#Capita commence formal redundancy consultations in #Barnet

 

 

Yesterday, 22 November 2018 Capita formally commenced a 52 day consultation for the Capita Corporate Programmes team.

The proposal is cut the size of the workforce from 29 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) to 8 FTE which is a 72% cut in the workforce.

Please note: In 2013 when the Corporate Programmes Team transferred to Capita the team was 13.39 FTE. 

The staff to work in Barnet on LBB projects and programmes and work across the following teams/areas:

  • Capital
  • Transformation
  • Technology & Change
  • Customer Transformation Programme

Barnet Council have told Capita they have no requirement for a team of this size for 2019.

Barnet UNISON have raised concern that this proposal has clearly arisen as a result of closed door negotiations with Capita. The negotiations are as a result of the Councils decision to review both Capita contracts at a special Policy and Resources Committee on 19 July 2018 which:

RESOLVED – That the Committee:

  1. Agrees to review the council’s partnership with Capita, and authorises the Chief Executive to develop a Full Business Case.
  2. Agrees that the proposed strategic aims underpinning the Full Business Case should be to:
  3. a) Deliver high quality services;
  4. b) Secure best value for money for Barnet’s residents; and
  5. c) Strengthen the council’s strategic control of services.
  6. Notes the three options identified and considered in more detail in paragraphs 2.4 to 2.7 and Tables 1 to 4.
  7. Agrees that option 2 – realigning the CSG and DRS contracts to bring back in house those services listed in Table 5 – is the proposed preferred option to be tested in the Full Business Case.
  8. Agrees that option 3 is fully tested and considered in the Full Business Case.
  9. Agrees that the Full Business Case should review the joint venture arrangement for the delivery of Development and Regulatory Services.
  10. Agrees that the Full Business Case should be considered by Policy & Resources Committee, for referral to Council for final decision.”

(Source: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=692&MId=9725&Ver=4 )

Barnet UNISON has registered concern that this may be the first of a series of redundancy meetings for Capita employees working in other services provided by Capita as a result of negotiations with Barnet Council. We are also concerned that this could be viewed as an attempt to circumvent any TUPE transfers of staff back to the Council.

 

Breaking News: “Seriously are they really keeping Capita?”

 

Barnet UNISON was bitterly disappointed to read that Barnet Council is now back tracking on a decision agreed at a Special Policy and Resources Committee on 19 July 2018.

The decision was to review the council’s partnership with Capita, and authorise the Chief Executive to develop a Full Business Case for all of the following Options:

  1. Keep both Capita contracts as they are now.
  2. Bring some Capita services back in-house from both contracts.
  3. Bring all the services back in-house from both contracts.

“all three options should be fully tested, consulted on and considered in a Full Business Case before a final decision was made”

Barnet Council has now announced that only these services will be brought back in-house:

“It is intended that the report will recommend that Finance and Accounting (excluding transactional services provided from the Darlington shared service centre) and Strategic HR be transferred back to the council by the end of this financial year (March 2019).”

The announcement goes on to add:

“The arrangements for remaining services are still to be considered and timescales will be confirmed in due course. However, it is also likely that the report will recommend that Highways and Regeneration be reviewed as one of the earlier phases.”

The news may come as a surprise to our members, especially in light to recent fraud and the damning Grant Thornton report which is going to be discussed at the Audit Committee on 22 November.

However, Barnet UNISON is not surprised by the decision: this is Barnet.

Last week we sent a report to all Councillors on the Policy and Resources Committee entitled:

 “How bad does it have to get?”

You can read our report here:

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Capita-review-Barnet-UNISON-FINAL.pdf

The sheer number of  Councils ending their contracts with Capita in 2018 is very worrying.

These big contracts are just as complex as the one in Barnet and often involve the same services that Barnet outsourced to Capita.

If Southampton, Sheffield, Blackburn and Birmingham can end contracts with Capita and still make savings then why can’t Barnet?

Barnet UNISON is not giving up on our aim to see all services brought back in-house.

This is why we are directly asking all of our members working for Capita this question:

“If you have any information, questions or concerns that you think we should know about, strictly in confidence, please make urgent contact with the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

In the meantime take a look at this infographic below for 2018 only.

 

Taxi for Mitie: Council Housing repairs come back in-house

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is set to return its housing repairs service to council control, bringing to an end the contract with Mitie.

This follows on from winding up Hammersmith and Fulham ALMO, H&F Homes, in 2010.

“We’ve listened to what tenants and leaseholders have told us about the repairs service,” says Cllr Lisa Homan, Cabinet Member for Housing. “That’s why we will now take back direct control of the repair and maintenance for our 17,000 homes.

“We’re determined to provide a safe and secure place to live for our tenants and leaseholders. This decision is the start of a new way to deliver for our residents.”

The council will now set up a new council-run repairs service, a direct labour organisation, which will work alongside a range of new contractors to deliver repairs.

https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/articles/news/2018/10/hf-return-its-housing-repair-service-council-control

https://www.24housing.co.uk/yournews/hammersmith-fulham-to-bring-housing-almo-back-under-council-control/

Barnet UNISON have written to Barnet Group Chief Executive asking if Barnet Homes will be doing the same. The private contractor Mears currently provide Council Housing repair service.

