The following email was sent to all 63 Barnet Councillors 30 November 2018
Please find attached Barnet UNISON Briefing Number 3 which provides an insight into a number of decisions made by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council at the following Executive Board Committee meetings.
To aid transparency I am including the link to the relevant reports referred to in our Briefing.
- 15 January 2015 Executive Board decision https://democracy.blackburn.gov.uk/Data/Executive%20Board/201501151800/Agenda/Document%209.pdf
- 17 June 2015 Executive Board decision https://democracy.blackburn.gov.uk/Data/Executive%20Board/201506111800/Agenda/Document%208.pdf
- 11 October 2018 Executive Board decision https://democracy.blackburn.gov.uk/documents/s2862/EBD-Executive-Board-Decision-Capita%20Oct18.pdf
The Blackburn with Darwen story covers a 17 year relationship with Capita when local government was in a very different environment unlike today. Take a look at the which services start to come back and the reasons given for the final group of services to be brought back in-house.
0208 359 2088
To view flyer click on link below
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:
- 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:
- Agrees to review the council’s partnership with Capita, and authorises the Chief Executive to develop a Full Business Case.
- Agrees that the proposed strategic aims underpinning the Full Business Case should be to:
- a) Deliver high quality services;
- b) Secure best value for money for Barnet’s residents; and
- c) Strengthen the council’s strategic control of services.
- Notes the three options identified and considered in more detail in paragraphs 2.4 to 2.7 and Tables 1 to 4.
- 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.
- Agrees that option 3 is fully tested and considered in the Full Business Case.
- Agrees that the Full Business Case should review the joint venture arrangement for the delivery of Development and Regulatory Services.
- Agrees that the Full Business Case should be considered by Policy & Resources Committee, for referral to Council for final decision.”
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.
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:
- Keep both Capita contracts as they are now.
- Bring some Capita services back in-house from both contracts.
- 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:
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 email@example.com”
In the meantime take a look at this infographic below for 2018 only.
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.
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.
Date: Tuesday 6 November 2018
Venue: Committee Room Corridor, House of Commons Westminster, London SW1A 0AA.
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.
A Capita employee managed to steal over £2 million from Barnet Council because neither Capita nor Barnet Council had control of financial matters.
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.
- Please join #KickOutCapita campaign from 6 pm outside Hendon Town Hall,11th December, The Burroughs, Hendon NW4 4BG.
- Please sign and share our #KickOutCapita petition here https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/kick-out-capita-from-barnet-council-now
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:
- Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination in the workplace
- Performance Appraisal
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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
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
Here is the Barnet UNISON Press release here