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.

URGENT: Level 2 Teaching Assistants Pay Ballot. VOTE YES

Barnet Council has issued Pay Ballot letters to all level two Teaching Assistants and the deadline to send back to the council by 24 November 2017.

It is important that every single level 2 Teaching Assistant responds back with a YES vote.

Below are Teaching Assistants who all vote YES for the grading appeal.

What will happen if we win the grading appeal?

The current salary range for a Level 2 Teaching Assistant is:

£19, 917 to £21,884

If the Grading Appeal is successful ALL level 2 Teaching Assistants would move to the new grade which is:

£21, 276 to £23,802

We need everyone to vote YES in order that Barnet UNISON can submit the appeal to the grade.

If you have not had your ballot letter, please contact Barnet Council by email at unified.reward@barnet.gov.uk or post to The Unified Reward Team, London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London, N11 1NP.

Ballot closes 24 November 2017.

 

 

 

TAXI 4 Housing repair contract in Islington

Taxi for ALMOs?

Islington Council has called off its housing repairs contract with Kier, deciding against a three-year extension option, and brought the work back in house.

Kier had been providing repair services to the London Borough of Islington’s 30,000 homes for the past 14 year under a £16.5m a year contract.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, said:

“This is an important milestone for Islington’s council housing. At the same time as building a new generation of council housing we want to provide a high-quality service for our residents.

“Two years ago we brought housing management back in-house – and now our decision to bringing the repairs service in-house too shows how important it is for us to get it right.

“By running the repairs service directly, we can ensure resident satisfaction is a priority over profit. Over time, we want to maximise local employment and apprenticeships, alongside supporting the workforce and reducing dependence on subcontractors.”

Excerpt from Islington council report:

There are two main options for Executive to consider:

An in-house service with a quantified estimate of potential financial risks

An extended contract subject to conditions that would have to be negotiated with Kier with unquantifiable financial risks.

The report continues that:

“An in-house option offers the best protection against further deterioration in the market for providing responsive repairs services. In recent years many councils and other housing providers have been hit hard when major contractors go out of business. Islington itself had a narrow escape when Connaught went out of business shortly before it was due to take up a capital investment contract, and some of our new-build has been delayed by the collapse of Rok.”

Conclusion

‘The in-house option carries potential short-to-medium term cost disadvantage, but in the longer run could be to the Council’s advantage. It also carries the risk of the service declining during a difficult transition. A well organised and well managed in-house service would provide better value for money and could reduce the financial risk of volatility in the market.’

http://democracy.islington.gov.uk/Data/Executive/201307111930/Agenda/F1.%20Kier%20responsive%20repairs%20contract%20review%20final.pdf

 

 

“Should we be worried about Barnet Councils contracts with Capita?”

A number of our members have privately raised concerned about the an increase of worrying reports about Capita, who appear to be experiencing some difficulties. 

Barnet Council chose to outsource a large number of Council In House services to Capita in 2012 and 2013.

Last week Capita began two restructures which are likely to lead to redundancies for many ex Barnet TUPED staff.

A simple Google search has revealed some worrying news about the health of the global giant Capita.

Capita drops as first half underlying revenue declines although profits rise, restructuring on track.

http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/184355/capita-drops-as-first-half-underlying-revenue-declines-although-profits-rise-restructuring-on-track-184355.html

 

EXTRA: Capita Shares Fall As Underperforming Divisions Weigh On Profit

http://www.iii.co.uk/alliance-news/1506003339606792800-3/extra-capita-shares-fall-as-underperforming-divisions-weigh-on-profit

 

Outsourcing firm Capita’s shares slump 10% amid falling profits and pensions dispute strike

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-4907008/Capita-s-shares-slip-10-amid-falling-profits-strike.html

How’s that ‘turnaround’ year going, Capita? …Sheesh, sorry I asked

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/09/21/capita_h1_results/

 

Capita stripped of key contract running MoD military estate early

https://www.ft.com/content/3eb508ec-9eb2-11e7-8cd4-932067fbf946

 

FTSE’s biggest loser: Capita staff vote to strike over pensions as the FTSE 250 firm is stripped of a Ministry of Defence contract

http://www.cityam.com/272475/ftses-biggest-loser-capita-staff-vote-strike-over-pensions

 

FCA fine looms for Capita over failed Connaught fund

https://www.ftadviser.com/Articles/2017/09/22/FTA-capita

 

Capita staff in Birmingham to strike for six days in pensions row

http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/capita-staff-birmingham-strike-six-13659665

 

What do you think? 

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