Barnet #KickOutCapita Inquiry: 6 November 2018

Date: Tuesday 6 November 2018

Venue:  Committee Room Corridor, House of Commons Westminster, London SW1A 0AA.

Time: 7pm

Organised by Barnet Alliance for Public Services and Barnet UNISON

Chair: Aditya Chakrabortty Guardian columnist and senior economics commentator

Purpose of Inquiry

To hear evidence from residents, trade unions, politicians on what Capita has done in Barnet and elsewhere and end with a set of recommendations.

Background

A Capita employee managed to steal over £2 million from Barnet Council because neither Capita nor Barnet Council had control of financial matters.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/ukengland-london-45641513l

Barnet Council felt obliged to commission Grant Thornton to identify how such a large scale fraud was possible. This project could cost up to half a million pounds of tax payers’ money.

The review found no proper budgetary controls, no checking of basic banking details, inexperienced managers responsible for large amounts of Council money, no written financial procedures and check-lists.

Barnet Council agreed to pay Capita £252.54 million, but has 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.

Front-line services such as street cleansing, waste and recycling, libraries and social care are all facing more and more cuts that are already affecting Barnet residents.

Capita is having difficulty with its own finances

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

On 11th 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.

Support:

  1. Please join #KickOutCapita campaign from 6 pm outside Hendon Town Hall,11th December, The Burroughs, Hendon NW4 4BG.
  2. Please sign and share our #KickOutCapita petition here https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/kick-out-capita-from-barnet-council-now

 

Facility Time protecting “Your Rights At Work”

Facility Time is something most employers support that includes Barnet Council, Barnet Group, NSL, Capita, Re, ISS, Cambridge Education.

It enables Barnet UNISON to be able to provide support for individual members and group of workers across different team and or services.

Over the years the amount of Facility Time granted has been reduced. Back in 2011 it was reduced by 80% as a result of Austerity policies.

Unfortunately, Austerity Policies have increased the need for UNISON representation across all services and all employers. Here are some of the issues we are currently supporting members on:

  • Disciplinaries
  • Grievances
  • Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination in the workplace
  • Payroll
  • Pension
  • Redundancy
  • Restructures
  • Re-grading
  • Performance Appraisal
  • Privatisation.

It is not a secret, Barnet Council are in serious financial trouble as are many other Councils.

This financial crisis does mean that Barnet UNISON members will need more UNISON representation not less.

It is therefore really important that all Barnet UNISON members check their payslips in order to confirm they are still paying their UNISON subscriptions.

If you are not in Barnet UNISON you can join online here https://join.unison.org.uk/

If you have any issues or concerns please contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barnet UNISON is supporting World Mental Health Day 10 October

This year’s focus is on young people.

There is lots of material free to use for anyone who lives or works with young people

https://mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/campaigns/world-mental-health-day-2018

Find ways to support young people’s mental health in a changing world this #WorldMentalHealthDay, with the #HandsUp4HealthyMinds toolkit from MHFA England: https://mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/campaigns/world-mental-health-day-2018/

 

 

 

Mr Reasonable on why residents need to #KickOutCapita from Barnet Council

Mr Reasonable on why residents need to #KickOutCapita from Barnet Council

Come and listen to John Dix aka Mr Reasonable, explain the ramifications of the recent damning Grant Thornton audit review in language which is clear and easy to understand.

Meeting hosted by Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS)

Tuesday 2nd October

6.30pm

Greek Cypriot Centre, 2 Britannia Rd, London N12 9RU

 Why attend the meeting ?

Mr Reasonable had this to say about the audit review:

“The Grant Thornton report highlights Capita’s repeated failure to get basic control systems right, allowing 62 fraudulent transactions to go undetected for 17 months. New systems to address this problem have now been put in place but the report paints a broader picture of institutionalised indifference, weak management and a lack of care. Barnet residents were forced to entrust critical functions of the council to Capita. Five years on, many residents believe that there is no longer any trust in Capita to deliver council services efficiently and securely. They must go.”

This is what John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor had to say about the audit review:

“The Grant Thornton (GT) review of the two Capita contracts in Barnet provides yet more evidence of the folly of privatisation of public services. When I read “significant financial control weaknesses…“poor accounting controls” in the GT review it summed up what I have been saying about the current Tory government. They have failed our economy by rewarding their friends in big business, leaving our communities and public services to suffer at the hands their brutal austerity policies. I want to send a personal message of solidarity from the Labour Party Conference to Barnet UNISON and the residents who have fought side by side against a right wing mass outsourcing ideology. I fully support your campaign to #KickOutCapita from Barnet and bring services back in-house.”

You can read the four reviews yourself on the Barnet Council web site

https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/finance-and-funding/Financial-controls.html

Here is the Barnet UNISON Press release here

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2018/09/25/press-release-capita-out-capita-out-capita-out-out-out/

 

 

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

Press Release: Capita Out, Capita Out, Capita Out Out, Out!

