Adults Social Services Restructuring

You will be aware we had lengthy discussions regarding the job descriptions. We have now begun the process of job evaluations. This means looking at the pay for each role. To date the only one which has been agreed is the Service Manager grade. We are in the middle of difficult negotiations about the pay rates for all other grades. This is taking some time as we are trying to be thorough and make sure people are properly recognised for the work they do. It is also the case I have 2 days per week to attend to Adult Social Services. It would be fair to say, at the moment, we do not see eye to eye on a number of points on the job evaluations. I will keep you updated.

Work-related Stress

In the middle of this I have been hearing of the stresses experienced by teams and individuals. I can only encourage those colleagues to speak up about those problems. Stress at work is an immediate Health and Safety issue and you should not feel you have to wait for a restructuring to take place in order to put an end to unacceptable levels of stress. Warning signs would, for instance, be breaking down in tears because of work, disrupted sleep pattern etc. Tell your UNISON representatives and your manager and discuss a way forward with them.

 

Safeguarding Audit 

Also in the middle of the negotiations on the job evaluations the unions (UNISON and GMB) were suddenly given extra role profiles and evaluations to complete with respect to the Safeguarding team. These are also still in the process of being negotiated. Colleagues have identified, in casual conversations and approaches to the union, the safeguarding audit as being a source of additional stress.

I will be meeting with Social Workers in Adults Services to discuss the issue of minute taking in Adult Protection cases.

 

It’s Good to Talk 

If anyone or group of workers wants to meet a UNISON rep to discuss a way forward with all of this I may not be able to arrange one instantly but I am always committed to meeting people to see what we can sort out. So please do contact me at the UNISON office if you need to arrange something. Sometimes advice over the phone can be a big help also.

You may want to convene a discussion with colleagues about other matters relating to the union or your work and work practices. It’s your union, your right to have your say, contact us to organise a meeting. This is often the first step to getting things to change. I will always do my best to attend and will always support those trying to change things for the better.

 

Helen Davies

Social Services Convenor (Job Share)

Contact us: 020 8359 2088.

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

helen.davies@barnetunison.org.uk

 

Barnet residents say: We will Shape our own Future!

Barnet residents say:

We will shape our own future!

Wednesday 4 March

Barnet trades council has organised a forum for Barnet residents to discuss:

Future Shape – council cuts – attacks on benefits – proposed privatisation of  Royal Mail

Professor Dexter Whitfield, European Services Strategy Unit, will describe the wider economic and political context for the council’s privatisation plans and proposed budget cuts. Then we will have more in-depth discussions of a number of campaigns where Barnet residents are already active. We will pool campaigning ideas, and create the basis for an ongoing community campaign to

–          Defend and improve public services

–          Defend the vulnerable in our community

–          Revive local democracy

All welcome: 7–9pm, Wednesday 4 March, Barnet Multicultural Community Centre, Algernon Road, London NW4 3TA. Map: tinyurl.com/launch4mar (close to Hendon Thameslink station; nearest tube station: Hendon Central; buses: 83, 183, 32, 142). More details: info@barnettuc.org.uk

 

Barnet residents say: We will Shape our own Future!

Barnet residents say:

We will Shape our own Future!

Wednesday 4 March

Barnet trades council has organised a forum for Barnet residents to discuss:

Future Shape – council cuts – attacks on benefits – proposed privatisation of  Royal Mail

Professor Dexter Whitfield, European Services Strategy Unit, will describe the wider economic and political context for the council’s privatisation plans and proposed budget cuts. Then we will have more in-depth discussions of a number of campaigns where Barnet residents are already active. We will pool campaigning ideas, and create the basis for an ongoing community campaign to

          Defend and improve public services

          Defend the vulnerable in our community

          Revive local democracy

All welcome: 7–9pm, Wednesday 4 March, Barnet Multicultural Community Centre, Algernon Road, London NW4 3TA. Map: tinyurl.com/launch4mar (close to Hendon Thameslink station; nearest tube station: Hendon Central; buses: 83, 183, 32, 142). More details: info@barnettuc.org.uk

Magnificant Seven Future Shape Groups -Phase Two

 

Barnet are launching Seven (‘Magnificent Seven’) Future Shape groups to look at Strategy, Access, Assessment, Property, Support, Transact, Vehicle

In terms of consultation with staff and trade unions things have slowed down. We have only had one meeting with the Future Shape team this year.  We are still waiting for details as to the membership of these groups, work plan, dates of meetings and which Barnet Public Sector employees (Mddx Uni, PCT, Barnet College, Met Police) will be taking part. The timeframe for the work is shrinking week by week as a report making recommendations needs to be ready for 8 June Cabinet Committee.

The Trade Unions are meeting with Councillors at our Corporate JNCC on Monday 23 March. Future shape update is on the Agenda.

Sheltered Housing Consultation

Today I attended one of the consultation meetings that LBB had set up in order to speak to residents about the possibility of removing Housing Officers from Sheltered Housing schemes.

Hanshaw Drive scheme houses 44 residents, some are housebound and so could not make the meeting, those attending included friends and relatives. 100% of those attending agreed that they wanted to keep their Sheltered Housing Officers.

One resident spoke of having epilepsy and having been found on the floor three times by the resident officer who then got medical help. One resident called it ‘abuse of the elderly’. Many had given up larger properties, three bedroom houses, in order to get the sheltered care that they needed. They now wondered why they hadn’t just stayed where they were –  ‘the council are breaking tenants expectations’, ‘they have a Duty of Care’

Many of these residents feared the future lack of security, they had been plaqued by anti-social behaviour, ‘without our resident officer, Patrick, we won’t be able to sleep at night.’’There is the social cost and the detriment to mental health.’

