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 UNISON call-out for people to give evidence at the #KickOutCapita Inquiry

Barnet UNISON call-out for people to give evidence at the #KickOutCapitaInquiry

If you are a Barnet resident or Barnet UNISON member and want to give evidence to the #KickOutCapitaInquiry  in person or want to provide evidence but remain anonymous please 
please email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Already a number of people have already registered their intention to submit evidence to the #KickOutCapita Inquiry which is being held at the

Committee Room 10,

House of Commons Westminster, London SW1A 0AA.

On Tuesday 6 November 2018 at 7pm

Please arrive early as there will be a queue for security checks.

Meeting is sponsored 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.

How you can help.

  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

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:

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

 

 

 

 

 

Another #Capita Pension failure………

Dear Barnet UNISON members

Once again our Pension Administration service has failed and had to be reported to the Pensions Regulator.

“The London Borough of Barnet Council has reported itself to the Pensions Regulator after failing to produce 447 pension benefit statements on time.”

http://www.pensions-expert.com/DB-Derisking/Barnet-in-TPR-breach-as-Capita-misses-payments

This is second year in a row that this has happened.

Barnet UNISON has never known things to be this bad.

The in-house service never had these problems.

Furthermore the article reports:

“The committee also said that outsourcer Capita, which carries out a variety of services for the council and is the pension scheme’s own administrator, has failed to make requisite deficit contributions for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 periods of more than £2m.”

For all of our members who TUPED to Capita Barnet UNISON has written to Mark Dally today seeking urgent conformation that the pension contributions will be paid immediately and that a communication to all staff is conforming that fact.

Barnet Council is currently carrying out a review of both Capita contracts.

There are three options

  1. Keep both contracts.
  2. Bring some Capita services back in-house.
  3. Bring all the services back in-house.

The obvious question from our members is how is it possible that senior officers working on the Capita contract review can seriously recommend that Pension Administration service stays with Capita.

Barnet UNISON view is Option 3

If you have any concerns about your Pension and would like a one to one meeting please contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

IMPORTANT MEETING

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.

Details: http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2018/10/16/barnet-kickoutcapita-inquiry-6-november-2018/

 

 

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

Barnet UNISON is supporting World Mental Health Day 10 October

As the song goes: “Everybody hurts sometimes”

 

In a number of our services stress and mental health issues account for the leading reasons for sickness absence. These are often services where our members have roles looking after the wellbeing of residents they serve so it can be difficult admitting you’re not coping when you are supposed to be the “strong one”. Please view this link where our own Branch Secretary, John Burgess, gives a personal account of his own experience.

World Mental Health Day 10 October 2018

Digital support links below

Type of application Application What does it do? Cost Notes
Mental Health Wellbeing Headspace Simple to use meditation app, can help with many mental health issues (i.e. anxiety or insomnia) 10 day free basics course. In-app purchases afterwards. Suggested by LD team

Barnet Voice believe this is the best app

Chill Panda Measures your heart rate and suggests tasks to suit your state of mind, including breathing techniques and light exercises to take your mind off your worries. Being tested by the NHS. Free on the Apple store
Cove Allows users to create music to capture their mood and emotions. Users can store their music on a personal journal, or send them to others. Free from the Apple store
ieso ieso is an online course using instant messaging for people with mental health problems. This is a confidential service that puts people in touch with a therapist trained in cognitive behavioural therapy. Currently not available in Barnet (available in Camden and Enfield) LD team suggest we omit
Reasons2 Free app designed by Young People and Washington Mind to help improve mental health. Allows people build their own profile of Reasons2 feel better. Free from Apple store and Google play
Cypher This is an anonymous peer-to-peer social network, that allows people to:

·         anonymously share their thoughts and feelings

·         post comments, ‘hugs’, ‘hearts’, and ‘me2s’ on what others share

·         instant message others in their support network

·         use the “Get support” function to connect with other support organisations

·         pick a virtual pet who gets happier the more good you do

This is currently being tested by the NHS.

