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.

 

“Both #Capita contracts are now on the menu”

Attention: All Barnet UNISON Capita members

On Thursday 19 July 2018 Barnet Council Policy and Resources Committee agreed that Options 2 and 3 will be tested in a full business case. This mean all staff working on both Capita contracts are now included in the options.

The full business case will be presented to a committee in the Autumn.

In the meantime Barnet UNISON will be hosting meetings in Barnet House and NLBP for our members in September 2018.

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

 

 

 

“Our members need water!”

“UK weather forecast: Temperatures ‘could break UK record’ as pollution alerts issued in London”

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/temperatures-could-break-uk-record-as-pollution-alerts-issued-in-london-a3896566.html

Spare a thought for all workers who are currently working outside.

In Barnet Council we have a large workforce who work outside.

Bin workers, Street Cleansing, Parks are but a few of the services provided by Barnet Council to the residents.

We are proud of our members who have had to cope with relentless cuts to the size of the workforce at a time when new housing developments are springing up everywhere.

Our members had a difficult time during the winter weather, but the current heatwave is presenting a serious threat to their health and wellbeing.

This is London.

We all know there are serious air pollution issues in London. The long term exposure to air pollution will undoubtedly have an impact on workers who work outside.

It is therefore a surprise that when Barnet UNISON requested that staff are readily supplied with water and sun block to help prevent heat exhaustion, it was turned down.

This is even more difficult to understand when we are being told temperatures could reach 37C.

Our members are working with less staff but far more work as Barnet continues to grow.

Our own members are equally upset to see an increase in fly tipping and bins uncollected. But they are not the decision makers. They are not the people making cuts to services.

Barnet UNISON is now taking this matter up with our Chief Executive as we fear for the safety of our members.

We will update our members as we have more information.

Barnet Council “Bring ‘em back, all of them!” #Capita

Press Release:  29 June 2018.

Today Barnet Council have published a financial report detailing three options for the two #Capita contracts in Barnet

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47263/Capita%20Realignment.pdf

The options are as follows:

  1. Maintain the status quo in relation to the CSG and DRS contracts;
  2. Re-shape the contracts to better align service delivery to the council and Capita’s strengths and priorities, within the context of the existing contractual structure; and
  3. Bring the partnership to an end, and either bring services back in house or re-procure them.

The senior officers preferred option is Option 2 the Council.

They have identified the following services to be brought back into Council control

CSG

  • Finance and Accounting (excluding transactional services provided from the Darlington shared service centre)
  • Estates (Property Services, Building Services and Facilities Management)
  • Strategic HR
  • Safety, Health and Welfare
  • Insight
  • Social Care Direct

Re

  • Regeneration Commissioning (including commissioning the Brent Cross programme)
  • Highways
  • Economic Skills and Development
  • Cemetery and Crematorium
  • Strategic Planning

“I could say we, told you so, and we did. However the Council is in a financially critical situation and now is not the time to for rhetoric. it is time to start rebuilding our Council. I welcome the report going to Policy and Resources Committee on Thursday 19 July 2018. However, Barnet UNISON will be supporting option 3 with qualifications. We support bringing the partnership to an end, and beginning the process of bringing services back in house. It is simply not feasible to contain to peddle the Commissioning Council model. Pragmatism driven by the financial crisis has to mean that the Council needs to include in their business case a major restructuring of senior management across the Council including the Barnet Group. The Commissioning restructure 2012 is not fit for purpose. The Council need to look at how services best fit including those within the Barnet Group. There must not be a silo approach to insourcing. John Burgess, Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON

Background

  1. Two Capita contracts with Barnet Council are:

Customer and Support Group (CSG)

https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/one-barnet-transformation-programme/customer-and-support-group-csg.html

  1. Regional Enterprise Ltd (Re)

https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/one-barnet-transformation-programme/regional-enterprise-ltd-re.html

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.

Links.

Damning report into EasyCouncil, Outsourcing including forward by John McDonnell

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Barnet-UNISON-Capita-report-2018.pdf

Below are three short video messages from Dexter Whitfield on his report.

Dexter Whitfield on campaigning against outsourcing

https://youtu.be/zDt8VKKQ-Vs

Dexter Whitfield on outsourcing failures

https://youtu.be/IiD17Pt7OwY

Dexter Whitfield on true costs of Barnet easyCouncil

https://youtu.be/V0SytYCj1HA

 

 

“Heart-breaking and infuriating”: Outsourcing hurts workers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“John, I didn’t realise what it meant to be outsourced, I remember you warning us about it and calling for strike action. I know now and I absolutely hate working for them.”

I’ve had to represent many outsourced workers here in Barnet. The other day I had a long and upsetting conversation with a member. She reminded me of one of the many campaign meetings I had held with Barnet Council members before services were outsourced. In all of the meetings I would keep repeating the message that in spite of what senior managers were saying, workers would notice a difference if outsourced.

It doesn’t help to say I told you so, because our member need support from us.

It should serve as a warning to any workers under the threat of outsourcing such as Knowsley or the Four Health branches Bradford, Calderdale and Huddersfield, Leeds and Mid Yorkshire Health who are about to be balloted or the 600 hospital caterers, cleaners, porters other staff at three hospitals in Lancashire are planning to strike for 48-hours later this month over plans to transfer their jobs from an NHS trust to a private company it plans to set up as a wholly owned subsidiary. The proposed action on 23 and 24 May follows an 89% vote for strike action in a ballot which saw 73% of eligible members cast a vote.

https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2018/05/wwl-strike/

I send solidarity greetings and this warning, if you don’t fight you have already lost, if you fight, you may win and avoid what will inevitably follow with outsourcing, which will be an attack on your pay and terms and conditions.

John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barnet Alliance is back – Guest speaker John McDonnell & Mr Reasonable

On Tuesday 22 May Barnet Alliance return to the Barnet Politics.

To mark the occasion, Barnet Alliance have arranged for Mr Reasonable to provide a short overview on Capita and their relationship with Barnet Council.

As an added bonus they have incredibly managed to secure John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor, he is speaking at PCS conference earlier that day but has said that he hopes to drop in at some point during the two hour meeting. John along with Jeremy Corbyn have a long association of supporting Barnet Alliance campaigns. Both them still talk about the Barnet Spring march that took place in a blizzard.

Barnet Alliance, will be both organising and supporting local campaigns in Barnet.

If you want to get involved in positive campaigning here in Barnet to help fight to support and save public services then start making plans to attend the weekly Barnet Alliance meetings.

Barnet Alliance meetings will be taking place every Tuesday from 6.30 to 8.30 at the Greek Cypriot Centre, 2 Britannia Rd, London N12 9RU

 

 

 

 

 

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