Kick out Capita from Barnet Council now petition

Kick out Capita from Barnet Council now

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/kick-out-capita-from-barnet-council-now

 

Why is this important?

The recent successfully prosecuted fraud case where a Capita employee stole over £2million from Barnet Council underlines the urgent need for the Council to take back control of all of the former Council services from Capita.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-45641513

Barnet Council commissioned Grant Thornton (GT) to undertake a major review to identify how such a large scale fraud had been able to take place. This project, called Project Rose, was given a budget of “up to” £500,000 and has been on-going ever since.

The review found:
• Lack of budgetary controls
• Not carrying out basic bank detail checks
• Inexperienced managers responsible for large amounts of money
• Lack of written financial procedures and checklists

Barnet Council agreed to pay Capita £252.54 million

But, Barnet Council have already paid Capita £352.41 million with FIVE more years to go!

Barnet Council is in financial crisis with a budget overspend of £10.3 million this financial year and a funding gap of £66.8 million over the next three years.

Frontline services such as street cleansing, waste and recycling, Libraries, social care are all facing more and more cuts that are already affecting Barnet residents.

Capita Plc are in their own financial crisis.

Their Share Price has dropped from £13 a share to under £1.50 a share in the space of the last two years.

On 11 December 2018, Barnet Council Policy and Resources Committee will decide on whether to end both contracts. We are campaigning that they VOTE to end both contracts and begin the urgent process of taking back control of those services.

End
Details of the Grant Thornton Review on Capita
https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/finance-and-funding/Financial-controls.html

Is this the end of Capita in Barnet – Grant Thornton’s report is a devastating critique of Capita’s dismal performance
http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.com/2018/09/is-this-end-of-capita-in-barnet-grant.html

Project Rose: the devastating report Barnet Tories didn’t want you to read
http://wwwbrokenbarnet.blogspot.com/2018/09/project-rose-devastating-report-barnet.html

Damning report slams Capita and financial management at Barnet Council
http://barneteye.blogspot.com/2018/09/damning-report-slams-capita-and.html

 

Outsourcing in Barnet : “Thank God we didn’t outsource this time!”

Roll back 18 months and Barnet Council were still fixated about outsourcing.

They had carried out two reviews of both Capita contracts and apart from minor issues the outsourcing was being given a big thumbs up by Councillors and senior officers.

The Passenger Transport Services (PTS) which provides transport for children and adults with disabilities was being reviewed to see if a private contractor could do it cheaper and better.

Barnet UNISON was seriously concerned at the prospect of this service being outsourced along with the rest of Street Scene.

We were preparing to organise strike action.

However, the Council saw the light and PTS was kept in-house.

One of the potential contractors who were being touted as a possible bidder if they wanted to outsource was STAR CARS LIMITED (02993937)

Look what has happened to STAR CARS LIMITED (02993937)

Petitions to Wind Up (Companies)

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/3084556/

followed a week later by this:

Appointment of Administrators

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/3091283

Luckily our in-house service was able to step in to provide services thus preventing children from missing their education provision.

In-house services, often underrated, overlooked but very much appreciated by Barnet UNISON.

 

What more outsourcing in Barnet Council? Really?

“You couldn’t make it up”, is a phrase often bandied about here in Barnet. Sadly it is oh so true.

Last Friday the day the Grant Thornton review about Capita was published on the Barnet Council website I found myself sat in a meeting listening to an assistant director propose to trial outsourcing of the the bulk transfer service.

The bulk transfer service involves the transfer of recyclables to the tip. It’s a small operation but it is done well by hard working committed staff who are always around to help out if and when there is a crisis here in Barnet.

Guess what?

I don’t have the details of the amount of savings they are looking to make because they were not supplied at the meeting. The staff who had no idea this was coming were understandably upset. Not just because they see a pay cut coming but because they were not asked if they had any ideas and when they asked for details there were none.

That is the problem we have in Barnet.

I have sat in too many meetings with senior managers and or consultants who come up with ideas that have not been put to the workforce first. If I had a pound for every time a senior manager told me that they agree that they should consult with the workforce I’d probably be able to bail out the Council.

Back to the discussions.

The workforce without any time or resources immediately started brainstorming ideas for the service. It was impressive to see and management agreed that they would produce the information that had led to the proposal to outsource the service.

Have a guess.

Yes, to date Wednesday 26 September no data has been provided to the workforce and the trade unions. It will be pretty hard now to convince the workforce that this proposal was not dreamt up on the back of a fag packet.

What’s new?

Nothing, this is just another example into the sort of flawed decision making about Council services that I have witnessed first-hand over the past decade. The damning Grant Thornton review has exposed just how services can be vandalised by outsourcing.

The sad thing it is only the staff and the residents who suffer the consequences, the officers who come up with these ideas are never around when the “s**t hits the fan”.

