Hackney Carriage (Taxi) for Hackney Homes ALMO


The contract with Hackney Homes came to an end on 31 March 2016 as the council’s cabinet voted not to renew it.

Chair of Hackney Homes Rupert Tyson, and Vice Chair Alice Burke, who have been involved in Hackney housing for a combined 60 years, were present at the meeting.

All 33,742 Hackney Homes tenants were consulted on the plans through a process run by independent research agency Ipsos MORI.

Hackney Homes was formed in 2006 to deliver improvements to the council’s housing stock through the Decent Homes programme. The original five-year contract was extended to 2014 and subsequently to 2016.

Cllr Philip Glanville, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Hackney Council has come a long way over the last decade and Hackney Homes has been a major part of its success story.’

“I’d like to thank Hackney Homes’ Board, and staff for all of their hard work and look forward to welcoming them into the Council.’

Rupert Tyson said: “Hackney Homes and Hackney Council agree that the time has come to return housing management to the Council. Hackney Homes has achieved what it was established to do and I’m proud of our achievements over the last nine years and would echo Cllr Glanville’s thanks to my colleagues on the Board and the staff of Hackney Homes for their hard work over the last 9 years.”


Taxi for Brent Council ALMO

Taxi for ALMOs?


As Austerity Policies continue their brutal assault on public services, Barnet UNISON has looked to see what is happening to the ALMO’s

Today is the first of a number updates on ALMO’s.

This post is about Brent Councils decision to bring their ALMO back in house here are some extracts from the Council reports.

Feel free to open the links and ready all of the reports yourself.

Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

 “The interests of tenants and leaseholders are my top priority and the results of the consultation show now is the right time to bring housing management back in-house. This decision will allow us to respond more swiftly to the Government’s housing policies, deliver savings and ensure our tenants and leaseholders receive nothing but the best service in the future. Our decision also follows a national trend of local authorities bringing their housing ALMOs back in-house. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board and everyone at BHP for their hard work over the past 14 years.”

Joanne Drew, Chair of BHP’s Board of Management, said:

 “BHP was set up to improve homes as part of the government’s Decent Homes Programme. We have always been committed to working with Brent Council and ensuring local residents are at the heart of the organisation. We will continue to work closely with the council, residents and staff over this transition period to provide modern, efficient and effective services for the benefit of all council tenants and leaseholders.”

Short Summary of the Review Report

Preferred Option

“The In-House option offers the best opportunity to make savings and provides the strongest levels of control. This option also puts the housing management service in a better position in relation to the Council’s wider plans to secure improved outcomes for residents. It will be necessary to look at how this option will address Member and resident engagement and there are various options that could be pursued. For example a Members and residents committee may overcome the loss of the ALMO Board under the In-House option. In conclusion, taking into account the challenging financial situation, and all other factors outlined above, it is recommended that the In-House option is chosen. This is the option which the Council believes will best serve residents in Brent but it wants their views on this proposal.”


You can read all the reports click on this link


“Ey up Barnet what you doing about this debt?


In the context of ‘Austerity’ and the constant cuts it has brought to frontline services and staff, it is important that the employer is doing all that it can to ensure it doesn’t lose any income.

Recently the External Auditor had not signed off the Councils accounts due to a number of serious issues.

I attended the Extraordinary Audit Committee on Tuesday 19 September 2017 yo listen to some of the discussion.

Below is an extract from the External Auditors report http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=144&MId=9401

The use of bold and underline is mine.

 “As part of the review of aged debts, we noted that the Council had excluded two older debts from the calculation of the allowance for non-collection or for impairment as management was of the view that these were recoverable.

The first relates to The Barnet Group at £296,000 that is in excess of one year old. Management has stated that as The Barnet Group is a wholly owned subsidiary that this debt is secure.  However, we have not seen evidence of why this amount is considered to be a valid debtor.”

“The second relates to Comer Homes at £925,711 that is in excess of two years old. Management believe this is recoverable and relates to energy costs paid on the North London Business Park premises that should have been paid by Comer Homes. We have seen correspondence in 2015 suggesting that this will repaid at £50,000 per month but we have not seen any recovery to date. The case has been passed to HB Public Law.

Due to the aging of these debts and lack of recovery action to date, we are seeking a specific management representation to confirm that these amounts are recoverable.”


I am currently involved in a consultation in Street Services Cleansing services. Approximately 25% of posts are being deleted in order to make a £600K saving.