There was a consensus that any new scheme would ultimately cost more with greater involvement of social services and the PCT. Residents leaving hospital would have to spend time in a nursing home because there would be no-one on site to look in on them. At present residents discharged on a Friday are supported by the Resident Housing Officer who will get them their medication and food.

Residents have been sent a questionnaire to complete and an explanatory document, that are both hard to understand and extensive. What is clear is that the residents will not be accepting the removal of a service that is well established and based on need.

Anne Denison.

UNISON Convenor for Barnet Homes

23 February 2009

Barnet Trades Council

Future Shape – Barnet Community Campaign

At last night’s well attended AGM last night, the Trades Council announced  their campaign with Barnet residents on Future Shape. They are launching campaign at a meeting on 4 March 2009. If you are a Barnet resident we would encourage you to attend. For details of time and venue of meeting click here  

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Social Services Restructure

“To agree or not agree, that is the question…”

The bulk of the role profiles have been agreed. There are a couple of outstanding questions:

 

1)                 Should OTs (Occupational Therapists) accept that part of their role is to carry out some tasks completed by social workers?

 

2)                 Should social workers accept that part of their role is to carry out some tasks completed by OTs? Should we accept the notion of “trusted assessor” on our role profile?

 

I believe there is a consensus amongst most staff (if not all) and management we want residents in the Borough to have a service which causes the least headache for them in terms of waiting and jumping through hoops. I believe there is consensus amongst most staff and management we want service users to be safe in the delivery of that service and for staff to feel safe and confident in the assessments they have made. The question is about how to deliver on these positions. We will be having a meeting for those staff affected by the question of trusted assessor 10.2.09 10am-12pm in Barnet House to finalise our UNISON position.

 

3)                 Should Administrators accept onto their role profile they should take minutes of Adult Protection case conferences.

 

Our current administrators in Adult Social Services are paid low wages for an important job of keeping us from completely grinding to a halt with the volume of administration necessary to our roles. Adult Protection cases are notorious for producing rain forests of documentation. From a social worker point of view it would be fantastic if some of the burden of this administration could be done by someone else allowing the social worker to concentrate solely on the investigation. However, our UNISON members on the administration side of things have indicated they would not be happy to carry out this new task – with or without the training and the pay. An issue they find difficult to deal with is the emotional trauma of listening to the sometimes graphic detail divulged in some of these meetings. It’s a fair point. Management was going to consider this and propose a way forward. We believe the best way forward would be to have a dedicated team which would deal with this administration. We will keep our members updated on any developments.

 

Dignity at Work and the DDA

 

UNISON and management are working together on statements to encourage employees with a disability to come forward and inform the employer on the adjustments they need to continue carrying out their work. This is to make sure no one has to face any indignities for the lack of adequate planning following a move into a new structure. We will be putting out more info on this in due course.

 

Drive My Car?

 

Finally I have requested a statement from management/ HR regarding essential car user allowance. Some of you have pointed out this is missing from the new role profiles and are worried about what this means. I have been verbally reassured there is nothing sinister in this, although the car allowance for team managers is falling under intense scrutiny. I await the written response with bated breath.

Future Shape – Essex Council staff up for SALE

A group of Essex County Council Officers has put its services up for sale. All services have been included, and the Council is prepared to pay a private company £5.4 billion of Essex taxpayer’s money to do so. Neither councillors nor the cabinet have ever voted on these proposals.  The official notice advertising the contract asks private companies to provide “any and all council services”, and is likely to start from August 2009. They have said that “these services will include but are not limited to corporate and back office functions, environmental services, social care and school related services.”

http://www.unisonessex.org.uk/Outsourcing

Watch the story on BBC Politics Show  (the Essex sell off is in the last ten minutes of the show)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00hcrnk/The_Politics_Show_East_01_02_2009/

Remember the IBM takeover in Somerset—SouthwestOne?

Remember the ITV documentary on the IBM takeover of Somerset Council? In the documentary the Somerset Chief Executive explained that he visualised other councils queuing up to join SouthwestOne. Think again! The following story was reported in the Local Government Chronicle:

 

Somerset County Council’s chief executive has accused councils in the region of “institutional chauvinism” for refusing to join the authority’s flagship Southwest One shared services venture.

Alan Jones criticised councils’ unwillingness to consider efficiency projects devised outside their boundaries after the south-west’s biggest two authorities, Devon and Cornwall County Councils , both signalled they would not join the initiative.

The chief executive admitted that no new councils were currently considering entering Southwest One , despite Somerset holding talks with many of its regional counterparts. But he insisted the project was still viable. It is hoped the back office partnership between Somerset, Taunton Deane Borough Council , Avon & Somerset Police and IBM will save £200m over a decade.

Institutional chauvinism

Mr Jones queried why councils were not seeking the savings membership offered and concluded: “The answer has got to do with institutional chauvinism. People want something that has been invented in their patch.”

He added: “Our experience is that people are too conservative and cautious — they look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Earlier, Devon County Council chief executive Phil Norrey said the authority and its public sector partners “don’t want to export jobs from Devon to get relatively marginal savings”.

He added: “Somerset set up Southwest One with IBM very much with the view of having jobs in Taunton, which is great for them and the Somerset economy. “We monitor it but one of our considerations is providing jobs in our local economy.”

Transformed

Meanwhile, Cornwall leader David Whalley (Lib Dem) said of Southwest One: “I don’t start out from the premise that we are inclined to be joining it.”

Kevin Lavery, chief executive of Cornwall, which is shortly to be transformed into a county-wide unitary, said that the council was based in a relatively low-wage area and more likely to run services for other authorities than have them provided elsewhere.

“What we don’t want to be in the business of is exporting jobs outside of Cornwall, given the economics of the area,” he said.

 

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