Need support for your mental health at work?

 

Able Futures can help you manage your mental health at work so you can enjoy more good days. If eligible they provide you nine months advice and guidance from a mental health specialist who can help you learn coping mechanisms, build resilience, access therapy or work with your employer to make adjustments to help your mental health at work.

Call Able Futures free on 0800 321 3137 from 8 am to 10.30pm, Monday to Friday or apply online.

Able Futures delivers the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. It could be available to you if you can answer “yes” to the following questions:

  • Are you aged 16 or over?
  • Are you in work, on an apprenticeship, about to start work or furloughed?
  • Do you live in Great Britain?
  • Do you have mental health difficulties that impact upon your work?

This list is not exhaustive and it is ultimately up to the Department of Work and Pensions Access to Work Mental Health Support Service adviser to determine eligibility.

Able Futures provide 1 – 2 – 1 support, is free and easy to use and is a confidential service.

Read case studies of people Able Futures have supported here:

https://able-futures.co.uk/mental-health-support-for-individuals/case-studies/

For further information visit the Able Futures website here:

https://able-futures.co.uk/

 

Urgent TUPE advice for Cambridge Education members

Dear Member

It has come to my attention that due to the short timescale imposed on the TUPE to the new company the usual checking of personal data that always takes place when staff transfer under TUPE is not happening.

What should happen?

In TUPE consultation the current employer will send a copy of the data they are going to send to the new employer to the employee in order that the employee can confirm it is accurate.

What is happening in this TUPE?

I have been advised that staff are not being sent a copy of their personal data to check. They are being advised via an email to check their personal data themselves.

What is UNISON’s advice?

As a UNISON member you are entitled to support and advice.

In this case the advice from UNISON is very clear.

Please check that your personal data which is currently being held by Cambridge Education is accurate.

At some point in the future you may need copies of your personal data which is why it is important that you check your personal data is accurate.

UNISON has had too many experiences of dealing with the consequences of inaccurate personal data especially where there have been multiple employers.

What can you do?

You can request to have all of your personal data sent to you by Cambridge Education via a secure email.

If you have any questions please email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

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

Barnet UNISON is hosting a presentation and discussion by Nafsiyat on intercultural therapy

 

Guest Speaker: Baffour Ababio Clinical Lead, who works for Nafsiyat

“Nafsiyat is an intercultural therapy centre, committed to providing effective and accessible psychotherapy and counselling services to people from diverse religious, cultural and ethnic communities in London. Our team is made up of experienced, fully qualified psychotherapists and counsellors from diverse backgrounds who are sensitive to the particular therapeutic needs of cultural minority groups.

We provide short-term intercultural therapy in over 20 different languages, via referral, to individuals, groups, and couples. We also offer long-term, privately funded therapy via our Nafsiyat Choice service.”

https://www.nafsiyat.org.uk/index.php/about-us/

Barnet UNISON comment.

The recent traumatic events, both the murder of George Floyd, yet another reminder of systemic racism, and reports that BAME communities are at a greater risk of dying from COVID-19, which only serves to highlight existing health inequalities, calls for greater support for our BAME members.

These recent events have bought to surface many unresolved traumatic events, in so many BAME individuals, therefore it is important that we recognise how deeply ingrained emotional traumas are imbedded.

Studies have shown prenatal and early childhood experiences have lasting emotional and psychological effects. A 3 year study recognised the link between childhood experiences; known as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and current health status in adults.

Whilst ACEs explored the impact of traumatic childhood events, there is an emerging line of research exploring the impact of transgenerational transmission of traumatic events onto the next and subsequent generations.

Also known as ‘intergeneration trauma’, this research is illuminating how historical and cultural traumas affect survivors’ children for generations to come, passing the symptoms and behaviours of trauma survival along the family line.

Racism and inequalities are often addressed from a surface layer, but now is the time for the physiological and psychological impact of enduring global and systemic racism and discrimination, to be at the forefront of beginning the journey towards healing, health and wellbeing.

Cultural specific counselling should be provided by employers to facilitate better understanding of an individual’s background, ethnicity and belief system in order to empower and support ‘all’ people to improve their health and wellbeing, without fear of biased views and stereotypical beliefs about them.