For immediate release: Capita Out, Capita Out, Capita Out Out, Out

Grant Thornton was commissioned by the London Borough of Barnet (the Council) to provide support in its response to the discovery of an alleged fraud.

On Friday 21 September 2018 Barnet Council published the Grant Thornton (GT) review https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/finance-and-funding/Financial-controls.html

The GT review looked the two Capita contracts below.

Contract 1: The London Borough of Barnet and Capita (BRDS) Limited relating to the provision of Development and Regulatory Services signed 5th August 2013 “DRS”

Contract 2: New Support and Customer Services (NSCSO) Partnering Agreement between the London Borough of Barnet and Capita Business Services Limited. “CSG” contract commenced September 1st 2013.

The combined worth of both contracts over a 10 year period £424 million.

GT review reported:

“The individual is believed to have committed a fraud to a detected value of £2,063,972 by directing CPO payments to personal bank accounts.”

“Our view of both contracts has identified a number of significant weaknesses which may have resulted in contractual breaches. We have identified and reported what we believe are fundamental weaknesses in budgetary control and financial accounting.”

“We note both the DRS contract and the CSG contract detail consequences for the Service Provider of Persistent Breach”.

“Lack of effective review of controls over financial ledgers.

“The monthly and annual budgetary control process provided by CSG Finance for capital projects in Re lack sufficient rigour to challenge unusual transactions and journal entries.”

“Significant financial control weaknesses”

“Poor accounting controls

“Weakened scrutiny over regeneration scheme KPIs”

https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/finance-and-funding/Financial-controls.html

The GT review goes on to develop five broad themes and referred as control ‘Pillars’. GT had this to say about their ‘Five Pillars’

“In our view, if any one of these controls Pillars was functioning effectively at any point during the period (July 2016 to December 2017) on question it should not have bene possible for the individual to perpetrate the fraud…”

John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor said: “The Grant Thornton (GT) review of the two Capita contracts in Barnet provides yet more evidence of the folly of privatisation of public services. When I read “significant financial control weaknesses…“poor accounting controls” in the GT review it summed up what I have been saying about the current Tory government. They have failed our economy by rewarding their friends in big business, leaving our communities and public services to suffer at the hands their brutal austerity policies. I want to send a personal message of solidarity from the Labour Party Conference to Barnet UNISON and the residents who have fought side by side against a right wing mass outsourcing ideology. I fully support your campaign to #KickOutCapita from Barnet and bring services back in-house.”

Professor Dexter Whitfield who recently published a joint review entitled “’Future Shape’ ‘easyCouncil‘, ‘One Barnet’= Failure” with Barnet UNISON on both Capita contracts had this to say

“The Grant Thornton audit reveals very serious flaws and inadequate operational practice in both the Capita regeneration and back office services contracts. The fact that it took a fraud case to reveal the full nature and scope of these flaws is a damming indictment of Capita and Barnet Councils contract management and monitoring. Furthermore, implementation of the remedial action plan may address the current inadequacies but gives little reassurance that there are no other serious flaws that remain to be exposed. The audit provides further significant evidence for the Council’s review of both contracts and a decision to terminate the Capita contracts and return to in-house provision as a matter of urgency.”

John Burgess, Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary:

“I am shocked but not surprised at the content of the GT review of both Capita contracts. Barnet UNISON predicted that service quality would suffer once the services were privatised however there is little comfort in saying “we told you so” for the hundreds of local jobs in Barnet that were lost as a direct result of Capita winning the contracts. What is surprising, is that it took a fraud, to deliver the forensic scrutiny we have long demanded. Over the past five years frontline in-house services have endured vicious cuts whilst the two Capita contracts have drained badly needed public money, in order to satisfy the needs of Capita shareholders who put profit before quality services to residents. When Capita issued a dramatic profit warning on 31 January 2018, why did the Council not begin discussions to bring services back in-house. It seems clear from the GT review that even at an early stage there were serious endemic financial and budgetary issues. The Council is currently preparing a review of both Capita contracts. It is my view that in light of the GT review, it is untenable that the Council could even consider allowing Capita to run any of their services again. The relationship between the Council and Capita is in my opinion irreversibly broken, it’s over, and now is the time to end it, no expensive divorce bill, Barnet Councils services, and residents have tolerated enough of the mass privatisation ideology. Never mind #Brexit it’s time for #Capzit”.

Background

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: John Burgess Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: john.burgess@barnetunison.org.uk

1.“’Future Shape’ ‘easyCouncil’, ‘One Barnet’ = Failure http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Barnet-UNISON-Capita-report-2018.pdf

2. External Auditors explains Capita Pensions failure

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2018/07/18/external-auditors-explains-capita-pensions-failure/

3. How can Barnet Council even think of allowing Capita to run our IT services after this?

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2018/07/16/how-can-barnet-council-even-think-of-allowing-capita-to-run-our-it-services-after-this/

4. “Terminate Capita Contracts and Redesign the Council”

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2018/07/16/6234/

5. 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

6. Damning report slams Capita and financial management at Barnet Council

http://barneteye.blogspot.com/2018/09/damning-report-slams-capita-and.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+99IsTheBarnetEye+%2899%25+is++…….++The+Barnet+Eye%29

7. 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

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