Imagine my disbelief and then anger that we can let the above debts go without a fight.

Furthermore I have since learnt from a post by Barnet Blogger Mr Reasonable “Capita have claimed a saving of £942,000 made up of actual annual energy savings of £111,071 plus £202,420 of “corrected overcharges”.”


How does that work?

We are owed £923,711 from energy costs yet I read we are paying Capita a bonus for making savings on energy costs.

How does that work?





How much are Barnet Council paying Capita?

The above list of payments by Barnet Council to the two Capita contracts has been produced by Barnet Blogger Mr Reasonable. In both contracts the Council appears to be paying more than they said they would have to pay when they first signed the contract.

The difference is quite shocking and when considered in the context of vital frontline services facing cuts and/or closure it is difficult to understand where the money is coming from to pay all this money.

If you want more detail here are some links to some of Mr Reasonable posts on #BarnetCouncil spend

Barnet Audit Fiasco Part 2 – Capita penalised £55,000 but disaster looms after 2020


Barnet’s Payments to Capita – the external auditor challenges £44 million pre-payment


Barnet Council Agency Staff Spend – reducing but still very high


Is Peterborough the new Luton – Barnet outsources its homeless


Barnet Payments for June – Capita earn a fortune and a booze up on the Council



A Night of Shame But Who’s to Blame – Last Night’s Audit Fiasco


School Staff Grading Appeal imminent – “You are worth it “

This is an update for all Barnet Council school UNISON members

Before I start I want Barnet UNISON members to listen to the Prime Minister Theresa May where she states: “We have the fifth largest economy in the world.”

Hold on to what the Prime Minister has said.

Please don’t let others say that our members can’t be paid the proper rate for the job in a country which is the “fifth biggest economy in the world.”

Back to the grading appeals.

Barnet UNISON has for the last 12 months been supporting council workers with grading issues.

The last big group of workers to go to a Grading Appeal hearing are school support staff.

I want to go through the group appeals in order all of our members are aware and take part in helping deliver a positive result which will see an increase in pay.

# Please Note: School support staff are now all paid Term Time only. The Salary scales are calculated on a worker working 36 hour week and a standard 52 week contract.

Level 2 Teaching Assistant Appeal

The current salary range for a Level 2 Teaching Assistant is:

£19, 917 to £21,884

UNISON has registered an appeal which if successful would move the grade up to:

£21, 276 to £23,802


Level 3 Teaching Assistant Appeal

The current salary range for a Level 3 Teaching Assistant is:

£23,802 to £26,805

UNISON has registered an appeal which if successful would move the grade up to:

£26,805 to £30,324


Level 4 Teaching Assistant Appeal

The current salary range for a Level 4 Teaching Assistant is:

£26,805 to £30,324

UNISON has registered an appeal which if successful would move the grade up to:

£29,517 to £32,628 or £32,628 to £36, 373


After School Club Level 3

The current salary range for a Level 3 is:

£19,917 to 21,984

UNISON has registered an appeal which if successful would move the grade up to:

£21,276 to £23,802


Sometime in September if you are in one of the above posts, you will receive a letter from Barnet Council.

The Council will ask a simple question.

“Do you support an Appeal to your grade?”

It is important that everyone replies YES and sends in the form to the Council.

Last term Nursery Nurses made sure we had a massive YES response.

If we get a YES vote the next stage will be the formal appeal hearing.

I will be conducting each appeal for Barnet UNISON members. However I will be accompanied by two UNISON members for each Appeal.

I will be contacting members to establish who will be attending with me.

Keep a look out for emails, and text messages from Barnet UNISON. It is important to us in Barnet UNISON that we help all of our members to get the right pay for the job they are in.

Any questions please contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk


John Burgess

Branch Secretary


Update on Barnet UNISON Family Services Drop-Ins

In order to find a way to support our members working in Family Services Barnet UNISON is offering two lunchtime informal drop in opportunities.

Every Tuesday from 12.30 – 1.30 Helen Davies, Barnet UNISON Branch Chair, will be in the canteen in Building 3  in order to meet with any Family Services member wanting a chat and or some advice.

Every Thursday from 12.30 – 1.30 John Burgess, Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary, will be in the canteen in Building 3  in order to meet with any Family Services member wanting a chat and or some advice.

Beverley Berrick, Family Services UNISON rep, will also attend some of these Drop Ins.

To view flyer click Family Services Flyer V2


1 2 3 58