Anyway, we have a meeting this Friday with the staff and management , as far as Barnet UNISON is concerned the idea needs to be dropped. There is a much bigger issue facing Waste and Recycling. The new routes are due to start on 5 November. It is imperative that the new routes work for residents and that is where resources need to be going first.

John Burgess

Branch Secretary

Barnet UNISON

Meanwhile back in the real world #6 : Air pollution health screening

Barnet UNISON has written to Barnet Council in order we can discuss health screening for Barnet Council workers whose duties include working outside.

Barnet UNISON notes that air pollution is a serious issue that does have a critical impact on the health.

The Greater London Area identified 16 areas of the Borough as having high pollution (2017).

Barnet UNISON is proposing that a working group is set up with input from the Barnet Public Health service in order to develop health screening for Barnet Council workers who work most of their time outside

Barnet Council does have an Air Quality Action Plan 2017-2022 which can be viewed here.

https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/environmental-health/air-quality/air-quality-action-plan.html

Barnet UNISON believes that working to reduce the risk to the workforce from air pollution would aid and complement this Council objective.

We will report back to our members after our meeting on Tuesday 4 September 2018.

 

Meanwhile back in the real world #5 : “At last, London Living Wage for Cleaners in Barnet.”

In the midst of all the mass outsourcing over the last decade one group of outsourced Barnet Council workers have not had much coverage.

I speak of the cleaners.

Barnet Council outsourced the Corporate Cleaning Service in 2004.

The Corporate Cleaning service covers most of the main Council office buildings, schools, children centres and Libraries.

It was one of my aims back then to try and get this service back in house or at the very least to ensure the cleaners were paid as a minimum the London Living Wage (LLW).

The Corporate Cleaning Service has changed contractors a number of times since 2004.

It is now delivered by Churchill Service Solutions who are currently only paying £7.83 hour.

Good News.

  • After a number of repeated requests by Barnet UNISON to address about the LLW I can now announce that the Corporate Cleaning contract now includes a clause whereby the winning contractor will now have to pay their cleaners an hourly wage (or equivalent of an hourly wage) equal to the London Living Wage.

The current London Living Wage is £10.20 hour.

This welcome news, whilst we managed to secure the LLW for other outsourced contracts this has been a longstanding fight Barnet UNISON wanted addressing.

The tender process for the Corporate Cleaning contract is currently live and the new contractor announced later this year.

Barnet UNISON welcomes the decision to ensure our cleaners are to be paid the LLW.

 

 

Welcome to yet another “merry go round” restructure for 0-19 year olds

UNISON has been in consultation with senior managers every week since the consultation opened in early July. In a consultation ballot 85% of our members agreed with UNISON that the consultation should be extended by 1 month as fundamental to the restructure is a new model of working. So far this has been denied.

Progress has been made on some points, however. UNISON has been keen to avoid redundancies and to avoid staff members experiencing a detriment in their terms and conditions.

  1. Currently there are a number of senior staff members and managers who are at risk of redundancy.
  2. There are a number of workers in the Youth Service who would experience a reduction in their pay.
  3. There is also a feeling that colleagues are being expected to take on very complex work without the pay grade that this should attract.

Avoiding Redundancies

Consultation feedback strongly recommended that the Advanced Practitioner role be made available to those not holding a social worker qualification. This has been approved and so it is our understanding that the 4.5 social workers will be assimilated but the 1.5 posts leftover will be offered up to otherwise equivalently qualified staff to fill. Over time there will be up to 3 posts at the Advanced Practitioner level made available to otherwise equivalently qualified colleagues.

The proposal is that only 3 of the Team Manager roles should be made available to those who are not qualified as social workers. This means that ALL of those in the ring fence are applying for half the number of posts. In the interests of minimising redundancies we asked that all of the Team Manager roles should be made available to all of those in the ring fence and that over time, as a colleague leaves a post, then up to 3 of those posts would be advertised specifically for social workers. This suggestion has been rejected on the basis that decisions around thresholds are such that social workers are definitely needed in the role at this level from the start.

We are disappointed that no compromise is being offered on this role.

Pay drops and pay rises

The new proposed 0-19 Practitioner Role is causing the most tension. It is graded at “H”.

Youth workers are worried at potentially dropping down in pay as they are on “I” grade.

Family Resilience workers are upset at now leading on CAFs, something they had done prior to 2014 but was removed from their job description following the 2014 restructure and receiving a cut in pay. Now they have this back in their job role but without the pay. They are on “H” grade.

Children’s Centre/ Early Years workers are worried they will be expected to carry out a role for which they feel unqualified and ill-prepared (although they will receive a pay rise) and are concerned they may end up being dismissed through being judged to be incapable. They are on “F”-“G” grade.

The most obvious way of dealing with this would be to leave everyone in the role they currently have but to allocate colleagues so there is a mix of Early Years, Youth workers and Family Resilience workers in each HUB. Everyone continues working with the cohort they are used to working with and for which they have the training and at the level appropriate to their grade. This has been rejected as the expectation will be for each practitioner to be a CAF lead.

