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.”

 

Have you had your Pension Health check?

Have you had your Pension Health check?

Making sure your Pension is being looked after properly by #Capita is something our branch takes very seriously.

Your Pension is one of the most important financial decisions you are likely to make so it is important that when you need it, the Pension is accurate.

If you are a Barnet UNISON member and want your own specific Pension Health check all you need to do is contact the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

Fire safety issues in Barnet Libraries

Over the last year Barnet UNISON have been very concerned about Fire Safety in Barnet Libraries.

This arose because the Council were slow in providing Fires Risk Assessments (FRAs) for Libraries and in complying with the actions resulting from these assessments.

During 2017 Library buildings were altered as part of the Library Program. This included internal structural changes and the installation of technology to permit unstaffed opening hours. These changes meant that the building’s Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) needed reviewing and replacing.

In addition a new Library, Finchley Church End was opened in September 2017 which also required a Fire Risk Assessment

UNISON began asked the Council for these Fire Risk Assessment prior to library staff returning to each site and before the Libraries opened to the public.

However the Council only produced these FRA weeks and months after library staff and the public were admitted to the Libraries.

Examples include;

1. North Finchley Library reopened to the public on the 12th June 2017

The FRA issued on the 24th August 2017

 

2. Golders Green Library reopened to the public on the 3rd July 2017                                  The FRA issued on 10th August 20.17

 

3. Osidge Library reopened to the public on the 26th June 2017

The FRA issued on the 16th August 2017

The FRAs when they were produced identified a number of actions for the Council to carry out. The majority of these were described as a

  • “…..a potential contravention of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, or a high risk to Health & Safety from fire”

The deadline for complying with most of these actions was three months from the issue of the FRA.​​

A few of the issues are listed below:

  • Replacing Fire Doors at some with doors with the required level of fire Resistance
  • Fire Refuge Area communication system not working at a number of sites
  • The Emergency Lighting untested at a number of sites
  • No record of the five yearly structural inspection of the external fire escapes at a number of libraries
  • Incomplete Fire Safety signage missing at a number of sites
  • Smoke seals needed for doors at a number of libraries
  • Insufficient numbers of fire extinguisher at one site
  • Fire extinguisher incorrectly mounted at a number of sites
  • Fire door not closing correctly at one library
  • Basement area at one library requiring upgrading to required level of fire resistance
  • Width of staff exit at one site below recommendations
  • Confirmation needed that there is fire separation in the roof void between the library and the commercial use area at one site

Barnet UNISON have been inspecting Libraries to see if the FRA actions have been carried out. In most cases these have not been completed. UNISON have raised this at a number of escalating meetings to the highest level and in our inspection reports.

But no real evidence was presented to Barnet UNISON by the Council that most of the issues had been resolved. Barnet UNISON informed the Council on a number of the occasions that if this continued we would be compelled to contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to report our concerns.

Despite this the Council failed to meaningfully respond and with regret Barnet UNISON reported our concerns to the Health and Safety Executive.

The Council have since then provided UNISON with a plan of works to act upon the FRAs but while this is welcome. These action should have been completed months ago.

The Council inaction has in UNISON view being largely caused by various Council/Capita management teams’ failure to take responsibility to have the Fire Risk Assessment in place in good time and to respond in sufficient time to resolve the problems identified in these assessments.

Barnet UNISON do not believe these failures have been due to library staff on site, who have reported these problems according to Council  procedures and to their Trade Union , and who have themselves been put at risk by the Council.

Barnet UNISON will continue in our campaign to make Barnet Libraries safe for our members, all Library staff and the public.

To this end we call on the Council to:

  • Ensure that libraries and other Council buildings have up to date FRAs in place before staff and the public are admitted
  • Act speedily and effectively to comply with Fire Risk Assessments
  • Review the management of Fire Safety arrangements and monitoring within the Council
  • Work with UNISON and other concerned parties in addressing the risks and hazards in identified in Fire Risk Assessments.

Please note: The following services are provided by #Capita:

  • Estates
  • Health and Safety
  • Project Management

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.

 

UNISON National response to Pay consultation Local Government

UNISON’s membership consultation on the Local Government Association’s (LGA) pay offer for 2018-20 ended on 9 March. The UNISON NJC Committee met to today to consider the response.

UNISON members have very narrowly rejected the LGA’s offer, with 50.44% voting to reject and 48.66% voting to accept it. (0.89% of ballot papers were spoilt.)

However, 62.4% of branches and 8 out of 11 Regions have voted to accept the offer.

