Birmingham City Council CIO Peter Bishop on bringing IT back in-house. Reposted by Barnet UNISON

Birmingham City Council CIO Peter Bishop on bringing IT back in-house. Reposted by Barnet UNISON

The council is winding up a controversial contract with Capita.

https://www.cio.co.uk/cio-interviews/birmingham-city-council-cio-peter-bishop-brings-it-back-in-house-3674416/

Birmingham City Council CIO Peter Bishop was handed a big task when he joined the local authority body in June 2017.

Europe’s largest council was winding up a controversial contract with much-maligned outsourcing giant Capita, and Bishop was put in charge of bringing IT services back in-house.

“My focus has been dominated by the negotiations that are involved with that,” explains Bishop, who serves as the council’s Assistant Director for Information Technology and Digital Services as well as its CIO.

“It’s a £45 million per annum contract. You can’t walk away from that without carefully considering all your options, and we’re not walking away, we’re just setting a very clear stall that we are going to migrate and become the systems and services integrator that Capita are at the moment.

“It means that I’ve got to redesign everything that we do, because [the contract’s] the best part of 12-years-old and your internal capacity and capability needs to be completely rethought to cope with that alone, let alone deliver any of the other stuff.”

Capita is currently responsible for all the procurement, management and support for IT services.

Now the council will take control of all of that, with the aim of simplifying operations and saving money from a deal that’s been derided for its cost.

The changes will be implemented over the course of three years. Year one will focus on preparing and designing the new model, year two on delivering it, and year three on stabilising as the Capita contract finally comes to an end.

Bringing the work done by Capita back under the council’s control will make a major contribution to the £43 million in IT cost base savings that Bishop’s been asked to m

“We’re applying the principles of simplify, standardise and share across everything we do in the IT services,” says Bishop.

“Every set of services that we buy are going to be looked at in terms of can we test the market and different service delivery options, and can we take advantage of technology that comes with those new service models.”

IT strategy

The Capita transition programme is part of a strategy signed off in 2016 that aims to simplify the council’s IT setup and put technology and information at the centre of its operating model

Other components include using data to support council staff and drive better services for citizens, improving information risk management and increasing workforce agility, productivity and collaboration.

The strategy also aims to improve how staff use employee and financial information and implement new service models that harness the power of digital in health and social care.

“There’s a plethora of stuff that’s in there. Things like how we can tackle homelessness through better joining up of data across the council, which is a great use case for our information management strategy.”

Innovation at the council

The council will be rolling out a number of new digital services to its citizens, including a new digital platform for local residents and businesses called the Brum Account.

The Jadu Continuum Platform provides users with 24/7 access to council services such as waste management. They can track requests in real time on the new services as they’re gradually added to the platform.

“It potentially covers anything and everything the council does,” says Bishop. “We’re focusing on the high volume transactions around waste, revenues, housing, repairs, and they’re starting with the high volume stuff because that drives most of the customer contact.

“It really gets people to think about how they deliver customer journeys. It also helps me with one of my other significant programmes of change, which is re-engineering the IT service model.

“For a council of our size, that’s very extensive. We need to reduce the proliferation of assets and data and technology that supports the business, which we can’t afford. The Brum Account is a great example of how you can uncover areas of technology which aren’t really adding any value, like multiple systems that are doing the same thing.”

Vendor strategy

Bishop takes a best-of-breed of approach to his vendor strategy, so the council can find the right product, reduce any duplications, and move from the private cloud into a hybrid public-private cloud.

He’s also creating an enterprise architecture approach to the solutions the council needs so it can take a strategic advantage of its investments.

“The important bit for me is that innovation needs to drive more value at the back end. We’re doing a European Union funded project around keeping people independent for longer by providing them with wearable devices tracking how much exercise they’re doing and we’re just using a local provider for that.

“If we could integrate that into our adult social care model to effectively prescribe a wearable Fitbit-type device to keep you energised for longer, then that’s the kind of thing we will work on.”

Birmingham’s digital future

Bishop joined the Birmingham City Council in June 2017, after two years as director of commercial and change at Worcestershire County Council.

He’s now swapped a two-tier conservative shire that’s politically stable with a limited political remit for a unitary body that is responsible for all the local government needs of more than one million people.

The city has its challenges, but it’s developing into a major tech hub, with a large and affordable talent pool, local tech networks including Silicon Canal and Innovation Birmingham, good transport links, and 18 universities within an hour’s drive of the city.

It will also be the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which Bishop will use to build digital services and infrastructure that will have a long-term legacy.

“We want more than just a great games,” he says. “We want something that adds value back to the communities that are here. That’s why we’re thinking about how Openreach can put fibre to the premise, how we can deliver 5G in those key corridor areas that support games but don’t then become a permanent arrangement, and extending public Wi-Fi.”

His more immediate objectives include building a team that can deliver his digital strategy, implement some of the big procurement work to support the transition from Capita.

Bishop believes that he’s come to the UK’s second biggest city at just the right time, and that technology will help it have a bright future.

