Barnet UNISON seek job security for #Capita staff working for Barnet Council

Press Release: Barnet UNISON seek job security for #Capita staff working for Barnet Council

31 January 2018.

This morning Capita staff woke up to some scary headlines that the former FTSE 100 company was in serious trouble.

The next Carillion? Shares in outsourcing firm Capita plunged 40% after profit warning.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/capita-profit-warning-share-price-fall-2018-1

Outsourcing giant Capita announced the suspension of its dividend as part of a transformation plan this morning – and shares duly plunged by more than 40 per cent.

http://www.cityam.com/279777/capita-shares-have-tumbled-more-than-third-city-reacting

This news follows on from the recent collapse of Carillion only a couple of weeks ago. Already political commentators are making comparisons with Carillion and Capita.

In light of the much publicised stress and anxiety experienced by Carillion workers in the wake of the company’s downfall; Barnet UNISON has written to the Chief Executive seeking details of Barnet Council’s contingency plan in the event Capita may have to give up their contracts.

We know that whatever happens there is going to be a great deal of speculation and uncertainty for the staff and whilst UNISON has seen the email from Jon Lewis, Capita’s, new Chief Executive trying to stem anxieties of his 70,000 workforce, we know workers will be worried about their jobs.

Barnet UNISON is looking for a statement from the Council in the event that Capita are unable to continue to run the two Barnet contracts, that Council will initiate plans to transfer the staff back in-house.

Who can we trust?

Since the collapse of Carillion, more news has emerged as to how bad things really were for that company. Furthermore questions are being asked about the role of the external auditors KPMG more here https://www.insider.co.uk/news/watchdog-probe-kpmg-over-carillion-11931818

It has happened before in Barnet……

In 2010 Barnet Homes had commissioned Connaught’s to provide Council Housing Repairs service. Connaught’s went into liquidation. Our members were told they had lost their jobs over a message on a speaker phone. Months earlier Barnet UNISON had held talks with Barnet Homes Chief Executive as it was becoming increasing clear Connaught’s were in serious trouble. There was further problems when it became clear that there was missing pension contributions which needed to be picked up by Barnet Council.

Read more here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2010/08/19/barnet-unison-members-working-for-connaught-face-uncertain-future/

Footnote: On 26 June 2017 Capita share price was 705.50 now six months later the share price closed today at 202.09 which represents a 72% drop in their share price over a six month period.

On Wednesday 31 January, 2018 the Capita share price opened up at 347 and closed at 182.50 which represents a 47.53% fall in share price.

“Once again the market shows that it is merciless when a company is in trouble. Carillion looks as if it is just the tip of the iceberg. The minute Carillion collapsed I immediately started to look more closely at Capita Share price. I noted that Capita share price had already dropped by around 66% in the last two years. Today seems to have shocked many experts. My concern is for the staff and the local services they provide for Barnet residents. I know from speaking to staff that they are worried and quite understandably cynical about any messages trying to play down what is happening to the company. After the debacle that our former Connaught members went through previously I want to ensure this time that Barnet UNISON does it utmost to try to allay members concerns about their future employment. My view is that this event is a watershed moment for Barnet Council. Please abandon your “love affair” with outsourcing and commence negotiations to return all services back to the Council.” John Burgess, Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON

Links.

1. “NHS England has said it is ‘holding Capita’s feet to the fire’ over poor performance, and GP leaders have called for the service to be taken back under NHS control.”

https://www.gponline.com/bma-demands-assurances-gps-capita-share-price-drops-40/article/1455914

2. “No sensible public authority, whether council, NHS trust, or Whitehall department, would let a contract to a company over which hang as many question marks as hang over Capita.

Procurement chiefs and permanent secretaries should now be poring over their contracts with Capita and making contingency plans. Capita runs payroll in many councils and staff have to be paid, so immediate alternative arrangements should be in place. That costs money, which needs to be factored into the cost of this and future contracts.”

https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2018/jan/31/capita-beginning-end-public-service-contracting-councils-privatisation

3. Wave Tata, Capita: You’ve lost mega-contract to rival outsourcer

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/16/capita_loses_biggest_contract_to_rival_outsourcing_biz/

4. Ministry of Defence ‘wasted millions on failed computer system’

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/14/ministry-of-defence-failed-computer-system

5. Thousands of court cases adjourned due to failures in interpreting services

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/may/04/thousands-of-court-cases-adjourned-due-to-failures-in-interpreting-services

Barnet Bin Workers – 97% vote Yes for strike action

Earlier this month Barnet Council senior management issued an instruction that staff were to go out on some of the rounds with a worker down.

Our members were frustrated and angry at this instruction and their fears for health and safety were being ignored.

Barnet UNISON backed their calls for this management instruction to be stopped.

Unfortunately, so far, management have refused to rescind their instruction.

In the last two weeks there have been a number of meetings with senior officials and Barnet UNISON to seek a resolution.

