the options before simply imposing a decision that is damaging both to resident and staff?”
Now we know it is re-opening we are seeking a meaningful consultation on an alternative way to deal with the issues facing the residents and staff.
Look out for further updates.
Capita have received a staggering £555 million from Barnet Council whilst 93 #CovidHeroes care workers have been given their redundancy notice due to a decision made by Barnet Council
Big thanks to @ReasonableNB for keeping tally of the #Capita payments
“Just what we pay Capita – How they billed £555 million to one council”
This is truly shocking our #WeAreBarnet #keyworkers just don’t understand why money can be found for Capita but not for the residents of #Apthorp
Please come along in solidarity for our 93 Covid Heroes who after working through Covid were told two weeks ago their jobs were going.
The lobby starts 6 pm outside Hendon Town Hall and finishes at 7 pm.
This will be an opportunity to hear from the care workers directly as to what has happened.
Barnet UNISON has a proud history of standing up for members when they are in need therefore we are calling on all Barnet UNISON members and trade union members to attend our Solidarity public lobby.
We had asked to speak at the Adults & Safeguarding Committee which starts at 7 pm inside Hendon Town Hall , but our request was denied.
We have been offered a meeting and we are waiting for the date and time.
We also want to extend our request for solidarity to the wider Trade Union movement and we are pleased to announce that our lobby will be hosted by Socialist Telly.
You can find Socialist Telly on You Tube here https://www.youtube.com/c/SocialistTelly
Here are details to join the Save Apthorp care home lobby online
Join Barnet UNISON Zoom Meeting Tuesday 14 September at 5.45 pm – 7 pm
Meeting ID: 882 3024 6920
News has come to light which suggests that Barnet Council does not own Apthorp care home.
See Land Registry which shows that the owner is CATALYST HOUSING LIMITED (Industrial and Provident Society No. IP16561R) of Ealing Gateway, 26-30 Uxbridge Road, London W5 2AU.
Let’s go back to Barnet Council delegated Powers report which made the decision to close the home which has created untold stress and anxiety for residents and their relatives along with the 93 Covid heroes who work there.
“In March 2021 and May 2021 routine fire safety assessments, followed by additional building conditions surveys identified that significant and intrusive works would be required to bring the building up to standard. Indicative costs were estimated to be in the region of £2.7m.”
The report fails to mention that the costs which are high should be paid by the owner of the property instead it is the reason to justify the decision to create havoc at Apthorp.
Furthermore, the communication over this decision is all over the place.
In the communication to staff and trade unions the time to get out states 31 October 2021 yet in this report it states:
“This report recommends that, to ensure residents’ needs are being met appropriately, the adult social care team should work with YCB to support residents to move to alternative care homes by end November 2021.”
There are so many questions that are unanswered about this grievous decision see our next post
In the meantime, we are still waiting to hear back from the Chair of Adults & Safeguarding Committee in answer to our request to address the meeting on behalf of our 93 Covid heroes. The silence is deafening.
Details of our lobby on Tuesday 14 September at 6 pm are here below
Barnet Council back in 1998 made a decision that it would outsource all of its Elderly Services residential and day care services.
They not only wanted to get rid of the workforce they handed over the property to the lucky contractor.
Imagine that 11 prime real estate locations and they only required to build four new settings (they only built three new homes, more on that in a later post).
Barnet UNISON commissioned a report to counter this proposal.
Here is what we recommended to Barnet Council back in 1999
We recommend that:
- Barnet maintains ownership of its residential homes and continues to
directly employ staff engaged in these homes. Any reorganisation and
redirection of resources in favour of specialist or domiciliary care should be in
the context of in-house provision and joint work with health organisations,
rather than transfers to the independent sector.
- The residential and domiciliary services, including home care, day care and
respite care, be subject to a comprehensive Best Value service review which
includes a detailed examination of quality and cost.
- The council works with the trade unions and staff to develop the in-house
service. As part of this a review of the operation and management of the
service should be conducted with the full involvement of the trade unions, users and the wider community in accordance with the Best Value requirements .
- Alternative funding options and the impact of phased improvement work on
the capital programme require further detailed investigation before any
decisions are made.
You can read the FULL report here Barnet Res Care 1999 report
Needless to say, our report was ignored, and the staff and Council properties handed over to contractors.
Next post will be on what happened next?
Did we get high quality care homes fit for the future?
What happened to the work force?
Monday 23 August 2021
Care staff working at Apthorp residential and day care service were told last Friday 20 August 2021 that Barnet Council had made the decision to close Apthorp.
There are approximately 93 care staff working at this location.
Apthorp provides services for vulnerable older people.
Apthorp was originally owned by Barnet Council until it was sold off with 10 other Council residential homes and day services to Catalyst Housing who contracted Fremantle Trust to take over the Council care workforce.
