Homeless: Barnet UNISON quest to find an office

Dear Members

Since the formation of Barnet Council in 1965 there has always been an office for our members to visit and meet with their reps first when it was NALGO and now Barnet UNISON.

Barnet UNISON has moved a few times over the last decades. We were based in an old mortuary in Hendon until the Council moved services “lock, stock and barrel” to North London Business Park (NLBP).

We remained in NLBP until the Council began its new accommodation strategy.

We were moved to Barnet House and we are still here.

It is really important for our members that they have access to their trade union.

Currently we have large numbers of members at Oakleigh Road depot, NLBP, Colindale.

Over the last 12 months we have been in discussions with the Council to find suitable accommodation that is accessible and provides confidentiality.

Why are we not at Colindale?

The set up in Colindale is open plan and the Council were unable to secure an enclosed office where we could meet, greet and discuss issues with our members. It is important that members are able to access Barnet UNISON without others knowing.

Subsequently we have been looking at some other properties. Originally we were going to return to Building 2 NLBP for a limited amount of time but that has not materialised.

Time is running out.

At the moment we are still in Barnet House because the building is still open for Housing Needs service which has not moved to Colindale. At some point Barnet House will be closed and we will be out on the streets hence the need to find something suitable.

We are still hoping to find a solution with the Council but we need to be prepared for potentially being homeless.

How you can help?

We are calling on all members to keep a look out for anywhere they think might be suitable for a Barnet UNISON office.

It’s important that members understand that the branch does not have funding for an office and therefore any costs would have to be taken out of our existing budget. This is a real concern because we have a large and diverse membership and we struggle to live within our budget each year. We will of course be contacting our union to ask if they are able to provide extra funding for accommodation and we will report back to our members the outcome of that request.

 

Is your Pension correct? Get your FREE Health Check

There has been a serious catalogue of failure by Capita in regards to the Administration of Barnet Council Pension Scheme. The Pensions Regulator has recently issued another warning over the performance of Capita.

This is why Barnet UNISON is offering a FREE Pension Health check for all members who are in Barnet Council Pension Scheme.

Important Update

All members of the Pension Scheme should be receiving in the post their 2019 Annual Benefit Statement in early September 2019.

When you have received yours and would like to understand it better or wish to have it checked then please contact the Barnet UNISON office for a 1-1 meeting by e-mail to contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

If by 1 October 2019 you have not received your 2019 Annual Benefit Statement please contact Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or e-mail contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

The causes of Climate Change are a trade union workplace issue.

Barnet UNISON branch thinks it’s important to bridge the gap between the call for #ClimateChangeStrike #20Sept and how the causes of #ClimateChange are directly impacting on the health and wellbeing of our members.

Trade Unions have a long history of taking up health and safety issues on behalf of their members.

It’s important that the campaign to deal with #ClimateChange doesn’t treat it as an abstract issue that affects someone else.

The causes of #ClimateChange are real and are already having an effect in workplaces all over the world.

Our branch has already begun discussions with Barnet Council about air pollution and we are due to meet later this month.

In the meantime we are beginning conversations with our members via leaflets, online videos which we are posting on our social media sites and in our weekly eNews communication.

Here are two very simple but effective videos made by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

What does Air Pollution PM 2.5 do inside children’s body and brain?

https://youtu.be/QcS3ovdsgNI

Breathe Life – How air pollution impacts your body” World Health Organisation (WHO)

https://youtu.be/GVBeY1jSG9Y

Earlier this month our branch executive passed a motion entitled:

End the causes of Climate Change – a Call for Urgent Action and Solidarity which you can read here:

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2019/07/15/end-the-causes-of-climate-change-a-call-for-urgent-action-and-solidarity/

 

Please sign our End the causes of Climate Change Petition now 👇👇👇👇👇

https://www.change.org/p/london-borough-of-barnet-climate-change

End the causes of Climate Change – a Call for Urgent Action and Solidarity

This is an Emergency Please sign our Petition now

https://www.change.org/p/london-borough-of-barnet-climate-change

End the causes of Climate Change – a Call for Urgent Action and Solidarity  Motion.

Branch notes:

  • The Earth’s temperature has already risen by 1 degree above pre-industrial levels. The IPCC report last autumn warned that we only have 12 years to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees. Carbon emissions need to be cut by 45% by 2030, and reach zero carbon by 2050 in order to avoid a dangerous tipping point.
  • Air Pollution is the number one cause of deaths from environmental impacts resulting in the premature deaths of 40,000 citizens and an economic cost of £54 billion.
  • The UK Government has been taken to the European Court by Client Earth over its failure to act on illegal air pollution levels and the Government has lost its case which means it must now act.
  • A large number of our members work outdoors and are regularly exposed to air pollution.
  • The tremendous impact of the school students strikes in shifting government complacency over climate change forcing them to amend the 2008 Climate Change act.
  • Greta Thunberg’s call for a climate strike and for adults and workers to join the global school students strike on the 20th September which will begin a week of action on climate.
  • The solidarity strikes organised by trade unions in Belgium and France.