To date the management instruction is being implemented. This is an instruction which UNISON believes puts our members health and safety at risk.

Barnet UNISON has carried out an informal ballot in order to test the strength of feeling of the membership.

The ballot closed yesterday.

“The message from the members is very clear. We had a 93% turnout with 97% voting for strike action. In meeting after meeting I have advised senior management that the anger on the shop floor is intensifying for strike action as each day goes by and this management instruction continues. We have a final meeting on Monday 29 January to see if this trade dispute can be resolved.” John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON

Vote of no confidence in Payslip provided by Capita.

Barnet UNISON reps issue a vote no confidence in Payslip provided by Capita for Barnet Council staff.

 

Barnet UNISON branch executive notes:

The Council payslip was changed fundamentally following the Capita takeover of in house back office services. The payslip was changed without any consultation with the trade unions. The new payslip has a lot less information than its predecessor. In an attempt to support members who have had considerable problems with their payslip, Barnet UNISON submitted an alternative payslip to the Council. To date we have had no response. The problems we have had with Capita Pensions are not helped by the inferior payslip provided by Capita.

Barnet UNISON branch executive agreed the following statement:

Barnet UNISON has no confidence in the Payslip currently provided by Capita.

Barnet UNISON to engage with Barnet Council in order to propose Barnet Council to demand that Capita revert back to the former payslip.

Vote of no confidence in Occupational Health Service procured by Capita

Barnet UNISON reps issue a vote no confidence in Occupational Health Service procured by Capita for Barnet Council staff.

Barnet UNISON branch executive notes:

That reps reported that Occupational Health Service which is contracted by Capita to provide a service for Barnet Council staff. Reps reported unacceptable levels of service for staff who will already be under stress as a result of their illness. Reps reported that before the Capita takeover this service was provided by a local GP. Furthermore the meeting was informed Barnet Council schools still use the local GP as does Barnet Homes.

Barnet UNISON branch executive agreed the following statement:

Barnet UNISON has no confidence in the current occupational health service contracted by Capita to provide a service for Barnet Council staff.

Barnet UNISON to engage with Barnet Council to propose the current service is terminated and seek to secure occupational health services from the local GP.

BREAKING NEWS: Insourcing here at Barnet Council!

Last night I attended a Council meeting which was discussing whether to bring back the privatised Parking Service. The inevitable vote was to keep the service in the hands of the private sector despite a valiant attempt by the Barnet Labour councillors for a full business case including an in house option.

Imagine my surprise then delight to hear that another outsourced service is to return to Barnet.

I refer to the Barnet’s Registration and Nationality Service which was outsourced to the London Borough of Brent.

On Monday 11 December 2017 Brent Council Cabinet Committee meeting agreed to end the agreement with Barnet Council which will lead to service being brought back into direct control of the Council.

I know at the time many were incredulous at the decision to outsource this service in 2014, but at the time there seemed to be a race to outsource everything.

Barnet UNISON is pleased with this decision and will be involved in the staff transfer at some time in the not too distant future.

This decision follows another staff transfer of social workers from The Barnet Group back into the Council in December 2017. Earlier this week we heard news of another group of staff transferring from NHS into Family Services.

Barnet UNISON will continue to campaign for all of our members in-house and outsourced.

Barnet Parking Service in-house option rejected in consultant’s report.

“It is a well-accepted industry fact that without careful management, the CEO workforce in any Borough, whether in-house or outsourced, will not always be as productive as desired with a corresponding impact on the issuing of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).” Oaklawn Consulting Limited report to Barnet Council, Environment Committee, 11 January, 2018). http://bit.ly/2mi1Z3R

This is the outrageous statement made by the latest in a long line of outsourcing consultancy companies that have earned literally millions of Barnet tax-payers’ money over the last decade as a result of the Council’s ideological obsession with outsourcing services.

Barnet UNISON campaigned vociferously to oppose the outsourcing of the Parking Service. We argued that a well-run in-house service was more than able to deliver a quality service and it had done previously until the agenda changed and outsourcing became the only game in town. Good operational managers were not appreciated and the Council became reliant on interim consultants who presided over the demise of in- house services.

The Parking Service, once a well-run service, suffered as a result of a series of poor managers and became a soft target for the outsourcing ideologues in Barnet.

However, the Parking Service in its final year, still believed that it could turn itself around and I was informed back then that they managed almost 165k PCNs (Penalty Charge Notices) which is quite incredible considering the last three months of that period morale was at rock bottom after they learnt the hard work was for nothing.

This completely demolishes the comment made by the consultant and it is an insult to local authority managers who demonstrated they knew how to run Parking Services.

Barnet UNISON has had to trawl through hundreds of pro-outsourcing reports over the last decade all trotting out the same mantra. We had hoped that the obsession with outsourcing was wavering but this report demonstrates that is not the case.

NSL took over the Parking Service in May 2012, yet there has been no evidence provided that they have been able to secure the same level of PCNs in the last five years.