Free from Apple store and Google play
EleFriends Online community developed by Mind. Moderated from 10am until midnight. Free from Apple store and Google play
RCPsych Mental Health App Provides information about key mental health disorders and links to relevant videos and podcasts Free from Apple store and Google play
Five Ways to Wellbeing App gives user ability to set wellbeing activities to complete throughout the week and reflect on progress. Free on google play
Wrap – Wellness Recovery Plan WRAP involves listing your personal resources (Wellness Tools) and using these to create Action Plans, to use in specific situations. Developed by a group of people who have lived experience of mental health difficulties. £4.99 on Apple Store and £3.03 on google play.
Happier Apple Watch app that is like your personal mindfulness coach – use it to lit your mood, take a quick mediation pause, or capture the small happy moments that you find in your day. Free on apple store and google play
Diary Mood Tracker Mood diary, that allows you to keep a track of your moods through icons and notes. This can help you understand your habits better. Free on apple store and google play
Depression and Anxiety SilverCloud Eight-week course to help people manage stress, anxiety and depression. Users work through a series of topics selected by therapists to address specific needs. Only available via an NHS referral or some non-NHS organisations, such as universities.
Stress & Anxiety Companion Helps people to handle stress and anxiety from a mobile app. Includes breathing exercises, relaxing music and games. Free on the Apple store
Catch it Helps people manage feelings such as anxiety and depression. The app records the user’s mood in three steps:

·         “Catch it” records and rates their mood

·         “Check it” asks them to take a moment to reflect on what they are thinking

·         “Change it” asks them to think of a better way of dealing with that problem

Free on Apple store and Google Play
Big White Wall Online community for people who are stressed, anxious or feeling low. There is also round-the-clock support from trained professionals. Users can talk anonymously to other members and take part in group or one-to-one therapy. Not available in Barnet. Individuals can sign up for £9.99 a month.
FearFighter Online course for people who struggle with phobias, panic or anxiety. Teaches you how to confront and change the thoughts that cause panic and anxiety. This teaches users to control their fears by gradually being exposed to situations that trigger them. Unclear if offered for free in Barnet. Privately, users can sign up for between £99 and £179. LD team suggest we remove this
Calm Harm An app designed to help people resist or manage the urge to self-harm. Based on the principles of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) – a type of talking therapy. Encourages users to distract themselves from urges to self-harm and manage their “emotional mind” in a more positive way. Free from the Apple store
Mental Health Recovery Guide If you suffer from depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and if you are a mental health outpatient, or a newly discharged psychiatric in-patient, this app will help you get well and stay well. Free on apple store and google play
WellMind Free NHS mental health and wellbeing app that helps with stress, anxiety and depression. Includes advice, tips and tools. Free on apple store and google play
What’s Up? Utilises Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) methods to help you cope with depression, anxiety, anger and stress. Free on apple store and google play
SAM: Self-help for Anxiety Management App to help you understand and manage anxiety. You can monitor your anxious thoughts and behaviour over time. Includes self-help exercises, private reflection and the “social cloud”, which enables you to share your experiences on the SAM community while protecting your identity. Free on apple store and google play
Mood Tools – Depression Aid Designed to alleviate negative moods. The app includes a thought diary, activities, a suicide safety plan and depression tests. Free on google play
Fear Tools – Anxiety Kit Designed to combat anxiety. Especially useful for those suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Phobias and Social Anxiety Disorder. The app includes a thought diary, an exposure programme to overcome fears and a breathing tool. Free on google play
Anxious Minds This app includes a support group, online peer support sessions, advice and tips and blogs written by anxiety sufferers. Free on google play
Talking Point Online community for anyone affected by dementia. The app is a space for people to ask questions and share experiences about any aspect of dementia. Free website
Recovery Record – Eating Disorder App App for managing your journey to recovery from eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Intended for people with general eating, weight and shape concerns. This is based on CBT. You can keep a record of your meals, and link this with your treatemend team. Free on apple store and google play

 

Waste & Recycling Round restructure questions

Barnet UNISON has conducted our own consultation with members about the new round restructure.

We have asked senior management to respond to the questions raised by UNISON members working in Waste and Recycling below:

1. How many vehicles do we currently have available for the new round restructure?

2. How many refuse rounds will there be in the new round restructure and what is the staffing numbers?

3. How many recycling rounds will there be in the new round restructure and what is the staffing numbers?

4. How many Trade rounds will there be in the new round restructure and what is the staffing numbers?

5. How many green waste rounds will there be in the new round restructure and what is the staffing numbers?

6. Currently the Hazard vehicle round operates three days a week. Will it still be operating and what are the crew numbers?