 Branch believes: 

  • Climate change is a trade union issue.
  • Our members have the right to work in a safe environment and for any associated risks to be mitigated.
  • Our Council needs to do more to protect our members in the face of the Climate Emergency.
  • More broadly the future of our planet is at risk if we don’t organise now to force governments’ to cut emissions in line with the IPCC report.
  • That taxing the very wealthy and closing tax loopholes in line with Labour Party manifesto commitments will meet the cost of cutting emissions by 50%.
  • That we must keep the pressure up. The school students have led the way but the trade union movement as a whole must now act to ensure that they don’t fight alone.

Branch resolves:

  • To commits the branch into entering urgent negotiations with Barnet Council and other employers in order to identify the following:
  • The risks to the health and wellbeing of workers regularly exposed to air pollution.
  • What measures/protection can be put in place to mitigate the hard of air pollution?
  • What health checks can be made available to workers regularly exposed to air pollution?
  • The branch contacts our union to ascertain any possible legal claims for injury at work as a result of regular expose to air pollution.
  • To back the call for a climate strike on 20 September
  • To support the call by the UCU for the TUC to organise a 30 minute workday solidarity stoppage to coincide with the global school student strike on the 20th
  • To call upon our national executive to support the UCU’s motion at this year’s TUC congress calling for a 30 minute workday stoppage.
  • For our branch to argue for and call a stoppage on the 20th September and for our branch to campaign for the maximum possible show of solidarity with school students 20th

Call out in solidarity for local democracy in Barnet 30 July 2019

On Tuesday 30 July 2019, 7pm in Hendon Town Hall, Barnet Council will vote on a proposal that in will restrict Barnet residents’ ability to ask questions and speak at future Council Committee meetings.

The London Borough of Barnet has a wealth of community activism which includes Barnet Bloggers (Mr Reasonable, Mrs Angry, Mr Mustard and Barnet Eye) and Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) to name just a few.

Their contributions over the last decade have largely been supportive of the services our members provide.

However, their contribution to future committees will virtually cease if the proposed rule change is passed at Full Council on 30 July 2019.

Barnet residents have responded by setting up a petition entitled “Stop Barnet Council From Gagging Residents”

You and read and sign in solidarity by clicking on this link here

https://t.co/P7sb0e3KNU?amp=1

Barnet UNISON is asking members to show solidarity by joining Barnet residents on Tuesday 30 July outside Hendon Town Hall from 6 pm onwards.

“Breathe Life – How air pollution impacts your body”

Barnet UNISON notes the dangers air pollution can have on our members working in Barnet.

We have already started discussions with Barnet Council about what can be done to mitigate the dangers of breathing in polluted air.

It is important our members understand the risks and what measures their employer can take to help both mitigate and or reduce the risk of air pollution.

The following video entitled “Breathe Life – How air pollution impacts your body” was made by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It is a short and easy to understand video.

There is a Climate Emergency and it is impacting on all of us now. It would be wrong to ignore it. Action is needed now. Please keep up to date by ensuring you receive our weekly Barnet UNISON eNews email by contacting the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

 

Lest we ever forget the million pound plus fraud committed by a Capita employee

Below is an extract from a report submitted to

Audit Committee 17 July 2018 


Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT) Annual Report 2018/19

(Source: https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s52410/Appendix%201%20CAFT%20Annual%20Report%201st%20April%202018%2031st%20March%202019.pdf )

2018-19 saw CAFT officers investigate and prosecute an unprecedented internal financial fraud. In Response to his officer resource was diverted from all sections within the team to deal with the investigation. The case was given the name Operation Rouble which subsequently proved to be the most challenging, complex and substantial fraud that Barnet has experienced.

  • The fraud related to two offences of ‘abuse of position’ which were committed by a Capital Investment Manager, employed by Capita and working for Regional Enterprise. The offender created instructions for CHAPS payments in excess of £2 million to be processed in relation to fictitious compulsory purchase orders.
  • The CAFT were notified in December 2017 and utilised their financial investigators powers to obtain tangible evidence which resulted in the offender being arrested and suspended within 24 hours of the investigation being initiated.
  • The criminal aspect of the investigation was evidenced and prepared for prosecution within five months which subsequently led to the successful conclusion of the case in July 2018 which saw the offender being sentenced at Harrow Crown Court to 5 years imprisonment.
  • CAFT has carried on the financial investigation and continues to do so in order to ensure all proceeds of crime are identified and recovered accordingly
  • CAFT has also worked closely with Internal Audit and Finance in relation to recommendation from the external review of financial controls and the ongoing audit testing relating to financial controls.
  • CAFT jointly conducting a payments data analytics exercise with Internal Audit in order to identify irregularities and/or make recommendations for improvement.

Further details of the investigation can be found in the noteworthy investigation section, and full details of the external review into financial control conducted by Grant Thornton is available on the council’s website Financial controls https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/finance-and-funding/Financial-controls.html


12 months later at Policy and Resources Committee 17 June 2019 Barnet Council decided to keep both Capita contracts largely untouched with a review sometime in the future. 

 

 

Trying to make sense of easyCouncil and Capita?????

Barnet Council entered into two large outsourcing contracts with Capita in 2013. Six years later there has been a serious fraud and the services are not up to standard.

Who is saying this?

The Council both the staff who use Capita services and the staff that commission Capita services.

A year ago the Council announced a large number of services were to be brought back in-house yet a year on only a few have made it across the line.

On Monday 17 June 2019, Barnet Council gave Capita the thumbs up for both contracts.

You can read more about the Capita contracts here on the Barnet UNISON website

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/

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