End the causes of Climate Change – a Call for Urgent Action and Solidarity

This is an Emergency Please sign our Petition now

https://www.change.org/p/london-borough-of-barnet-climate-change

End the causes of Climate Change – a Call for Urgent Action and Solidarity  Motion.

Branch notes:

  • The Earth’s temperature has already risen by 1 degree above pre-industrial levels. The IPCC report last autumn warned that we only have 12 years to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees. Carbon emissions need to be cut by 45% by 2030, and reach zero carbon by 2050 in order to avoid a dangerous tipping point.
  • Air Pollution is the number one cause of deaths from environmental impacts resulting in the premature deaths of 40,000 citizens and an economic cost of £54 billion.
  • The UK Government has been taken to the European Court by Client Earth over its failure to act on illegal air pollution levels and the Government has lost its case which means it must now act.
  • A large number of our members work outdoors and are regularly exposed to air pollution.
  • The tremendous impact of the school students strikes in shifting government complacency over climate change forcing them to amend the 2008 Climate Change act.
  • Greta Thunberg’s call for a climate strike and for adults and workers to join the global school students strike on the 20th September which will begin a week of action on climate.
  • The solidarity strikes organised by trade unions in Belgium and France.

 Branch believes: 

  • Climate change is a trade union issue.
  • Our members have the right to work in a safe environment and for any associated risks to be mitigated.
  • Our Council needs to do more to protect our members in the face of the Climate Emergency.
  • More broadly the future of our planet is at risk if we don’t organise now to force governments’ to cut emissions in line with the IPCC report.
  • That taxing the very wealthy and closing tax loopholes in line with Labour Party manifesto commitments will meet the cost of cutting emissions by 50%.
  • That we must keep the pressure up. The school students have led the way but the trade union movement as a whole must now act to ensure that they don’t fight alone.

Branch resolves:

  • To commits the branch into entering urgent negotiations with Barnet Council and other employers in order to identify the following:
  • The risks to the health and wellbeing of workers regularly exposed to air pollution.
  • What measures/protection can be put in place to mitigate the hard of air pollution?
  • What health checks can be made available to workers regularly exposed to air pollution?
  • The branch contacts our union to ascertain any possible legal claims for injury at work as a result of regular expose to air pollution.
  • To back the call for a climate strike on 20 September
  • To support the call by the UCU for the TUC to organise a 30 minute workday solidarity stoppage to coincide with the global school student strike on the 20th
  • To call upon our national executive to support the UCU’s motion at this year’s TUC congress calling for a 30 minute workday stoppage.
  • For our branch to argue for and call a stoppage on the 20th September and for our branch to campaign for the maximum possible show of solidarity with school students 20th

Call out in solidarity for local democracy in Barnet 30 July 2019

On Tuesday 30 July 2019, 7pm in Hendon Town Hall, Barnet Council will vote on a proposal that in will restrict Barnet residents’ ability to ask questions and speak at future Council Committee meetings.

The London Borough of Barnet has a wealth of community activism which includes Barnet Bloggers (Mr Reasonable, Mrs Angry, Mr Mustard and Barnet Eye) and Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) to name just a few.

Their contributions over the last decade have largely been supportive of the services our members provide.

However, their contribution to future committees will virtually cease if the proposed rule change is passed at Full Council on 30 July 2019.

Barnet residents have responded by setting up a petition entitled “Stop Barnet Council From Gagging Residents”

You and read and sign in solidarity by clicking on this link here

https://t.co/P7sb0e3KNU?amp=1

Barnet UNISON is asking members to show solidarity by joining Barnet residents on Tuesday 30 July outside Hendon Town Hall from 6 pm onwards.

“Breathe Life – How air pollution impacts your body”

Barnet UNISON notes the dangers air pollution can have on our members working in Barnet.

We have already started discussions with Barnet Council about what can be done to mitigate the dangers of breathing in polluted air.

It is important our members understand the risks and what measures their employer can take to help both mitigate and or reduce the risk of air pollution.

The following video entitled “Breathe Life – How air pollution impacts your body” was made by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It is a short and easy to understand video.