We have Clinical Lead, Baffour Ababio, from Nafsiyat Intercultural Therapy Centre, who will provide a 1 hour presentation about the service provided at Nafsiyat on Tuesday 14th  12.30- 2pm; short term intercultural therapy for a range of issues, from day-to-day worries to complex psychological conditions.

 

Joint Trade Union Cambridge Education members meeting Weds 6 pm

Dear Member

Please note Barnet UNISON is hosting a  members meeting today Wednesday 24 June 6-7 pm

It is for all members of the Trade union.

To join the meeting please click on the link below.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86110127797?pwd=MUpSblEzZkRtaG9PV1ZBOENoRU1vQT09

Meeting ID: 861 1012 7797

Password: 493730

If you have an queries or concerns please email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

BREAKINGNEWS: Mott MacDonald and Barnet Council in contract termination talks

On Thursday 18 June 2020 former Barnet Council staff working for Cambridge Education were summoned to a succession of meetings where they were informed that, due to the impact of Covid19, discussions are now taking place about ending the contract on 31 August 2020.

The staff are being told there are two possible options:

  • Transfer back into the Council
  • Transfer to a Local Authority Trading Company (LATC)

Consultation on the options started on Friday 19th June 2020 with a briefing for head teachers.

There will be a briefing for the Parent-Carer Forum sometime this week.

Consultation ends 30 July 2020.

The Council wants to start TUPE consultation on 6 July and end consultation on 20 July 2020.

Staff will be informed of the transfer arrangements on 30th July 2020.

Services and staff transfer on 1 September 2020.

“The private sector doesn’t like taking the risks for delivering public services and this is yet another damning example. Mott MacDonald is a global giant want out of this Education Services contract. Barnet Council has stood resolute in the face of the COVID challenge and has used its resources and staff to address the needs of the most vulnerable in the community. This latest crisis could not come at a worse time. The staff delivering this service have been valiantly supporting Barnet Schools to continue to provide for pupils during this pandemic. Now, at a time when they are mobilising to support Barnet Schools reopening in September, they are facing an unknown future. As someone who attended the outsourcing meetings with staff I remember all too well the staff concerns as to what would happen if the contractor wanted to end the contract. This concern was played down at the time, as it always is, by and assurance that they were dealing with a global giant and what could possibly go wrong?

If COVID has shown us anything it has to be that direct control of public services means you are more agile, more efficient and most importantly you have CONTROL.

The obvious and most common sense decision is to simply transfer the services back to the Council. This would enable staff and the service to focus on doing what they do best – delivering support for Barnet Schools.” (John Burgess Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON).

*****
The Trade Unions have not been sent the consultation report which was promised last week, however a copy has been provided. Not a good start to consultation.

To view the report click on the link below

Future of ES – briefing for staff – 19.6.20 final

End.

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

 

 

At last. Government publish the missing BAME report which includes recommendations.

The following extracts including the Recommendations are from the Executive Summary of “Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups.”(Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/892376/COVID_stakeholder_engagement_synthesis_beyond_the_data.pdf )

“Stakeholders expressed deep dismay, anger, loss and fear in their communities about the emerging data and realities of BAME groups being harder hit by the COVID-19 Beyond the Data: Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on BAME Communities pandemic than others, exacerbating existing inequalities. Many had lost colleagues or family members to the disease, and nearly all are experiencing the impact of the disease on their communities with the significant social, physical and mental health impacts and complications.”

“Stakeholders pointed to racism and discrimination experienced by communities and more specifically by BAME key workers as a root cause affecting health, and exposure risk and disease progression risk.”

“Strategies to create healthy and supportive workplaces (within and outside the health service) that have zero tolerance for discrimination and empower BAME staff to raise concerns about occupational risk and safety are essential.”

“The unequal impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities may be explained by a number of factors ranging from social and economic inequalities, racism, discrimination and stigma, occupational risk, inequalities in the prevalence of conditions that increase the severity of disease including obesity, diabetes, CVD and asthma.”

“The engagement sessions highlighted the BAME groups deep concern and anxiety that if lessons are not learnt from this initial phase of the epidemic, future waves of the disease could again have severe and disproportionate impacts. All were united in the commitment that urgent, collaborative and decisive action is required to avoid a repeat of this in the future.”