After consultation with the colleagues from the different areas who will be assimilated into the new job role we believe the most sensible way forward would be to offer a role at “I” grade which will deal with the more complex work and this will avoid the downgrading of any colleague whilst offering the prospect of pay progression for those already doing complex work without receiving the pay recognition for it. It also means there is a job role for those who do not want to manage the stress of handling the more complex work. This option is being taken seriously by the senior managers but it is unlikely that the number of posts available at “I” grade would be sufficient to recognise the numbers of colleagues who should be at that grade. We are being told that increasing the number of posts at “I” grade will result in redundancies. We believe this is unfair as the Council has certainly made much bigger, and financially much more detrimental, decisions than this. We reject a position which sees colleagues penalised in this way.

We have also asked for the job description to recognise specialisms within the role. We believe this is important for taking this service forward and for attracting and retaining staff to the role. We also believe this takes proper account of the particularities of the different stages of development for children.

This job role is an area of concern which will need further detailed discussion and is unlikely to conclude with agreement by the end of this consultation period. On this basis we will once again appeal for an extension.

Overtime payments

A number of services run during periods outside of the standard working day. A local agreement is being looked at to ensure these services continue and that colleagues will receive a proper payment for carrying out these services.

Your UNISON negotiating team

This comprises the Branch Chair and mostly newly appointed reps from Family Resilience Team, Youth Service and now Children’s Centres. They have been making an invaluable contribution to the discussions on behalf of our colleagues and continue to do so. Please keep feeding back to them your concerns and questions.

UNISON meetings

A UNISON meeting has been organised Tuesday 28th August 12.30pm-1.30pm in Walnut Room, Building 4 NLBP to go over our final position before close of consultation.

Your reps are looking at the feasibility of organising additional UNISON meetings elsewhere in the Barnet in the afternoon of the 28th August or on 29th August. We will advertise the details become clearer.

 

Meanwhile back in the real world #4 : “Our Pension Health check offer”

Barnet UNISON are able to help with

  • Understanding the Local Government Pensions
  • Understanding Annual Benefit Statements
  • Checking the Annual Benefit Statements
  • Checking pension calculations if you are retiring

Our Offer

  • consultation meeting on Local Government Pensions
  • Workplace seminars on Local Government Pensions

To book a 1 to 1 meeting or a work place seminar speak to your local rep or contact the branch office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Meanwhile back in the real world #3 : “Appraisal payments update 2”

Just a quick update.

Barnet UNISON met with the Chief Executive to seek assurances that the payments would be paid as they are contractual and Barnet UNISON has no hesitation in escalating if there are any lengthy delays.

The meeting ended with a commitment that they hoped payments would be paid in August subject to making the payroll deadlines.

However, until the payments are made this is a standing item with Barnet UNISON and will be part of our discussions with our members in our September meetings details of which are below.

Barnet House

  • Wednesday 5 September, 12 noon, Committee room 2
  • Wednesday 12 September, 12.30 pm, Committee room 1
  • Friday 21 September, 12.30 pm, Committee room 1
  • Thursday 27 September, 12.30 pm, Committee room 2

NLBP

  • Thursday 6 September, 12.30 pm, Building 4, Central room
  • Friday 14 September, 1 pm, Building 4, Central room
  • Thursday 20 September, 12.30 pm, Building 2, G2 room
  • Tuesday 25 September, 1 pm, Building 4, Central room

However, if you need some advice or a meeting with a Barnet UNISON rep please contact the office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

Meanwhile back in the real world #2 : “Taxing the sick update 2”

Barnet Council are in a serious financial crisis and are in talks with Capita as to how many services will have to be come back in-house. Staff are already worried with having to cope with more work and less resources without the added stress that the Council may start making mass redundancies in a bid to make more cuts.

It is therefore deeply troubling that the Council have announced that they want to consult on a proposal to deduct pay from staff off sick from work.

From the brief consultation we have had so far it is already very clear that the sickness levels are high with staff with serious illnesses such as cancer, strokes etc. hence we are calling the proposal “Taxing the sick”.

In September 2018 we are going to be consulting with our members on this proposal.

There will be opportunities to discuss the proposal with local reps at a number of Barnet UNISON meetings in September.

Barnet House

  • Wednesday 5 September, 12 noon, Committee room 2
  • Wednesday 12 September, 12.30 pm, Committee room 1
  • Friday 21 September, 12.30 pm, Committee room 1
  • Thursday 27 September, 12.30 pm, Committee room 2

NLBP

  • Thursday 6 September, 12.30 pm, Building 4, Central room
  • Friday 14 September, 1 pm, Building 4, Central room
  • Thursday 20 September, 12.30 pm, Building 2, G2 room
  • Tuesday 25 September, 1 pm, Building 4, Central room

However, if you need some advice or a meeting with a Barnet UNISON rep please contact the office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

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