There is a Climate Emergency and it is impacting on all of us now. It would be wrong to ignore it. Action is needed now. Please keep up to date by ensuring you receive our weekly Barnet UNISON eNews email by contacting the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

 

Lest we ever forget the million pound plus fraud committed by a Capita employee

Below is an extract from a report submitted to

Audit Committee 17 July 2018 


Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT) Annual Report 2018/19

(Source: https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s52410/Appendix%201%20CAFT%20Annual%20Report%201st%20April%202018%2031st%20March%202019.pdf )

2018-19 saw CAFT officers investigate and prosecute an unprecedented internal financial fraud. In Response to his officer resource was diverted from all sections within the team to deal with the investigation. The case was given the name Operation Rouble which subsequently proved to be the most challenging, complex and substantial fraud that Barnet has experienced.

  • The fraud related to two offences of ‘abuse of position’ which were committed by a Capital Investment Manager, employed by Capita and working for Regional Enterprise. The offender created instructions for CHAPS payments in excess of £2 million to be processed in relation to fictitious compulsory purchase orders.
  • The CAFT were notified in December 2017 and utilised their financial investigators powers to obtain tangible evidence which resulted in the offender being arrested and suspended within 24 hours of the investigation being initiated.
  • The criminal aspect of the investigation was evidenced and prepared for prosecution within five months which subsequently led to the successful conclusion of the case in July 2018 which saw the offender being sentenced at Harrow Crown Court to 5 years imprisonment.
  • CAFT has carried on the financial investigation and continues to do so in order to ensure all proceeds of crime are identified and recovered accordingly
  • CAFT has also worked closely with Internal Audit and Finance in relation to recommendation from the external review of financial controls and the ongoing audit testing relating to financial controls.
  • CAFT jointly conducting a payments data analytics exercise with Internal Audit in order to identify irregularities and/or make recommendations for improvement.

Further details of the investigation can be found in the noteworthy investigation section, and full details of the external review into financial control conducted by Grant Thornton is available on the council’s website Financial controls https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/finance-and-funding/Financial-controls.html


12 months later at Policy and Resources Committee 17 June 2019 Barnet Council decided to keep both Capita contracts largely untouched with a review sometime in the future. 

 

 

Trying to make sense of easyCouncil and Capita?????

Barnet Council entered into two large outsourcing contracts with Capita in 2013. Six years later there has been a serious fraud and the services are not up to standard.

Who is saying this?

The Council both the staff who use Capita services and the staff that commission Capita services.

A year ago the Council announced a large number of services were to be brought back in-house yet a year on only a few have made it across the line.

On Monday 17 June 2019, Barnet Council gave Capita the thumbs up for both contracts.

You can read more about the Capita contracts here on the Barnet UNISON website

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

Another Capita Pension Service Fail!

The reports on data quality issues with the Capita Pension Administration Service based in Darlington have been many.

I noticed that there is another Data Quality Report submitted for the Pension Fund Committee, on Thursday 30 May 2019

(See here https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s52720/Data%20Quality%20Report.pdf )

It reminded me of the Open Portal web site all members of the Council Pension Scheme had access to before Capita took over.

It was taken down in 2014 with a promise that it would be back up soon.

It’s 24 May 2019 and it is not available and worrying Capita seem to think it was not in the contract to provide such a portal.

Whenever I need to check out the contract there is only one person to contact and that is Barnet Blogger Mr Reasonable I contacted him because I was convinced it must be in the contract and literally five minutes later he sent over the relevant section in the Capita contract.

The specific requirement can be found in the HR Method Statement (which is attached as a PDf document)

Final_HR_Method_Statement_Mar2013_Capita_redacted (1)

Scroll down to Page 30, paragraph (emphasis mine)

 2.8 PENSIONS ADMINISTRATION / OUTPUT SPECIFICATION REF: HR008

“Members will also have access their pension information via the web portal. This on-line service gives the members the facility to perform ‘what-if’ calculations, view and update their personal information including nominees. Benefit statements and other scheme documentation will be available for current and deferred members. Pensioners will have access and be able to view all their payslips and P60s.”

I can’t even begin to explain how useful this would be for members of the Pension Scheme, ironically if this had been implemented it would have saved resources for Capita.