7. Impact Vehicle (IPV) currently operates three days a week what is the plan for this service?

8. Will there still be a Bin delivery and if so what are the staffing numbers?

9. How many shunt vehicles will be available on a daily basis?

10. What rounds will be getting shunts?

11. What is the estimated down time for shunts?

12. How many spare vehicles do we have?

13. What are number of locations per round?

14. How many bins and size per location?

15. Please provide the mileage walked by loaders per round?

16. How will flat refuse be collected?

17. How will flat recycling be collected?

18. What are the days for each postal district?

19. How are the locations with more than one collection day be collected?

20. Will there be maps provided for each new round?

21. When will public be informed?

22. When will staff be consulted and be informed about their round?

23. What are the contingency plans in the event of failure to collect?

24. What is the plan for the ever growing number of new developments to be incorporated into the new round?

25. Will agency staff still be used?

26. What are the estimated travelling times for each round to and from depots to the prescribed five postal districts?

27. What are the estimated tipping times from each area to Hendon or Edmonton?

28. Will black sacks be used, if so who will deliver them?

29. Where access for large vehicles is prohibited how far are staff expected to pull bins from bin areas to vehicle?

30. Have risk assessment’s been done for each new round?

31. Have Round Descriptions been completed for each new round?

32. Will the Round Descriptions include the presence potential hazards and restrictions such as;

  • Parked Vehicles
  • Narrow Lanes
  • Steep Slopes
  • Pedestrian usage
  • Schools/Care Homes and other buildings that may present increase risk, hazards or restrictions Poor Lighting or Visibility

33. Will the Round Descriptions include the nearest locations of:

  • Public/Staff Accessible Toilets
  • Hospitals
  • Nearest refuelling point (in case of emergency)

34. Have the rounds been walked and tested?

35. What is current overall capacity in tonnage for each existing refuse round per day?

36. What is the overall capacity expected in tonnage for each new refuse round per day?

37. What is current overall capacity in tonnage for each existing flat refuse round per day?

38. What is the current overall capacity in tonnage for the existing food waste round per day?

39. What is the current overall capacity in tonnage for RATS/FLASH collection rounds per day?

40. What is the current overall tonnage for each existing recycling round per day?

41. What is the overall capacity expected tonnage for each new recycling round per day?

42. What is the current overall tonnage for the food waste collected by the recycling rounds per day?

44. What is current overall tonnage for all (mid-week and Saturday collection) flat recycling rounds?

45. What is the current overall tonnage for each existing refuse restricted access round per day?

46. What is the current overall tonnage for each existing recycling restricted access round per day?

47. Currently we have restricted access rounds. How will the new round collection service address restricted access to locations?

48. What is the current overall tonnage of the Saturday green waste rounds?

49. Will the crews be alternated between refuse and recycling each week?

 

Kick out Capita from Barnet Council now petition

Kick out Capita from Barnet Council now

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/kick-out-capita-from-barnet-council-now

 

Why is this important?

The recent successfully prosecuted fraud case where a Capita employee stole over £2million from Barnet Council underlines the urgent need for the Council to take back control of all of the former Council services from Capita.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-45641513

Barnet Council commissioned Grant Thornton (GT) to undertake a major review to identify how such a large scale fraud had been able to take place. This project, called Project Rose, was given a budget of “up to” £500,000 and has been on-going ever since.

The review found:
• Lack of budgetary controls
• Not carrying out basic bank detail checks
• Inexperienced managers responsible for large amounts of money
• Lack of written financial procedures and checklists

Barnet Council agreed to pay Capita £252.54 million

But, Barnet Council have 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.

Frontline services such as street cleansing, waste and recycling, Libraries, social care are all facing more and more cuts that are already affecting Barnet residents.

Capita Plc are in their own financial crisis.

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

On 11 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.

End
Details of the Grant Thornton Review on Capita
https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/finance-and-funding/Financial-controls.html

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

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

Damning report slams Capita and financial management at Barnet Council
http://barneteye.blogspot.com/2018/09/damning-report-slams-capita-and.html

 

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