“Recommendations

1. Mandate comprehensive and quality ethnicity data collection and recording as part of routine NHS and social care data collection systems, including the mandatory collection of ethnicity data at death certification, and ensure that data are readily available to local health and care partners to inform actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities.

2.Support community participatory research, in which researchers and community stakeholders engage as equal partners in all steps of the research process, to understand the social, cultural, structural, economic, religious, and commercial determinants of COVID-19 in BAME communities, and to develop readily implementable and scalable programmes to reduce risk and improve health outcomes.

3. Improve access, experiences and outcomes of NHS, local government and integrated care systems commissioned services by BAME communities including: regular equity audits; use of health impact assessments; integration of equality into quality systems; good representation of black and minority ethnic communities among staff at all levels; sustained workforce development and employment practices; trust-building dialogue with service users.

4. Accelerate the development of culturally competent occupational risk assessment tools that can be employed in a variety of occupational settings and used to reduce the risk of employee’s exposure to and acquisition of COVID-19, especially for key workers working with a large cross section of the general public or in contact with those infected with COVID-19.

5. Fund, develop and implement culturally competent COVID-19 education and prevention campaigns, working in partnership with local BAME and faith communities to reinforce individual and household risk reduction strategies; rebuild trust with and uptake of routine clinical services; reinforce messages on early identification, testing and diagnosis; and prepare communities to take full advantage of interventions including contact tracing, antibody testing and ultimately vaccine availability.

6. Accelerate efforts to target culturally competent health promotion and disease prevention programmes for non-communicable diseases promoting healthy weight, physical activity, smoking cessation, mental wellbeing and effective management of chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

7. Ensure that COVID-19 recovery strategies actively reduce inequalities caused by the wider determinants of health to create long term sustainable change. Fully funded, sustained and meaningful approaches to tackling ethnic inequalities must be prioritised.”

To view the full report click on the link below.

Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/892376/COVID_stakeholder_engagement_synthesis_beyond_the_data.pdf

 

Barnet UNISON email Care Providers in the London Borough of Barnet

Dear Care Provider,

I hope this email finds you and your care setting well. The last weeks have been particularly gruelling for the social care sector and we recognise you have had to cope with extremely challenging and distressing situations. We believe this has been unacceptable and going forward it needs to change for the better.

You along with our members are undoubtedly aware of the Governments infection control fund which is an attempt to address the risks of infection to residents in care home settings.

UNISON fully supports this initiative both locally and nationally.

UNISON notes that London Borough of Barnet has been allocated £3,564,514 for infection control by the Government.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5ec2717de90e071e30d09844/allocation-table-for-the-infection-control-fund-for-adult-social-.pdf

The Government guidance is clear that this funding should be used to pay the “normal wages” of social care workers that are absent due to COVID-19 as a measure to help reduce transmissions, so they do not feel pressured into going into work out of financial necessity.  Its intention is also to top up the wages of those doing shifts at several care homes by encouraging them to reduce the number of workplaces they visit.

To that end we are writing to as many care providers in Barnet as we can to ask them to provide the following information:

Wages and Sick Pay arrangements

  • Can you please confirm what your sick pay/ pay arrangements to cover periods of isolation are for those workers you employ?
  • Can you confirm whether you employ workers on zero hours contracts and how these would be affected by your sick pay/ isolation pay arrangements?
  • Can you confirm how you will identify the workers who would need a top up?
  • Can you confirm whether your basic minimum hourly rate of pay is above, below or at the London Living Wage (£10.75/ hr)

PPE

  • Can you confirm what PPE you have in place and in what circumstances this is used?
  • Can you confirm what training you have in place regarding the correct use of PPE?

The infection control funding is a much needed positive boost for a workforce that has been on the frontline dealing with a deadly infection that they could have never imagined they would face in a care home setting.

Please note we are widely publicising our communication to all care homes settings with our members and we will be updating them on the responses we receive through our usual social media communication platforms.

Can you please respond by close of play this Friday 19 June 2020? If you intend to respond but cannot meet the deadline of Friday could you give us an alternative date we can expect your response?

Many thanks in advance,

Stay safe.

Best wishes

Barnet UNISON

 

 

 

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