The current Apthorp buildings were part of a deal which meant Catalyst Housing were given all 11 real estate locations to develop for themselves and in return they would provide modern state of the art residential and day care services on four of the sites.
Only three were built.
What were the staff been told?
In a letter from their employer it states:
“the Council and Your Choice Barnet have taken the decision to vacate Apthorp Care Home by 31 October 2021. You will be aware that we have been carrying out some fire safety works in the building. Whilst all emergency works have been carried out, further surveys have taken place which highlight that significant levels of repairs are needed. The scope of works required in Apthorp Care Centre are extensive and would be extremely disruptive to residents of the home.”
At the meeting some staff responded to this devastating news by claiming that moving vulnerable residents from Apthorp to another home at this time will result in blood on someone’s hands because some of the residents won’t react well to the move.
There is documented evidence of the serious and sometimes fatal risks when moving vulnerable and elderly residents out of their homes. What is worrying about this plan is that Barnet Council are attempting to fast track the move of residents in less than two months which does not provide ample time to prepare and support vulnerable residents.
“Two decades to run down a service, wasted millions of public monies and now 93 Covid heroes are to be sacked.
The world is upside down, seriously it is less than 12 months since our members were trying to care for vulnerable residents struggling to deal with Covid. There was no vaccine back then and the lack of PPE was an issue for members who were risking their own lives and those of their own family every day they went into work.
I won’t forget the fear in the voices of care workers as Covid was letting rip across Care homes. I can never begin to understand the terror our members were going through every day and all for the magnificent sum of £8.72 per hour! So here we are now August 2021 and our members have been told their workplace is closing, through no fault of their own.
Barnet UNISON will be supporting every single one of our members at this time we will also be seeking to find out who made this decision and why, this is not over. Keep watching this space…….”
(John Burgess Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON).
“The workers at the care home and day centre will have their lives thrown up in the air some few months after banners at the care home proclaimed them as heroes for how they dealt with the pandemic. There has been absolutely NO engagement with staff, residents, their families or the trade unions at any point to consider how Apthorp could be made viable. The cornerstone of activism for people with disabilities – nothing about us without us – has been utterly and completely ignored.
The elderly and the workforce are ignored and presumably they are just furniture to be moved around as The Great and The Good see fit. They are not worthy of any consideration. They have received no apology for this shocking turn of affairs.”
(Helen Davies Branch Chair Barnet UNISON.)
“We know the Care workers are ‘fit for purpose’ – they worked through the most unprecedented times in living history giving care to the most vulnerable in our community – in many cases end of life care to the clients they obviously love while putting themselves and their loved ones in danger to deliver care for their patients.
Their reward? The Barnet Group have announced their plan to make 93 Covid Heroes redundant. To sack the very workers that a few months ago were described as ‘Heroes’ because the company they work for obviously didn’t complete any meaningful due diligence when transferring staff and buildings from Fremantle, begs the question as to who should be facing redundancy.” (Patrick Hunter Barnet UNISON Convenor Barnet Homes.)
“The planned closure of the Apthorpe care home is the latest Adult Care policy decision that will have a major impact on service users, job losses for care workers and another policy decision that will ultimately cost council taxpayers dearly.
It marks 22 years of knee-jerk decison-making by Barnet Council which havve been devoid of economic and social impact analysis and cost benefit analysis since Barnet’s care homes were privatised to a Catalyst/Fremantle ‘partnership’.
Some partnership when eleven homes left the Council and only three return twenty years later. So what has happened to the land of the other eight homes?”
(Dexter Whitfield, Director, European Services Strategy Unit)
Note to Editors: Contact details: Helen Davies Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: Helen.Davies@barnetunison.org.uk
The Good News is that with the support of our Bin workers, Barnet Council has agreed to restore National Green Book Weekend and Bank Holiday rates of pay which will mean large numbers of our lowest paid members will be earning more money.
In February 2021 Barnet UNISON submitted a proposal for a COVID thank you payment for all frontline workers, care workers, school staff, depot workers.
The Bad news is that this proposal was rejected.
Details of our proposal is here.
and the Ugly.
On Friday 11 June 2021 Barnet UNISON enters into negotiations with The Barnet Group and Barnet Council about the serious inequalities in the workplace that are bad for the health and well being of our members and their families.
“Employers can no longer mistreat staff who take part in industrial action, says UNISON”
“UK law had previously prevented employers from sacking staff involved in strike action or other workplace disputes, but not from disciplining or making life difficult for them, says UNISON.
But now, disciplinary action against workers who go on strike will be unlawful. This follows today’s judgment at the employment appeal tribunal (EAT) over a case taken by care worker Fiona Mercer against the Alternative Futures Group (AFG).
She had been involved in organising, and subsequently took part in, a long-running dispute over AFG’s plans to cut payment for sleep-in shifts undertaken by its care staff.”
Read more here.