“Birmingham’s got great potential,” he says. “I think it might have lost its way for a bit, but it’s really getting it back together, and part of my role is to really drive that to help all my colleagues across the council and the citizens of Birmingham to get all the value they expect out of the money they give us.”

 

Jeremy Corbyn on #BarnetCouncil, #Capita and losing control.

Jeremy Corbyn on #BarnetCouncil, #Capita and losing control.

It is never dull here in Barnet. In the House of Commons yesterday (21 March 2018), Jeremy Corbyn during Prime Minister Question Time, took the opportunity to comment on Barnet Council and Capita and the recent loss of control of the Council as the result of the deselection of 4 Tory Councillors.

Its amazing how he finds the time to keep up to date with what is going on in Barnet Council.

 

Happy International Women’s Day! – Move On Up!

101 years ago today women in Russia began taking strike action and this sparked the revolution of 1917. In those times this day was called “International Working Women’s Day”.

UNISON is the one union in Britain dominated by a female membership. We should take inspiration from our predecessors.

Have you completed your ballot on pay? Today is the last day of the ballot so please have your say and make your voice count.

We recommend a rejection of the offer on the basis that the public mood is with us and we believe we can do better than accepting below inflation pay ‘offers’.

What has the “rigged economy, John McDonnell, Barnet UNISON motion” got in common

If it is good enough for the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell then its good enough for Barnet UNISON members, we have taken up the challenge and we are mobilising to campaign to bring back service in-house. We were fortunate to have John McDonnell speak at our AGM on 8 February 2018 you can view what he had to say here https://youtu.be/orDpOHNiowI

We passed following motion “Time to Take our Services Back!” below at our AGM.

We have now had confirmation that the motions have been approved for both UNISON Local Government Conference and UNISON National Delegate Conference in June 2018.

We hope our motion presents our union with an ideal opportunity to escalate and lead an organised grassroots campaign to bring outsourced services back in-house across our membership service groups. Let’s deliver “Deeds not words” and help banish all outsourcing from the workplace.

Motion: Time to Take our Services Back!

This union notes:

  1. Carillion went bust and the immediate effect was for building works on key public sector projects to stop. Potentially thousands of people lost their jobs as Carillion relied on numerous small businesses to deliver on its projects.
  2. Within a month of Carillion going bust Capita’s share prices nose-dived and speculation began as to whether it too would survive.
  3. Capita is one of a handful of big companies which bid to run public services on the promise of saving money. These companies employ tens of thousands of workers. Capita employs over 50,000.
  4. Capita advises Northampton on its finances. 1st February Northampton’s County Council Chief Finance Officer issued a section 114 notice banning any Council expenditure as it was overspent.
  5. Capita has several hundred contracts up for renewal this year.
  6. The initial response from the Local Government Association (LGA) has been to advise Councils not to do anything which might jeopardise the viability of companies like Capita.
  7. Forensics Company collapsed putting in jeopardy the validity of hundreds of court cases but was given further public funds to keep going.

This union believes:

  1. UNISON’s policies of opposing privatisation and outsourcing have been vindicated in the wake of these failures.
  2. The predicament of these companies presents risks to thousands of workers but also opportunities to thousands of workers as the arguments for services being run in-house strengthen.
  3. UNISON has an opportunity to seize the time by organising and campaigning to bring public services in-house and to stop the further outsourcing of other services.
  4. Vigorous and mass public campaigning has a real possibility of weakening the resolve to outsource other services and of discouraging the renewal of other contracts.
  5. The response of the LGA and the response to the collapse of the Forensics Company are outrageous as the onus of saving firms which have taken millions of public sector money to provide public services lies not with public bodies.

This union resolves:

  1. To write to all branches with outsourced members encouraging them to issue press releases calling on their employers to publicise their contingency plans in the event of private contractor failure. Model press releases to be circulated with this notice to assist branches.
  2. To link together the branches which have been able to issue press releases in order that these branches can directly share and develop with one another their experiences of campaigning within the workforce and the local community to bring services back in-house.
  3. To oppose calls to bail out private companies in place of demanding services are brought back in-house.

Solidarity feel free to share widely

 

“Grave concerns of the Pensions Fund Board with the current situation concerning Messrs Capita.”

“I want to thank members of the Pension Board in particular the Chair for the statement above. Barnet UNISON had already raised a large good deal of the concerns detailed in the audit report mentioned at the Pension Board meeting with our employer. We share the grave concerns expressed so concisely by the Chair of the Pensions Board, however we do not share the optimism of the Council that a service improvement plan will be sufficient. Shortly after Capita took over the Pension Service, staff were made redundant as the service was moved to Darlington. The service is not comparable to the in-house service provided by our members. It our view that the Council should begin negotiations for the service to be brought back in-house. Joining a Pension Scheme is one of the most important financial decisions a worker can make, which is why I am inviting UNISON members who are in the Local Government Pension Scheme to join me at the Barnet Council Pension Fund Committee meeting on Monday 26 February 2018, at 7 pm Hendon Town Hall”  (John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON)

Full details of Pensions Fund Committee meeting here

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=191&MId=9228

Transcript of audio is below:

 “It would be an understatement to say this is the most important item on the agenda this evening.