Have I notified the Council?

Yes, I have raised this immediately with the Council.

I have two questions.

  1. When will Barnet Council hold Capita to account and insist the above web portal is put in place immediately?
  2. Why is the Council continuing to accept failure from Capita in particular why is not the Pension Service being brought back in-house.

At this moment of publication Capita are still providing our Pension Service and their Share Price is £1.05 p a share. See below 

Another Capita Failure in Barnet, Payroll this time…………

 

Late Friday afternoon 27 April 2019 Barnet UNISON were contacted to say that Barnet Council staff who had previously opted out of the Council Pension scheme had been enrolled back in.

Whilst Barnet UNISON supports and encourages members to join the Council scheme, workers do have the lawful right to opt out.

Barnet Council must obey the law and in this case this means they must auto enrol workers into the Council Pension Scheme. However, they must give notice to the worker and advise them of their right to opt out.

This did not happen.

What happened?

  1. Members on the Audit Committee were told that Capita Payroll only found out at the last minute (Friday 26 April 2019) that an auto enrolment programme had been set up to auto enrol those workers who had previously opted out of the Council Pension scheme.
  2. Members on the Audit Committee were told that 170 workers were auto enrolled into the Council Pensions Scheme which meant they had pay deducted from their wages.
  3. Members on the Audit Committee were told that although the workers had pay deducted they had not been auto enrolled.
  4. If this is true, it must follow that Capita’s auto enrolment procedure failed. Auto enrolment is directed by legislation. Barnet Council must auto enrol staff every three years, unless staff sign a form to opt out. This incident has exposed another Capita system failure which needs to be addressed immediately.
  5. Members on the Audit Committee were told that the workers contributions which had been deducted would be paid back to the 170 workers on Friday 3 May 2019.
  6. Members on the Audit Committee were not told if employer contributions were paid and if so where did the money go. However, if the employer contributions were not paid, why not? Is this another system failure?

Further Questions

  • Have Capita Payroll in Carlisle auto enrolled Barnet Council school staff?
  • If not, why not, as they are the same employer?
  • Why were Councillors auto enrolled by Capita as Councillors have not been eligible to join since 2014?

Barnet UNISON comment:

You really have to be in a Council meeting to believe what happens. Year after year different Capita managers roll up to give excuses and make promises that the latest service improvement plan will improve the services.

What is unbelievable is that Councillors are still accepting this serial offending.

All the while Capita are raking in the millions from Barnet Council.

We are in Year Six of a Ten Year contract and the two Capita contracts have cost £145 million pound more than they were originally contracted to be paid.

 

ISS Pay roll changes put low paid workers at risk.

Barnet UNISON have been informed that ISS nationally are changing their Payroll process.

This change impacts on all ISS workers not just here in Barnet.

We raised immediate concerns about the hardship this would place on low paid workers.

We were told that loans are being offered with a repayment plan spread of four equal payments.

Barnet UNISON have asked that the option for repayments to be spread over a longer period of time.

Barnet UNISON have sought confirmation that staff are not paying any interest on the loan.

If you work for ISS Catering service in Barnet Council and need advice and or support please contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison,.org.uk

BREAKING NEWS… Barnet says Goodbye to Fremantle

Barnet UNISON has just been informed that the Fremantle Trust is to enter into TUPE consultations to hand over the running of its care homes: Meadowside, Apthorp Lodge and Dellfield Court to Your Choice Barnet.

We welcome this transfer as a positive step in the right direction. Your Choice Barnet is 100% owned by the Council which places the running of the homes under greater local accountability. We will do all we can to continue to represent our members who have consistently done their best to deliver support to vulnerable residents, often under difficult circumstances.

We believe there are now real opportunities to address the concerns of staff and residents in a positive and constructive way and look forward to working with Your Choice Barnet to achieve this.

The transfer of staff and services is planned to take place at the beginning of July 2019.

Barnet UNISON has already approached Your Choice Barnet in preparation for formal TUPE transfer meetings which will be looking to take place shortly.

Any members who have any questions please contact the Barnet UNISON branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

End.

 

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