Waste of money

In light of the cuts to funding it seems incomprehensible that the Council should commission a report on the merits of an in-house bid when senior officers have already begun the procurement process.

What was the purpose of the consultant’s report?

If the report was commissioned for genuine reasons then surely that means the procurement could have been undermined if it recommended a return of the Parking service in-house?

If that is the case then why begin procurement?

Why waste money on procurement?

If you want to know what is going to be discussed you can view the reports on Parking Service here

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s44235/Parking%20Enforcement%20Contract%20Re-commissioning.pdf

#BringParkingBackInHouse

 

UPDATE: Barnet Council Gritting Service

First things first, the Gritting service is provided directly by Barnet Council.

It has not been outsourced.

However there have been changes to the Gritting service since Re (Capita) were given a contract that included the Highways Services.

If you go to Barnet Council Winter maintenance web page you will see the contact details for Re, view here https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/parking-roads-and-pavements/Roads-and-Pavements/Winter-Maintenance.html

The implications of trying to run services with multiple partners, each of whom will have their own agendas, was probably not discussed thoroughly by those councillors who rubber stamped the outsourcing of key environmental services to Capita.

I know it wasn’t discussed because I attended every single council committee meeting for years, desperate to see some semblance of scrutiny. What I witnessed, was no scrutiny of claims in favour of outsourcing made by senior council officers, long since gone from the Council.

No accountability.

Back to the Gritting service.

The Gritting service prior to privatisation made their own decision as to when they went out to grit roads, now they have to be instructed by Re (Capita).

It is really important to note that fact.

What happened on Sunday 10 December 2017?

I am writing this post in defence of our members who carry out this service.

There has been a great deal of anger from Barnet residents about the lack of gritting that led to the chaos on the streets of Barnet.

I just want to make it clear if my members in the Gritting service had been asked to go out, they would have gone out.

The question that must be asked is why were they were not asked.

I have asked and I am still waiting…….

Harrow depot

Many residents are blissfully unaware that Barnet Council sold Mill Hill depot (in the exact centre of the borough) without securing a suitable location for a new depot. This has resulted in services being scatted over a number fo sites. In the case of the Gritting service, it was moved to Harrow. This means they have to drive from Harrow and drive into Barnet to begin the routes, then drive back to Harrow to pick up more grit.

The workforce can’t believe councillors could make such a decision and neither can Barnet UNISON.

BREAKING NEWS: Barnet UNISON motion: More money for our members

This branch notes that in 2016 we had 2570 members at the year end.

This branch notes that in 2016 UNISON received total subscriptions of £365,691.

This branch notes that in 2016 of the £365,691 received by UNISON head office we received £95,147.

This represents 26% of the total income provided by our members.

In 2017 our branch carried out a consultation on branch funding.

92.86% of members voted for a change to our current funding arrangement.

Our branch notes that our national union recorded surpluses of approximately £10million and £3million in the 2015 and 2016 accounts respectively, and holds reserves of over £200million.

Our branch has been fighting Barnet Councils ideological obsession with outsourcing for over a decade.

Our branch represents members working for 189 employers (as per WARMS on 24th November 2017).

Our branch receives no resources to represent a significant number of our members working in the private and voluntary sector.

Our branch believes it is wrong to take members’ money if our branch is not able to provide basic support and representation.

Our branch notes that National Pay bargaining has continued to fail our members.

Our branch notes that it is simply unacceptable to expect our members to wait and hope for a change in government in order to end the public sector pay freeze.

We want our branch to be able to use all of our resources for the many not the few.

The fact remains that the overwhelming bulk of this work is done in our branch.

It is our view that the current funding formula for our branch is out of date and does not effectively support our members who are paying their subscriptions.

Our branch proposes

  1. That branches receive all of our members’ subscriptions, without any deductions, into their respective UNISON branch bank accounts.
  2. UNISON branches will commit to purchasing support services from UNISON Regional, UNISON National or a third party to demonstrate value for money to our members.
  3. For this motion to be presented at the Regional Council AGM 2018 and if it is successfully voted on at the AGM for it to be considered as a regional motion at National Delegate Conference (NDC).

4. For this motion to be presented at Barnet UNISON’s AGM for consideration and if successfully voted on, for it to be a branch motion going through to NDC.

Capita Re: What is EG Works Manager?

Dear Barnet UNISON Capita Re members

We have had a growing number of worrying reports about EG Works Manager.

We understand it is a new programme designed to monitor everything that you do.

It sounds very much like what was known back in the mists of time as a “Time and Motion” survey.

A ‘Time and Motion’ survey woul

 

d involve an employees following a worker around the workplace all day, recording everything, and I mean everything, including when they went to the toilet.

Barnet Unison understand that staff are going on training in order they are able to use it as early as December 2017.

A question for Barnet UNISON members working for Re

“What do you think about EG Works Manager?”

…………………………………………………………………..

If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Barnet UNISON office in confidence.

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