In this context I must remind us all that the London Borough of Barnet Pension Fund Board acts in support of the Pensions Committee.

It is the Pensions Committee of the London Borough of Barnet which is, I think, composed exclusively of Councillors which is as it were operationally in charge of our the entire pensions operation.

It is the job of the Pension Fund Board to advise the Pension Committee to encourage it and warn it, but of course the Pension Fund Board is a public body open to members of the public, our agenda is public and so it should be.

I would be derelict in my duty as chair of your board if I did not put on the record for our minutes the grave concerns of the Pensions Fund Board with the current situation concerning Messrs Capita.

Now I am pleased to say that I have observer status on the Pension Fund Committee.

The Pension Fund Committee will be meeting later this month.

The reason that I am an observer there at the next meeting is actually, technically, formally speaking, to present the annual report of the Pension Fund Board to the Pension Fund Committee.

But I don’t want anyone to be in any doubt particularly Messrs Capita that I should use that opportunity to relay to the Pension Fund Committee the concerns and anxieties of this board in relation to the Pension Fund Committee, and the boroughs relationship with Messrs Capita.

In that connection, I would like to first move formally from the Chair that the report we have just been discussing, although it is already a public document, none the less that it be communicated formally to the Pension Fund Committee.

Can I take that as approved?

Thank you.

I must then point out a certain chronological scenario and my understanding of the contract between the Borough of Barnet and mentioned Messrs Capita, is that it provides inter alia for a series of remedy notices as an official term to be issued and members of the Pension Fund Board, will know, that one remedy notice the first was issued, I think last year, last August after the Borough was fined by the Pensions Regulator.

So colleagues, I would not be at all surprised, I would not be at all surprised, if, by the next time the Pension Fund Board meets then, there is some intimation of a second remedy notice.

I’m not saying that it is imminent but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.

My understanding is and I am advised that if a third remedy notice is issued this would mean, I am very much looking to my colleague on my immediate left, to correct me if I am wrong, that this would mean that the borough would be at an imminent state of taking back the contract, yes?

 

Thank you I am grateful for that clarification.

Our job is to advise the Pension Fund Committee, encourage and support and that’s the purpose of the statement I am making.

In that connection, summarising very broadly there are two overriding concerns that this board has, our main concerns communication with members and the quality of the data.

There are other concerns, but those two top ones, and when I present the annual report of this board to the Pension Fund Committee at the end of this month and when presumably now we have agreed I should also present formally the report we have been discussing.

I shall advise, encourage and warn the Pensions Fund Committee to be exceedingly vigilant on these issues, before the next meeting of the next of this Pension Fund Board, of course this will be an item it goes without saying at the next agenda

Ok, anyone else want to speak?

No

Thank you very much.

End.

 

 

Barnet UNISON Street Cleansing overtime cut meetings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier this week our office was contacted by staff upset at the news that there has been a massive reduction on overtime until 31 March 2018.

Our members working in Street Cleansing rely on the overtime and are quite understandably upset at the short notice of the cut.

Barnet UNISON are organising workplace meetings for our members working in Street Cleansing on the following days please try to attend one of these meetings:

  • Wednesday 21 February at 5.30 am Oakleigh Road depot
  • Friday 23 February at 5.30 Harrow depot

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barnet UNISON report on the results of our Family Services Survey, 2018.

Our key recommendations: 

  1. London Borough of Barnet should carry out an urgent, independent investigation into the allegations of bullying in Family Services.
  2. Carry out a quantitative and qualitative audit of supervision.

“There is evidence that workers tend to treat the service user in the same way as they themselves are treated by their managers”

Eileen Munro 2011 (Munro Review of Child Protection)

“People are crying at their desks because they cannot cope”

Barnet Family Services social worker 2017

“Managers arrogant and bullying. No respect for workers”

Barnet Family Services social worker 2017

“Managers avoid relationships with social workers and hide behind their emails”

Barnet Family Services social worker 2017

“Because of the time it has taken to establish a more stable core of high quality managers, social workers have, over a year or more, experienced a chain of new managers arriving and introducing new systems without those social workers being involved or trained, with many reporting that they do not understand the changes or why they are being introduced. Those managers then quickly leave, and new managers repeat the cycle.”

Report into Children’s Social Care Services in the London Borough of Barnet, by Frankie Sulke, January 2018

 

To view full report click on link here UNISON Report on Family Services Survey

Barnet UNISON would like to give thanks to those colleagues who responded to the survey. Most were anxious about repercussions if they responded at all and almost all struggled to complete it fearing for the time they would lose on their caseload and the impact there. This, in itself, is indicative of the pressures facing colleagues in that service. Such is the very high turnover of staff that some whom completed this UNISON survey have already managed to “escape” from Barnet.

 

 

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

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