The Committee had recommended rejection of the offer to members as the basis of the membership consultation. However, since the offer has been very narrowly rejected overall, but accepted by the majority of branches and Regions, the Committee agreed the following next steps:

In light of the results of the consultation on the 2018-20 pay offer, this NJC Committee agrees:

  • To reluctantly amend its recommendation to acceptance of the pay offer
  • To consult branches via Regions on the revised recommendation to accept the offer
  • This consultation to be completed by 5 April 2018
  • That the question to be put to branches is: ‘Do you agree with the NJC Committee’s revised decision to accept the 2018-20 NJC pay offer: Yes /No.

Branches are not being asked to re-consult members on the pay offer but seek member feedback on the NJC Committee’s question as best they can in the timescale given.

A branch circular will be issued early next week giving further details of this consultation and background information explaining the NJC Committee’s reasons for this decision.

With best wishes

Heather Wakefield
National Secretary
Local Government, Police and Justice Section

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’.

***UPDATED Barnet residents don’t blame our members working for Street Cleansing

Last week Barnet UNISON members working in Street Cleansing we called to a meeting and informed of a massive cut to overtime.The news came out of the blue, our members some who have been working for Barnet for decades were both angry and bewildered by this decision.Staff were told there was no longer a budget to cover the service and told that they shouldn’t rely on overtime payments. This did not go down well with the workforce who are the lowest paid in the Council and desperately rely on the overtime payments over the weekend.

This news follows quickly on from the recent 19% cut in the number of staff charged to keep the streets of Barnet clean just before Christmas last year.

In order to explain the cut and its impact on Barnet, Street Cleansing service for Saturday and Sundays which goes from Oakleigh Road depot.

Please note the figures below are for just one side of the borough. The other half of the service goes out from Harrow Depot (we won’t go why we have a depot outside Barnet in this post).

8 hours Finchley Central

8 hours North Finchley

8 Hours East Finchley

4 Hours East & New Barnet

4 hours Friern Barnet/Colney Hatch

4 Hours Whetstone

4 Hours Greenhill/ Mays Lane

8 Hours High Barnet

4 Temple Fortune

8 Golders Green

8 Cricklewood

8 Edgware

4 Mill Hill

8 Watling

4 Hendon Central

4 West Hendon

4 Brent Street

8 Hours response team x 2 = 16 hours

This makes that 92 hours for the whole of the borough.

The new service which started last weekend is a one 7.5 ton vehicle with one driver and one loader (16 hours) to cover all the above areas in Barnet.

This is a reduction of 78 hours per day.

Barnet UNISON has unsuccessfully attempted to try to restore the service for Barnet residents. We have sought clarification as to whether normal service will resume from 1 April 2018, we are still waiting. Our members were reporting increases in fly tipping before the workforce was cut, but still the Council implemented the cut. This massive cut to street cleansing at the weekends is going to have a dramatic impact on our borough.

Meanwhile we hear the Council have enough money to pay “eye watering” payments to Capita and seem to have very little control over agency/consultancy spend.

Barnet Supplier Payments – yet another reason why we need to start planning for change

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/barnet-supplier-payments-yet-another.html

But what do we know.

 

 

 

Contingency plans in the event of the failure of one of its providers of significant outsourced services.

“On 30th January 2018, Full Council passed a motion on public services and outsourcing, to be considered by the Policy and Resources Committee. Given the timeline of meeting dates, it was agreed that this item be considered at the February meeting of the Performance and Contract Management Committee.

This report provides Members with an outline of the council’s contingency planning arrangements, in the event of the failure of one of its providers of significant outsourced services. The council has a business continuity planning framework, which applies to all services, including outsourced services. In respect of provider failure, the relevant contracts set out the key provisions that would enable the council to ensure continuity of service provision, in particular through the exercise of step in rights.”

Details below

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s45221/Report%20to%20PCM%20Feb%202018%20Contingency%20Planning%20FINAL.pdf

Barnet UNISON notes:

“1.7 The indicators include key accounting ratios that measure liquidity and indebtedness. In respect of Capita, the council reviewed its performance against the ratios on two occasions in the last year, as part of the process for considering pre-payment against the CSG and RE contracts. The ratios have been reviewed again, following the publication of its trading statement on 31st January 2018, and Capita have confirmed that they are far from reaching the relevant thresholds.”

Barnet UNISON is calling upon its members, residents to attend the Performance and Contract Management Committee, Tuesday 27th February, 2018 7.00 pm. Hendon Town Hall.

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

 

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