The Economic case for an in-house bid

From what we have seen so far the Councils Future Shape programme appears to be a a return to Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) albeit with a 21 Century makeover.

We have submitted a report to the Council called ‘Economic case for an in-house bid’

which you can view here

 

Joint Trade Unions call emergency meeting with Barnet Council over mass privatisation plans

Tonight the Joint Trade Unions are meeting with our Employers (councillors) because of the very real concern that the Future Shape programme appears to be embarking on the mass privatisation of all of the councils services.

Our full report can be found here

We are asking for the following:

a)        In-House Options and bids i.e. resources are made available to enable staff, trade unions and senior managers to be involved from the outset and understand the rules.

b)        The Council invites the Newcastle Chief Executive to send the Director responsible for developing an in-house bid alongside a tender bid from BT for back office services to come and address a meeting of the top 100 managers and to speak at a meeting of Council staff.

c)         A guarantee that TUPE will last for the length of contract.

d)        TUPE Plus is adopted by the Council.

e)        Our Pensions questions are answered before any decisions to outsource are made.

f)         Public Public Partnerships with other local authorities and public bodies are included in the Options Appraisals i.e. cross borough solutions to the funding crisis.

g)             One Barnet Option is included in Options Appraisal for Support Services Project i.e. we have seen no evidence that any of our Barnet Public Sector Partners are giving any commitment to join to form a Public Public Partnership model for Support Services delivery.

“Have Adults Social Services and the Council not learnt their lesson?”

Cabinet Resources Committee 17 June.

The following is a direct quote from the report

“Adult Social Services- Catalyst Deficit Claim.

A long running dispute exists between the Council and Catalyst concerning the provision of adult social services. The case went to arbitration in February 2010 with a ruling expected in the Summer of 2010. Substantial legal and other professional advice has been given to the Council to ensure it was able to present the best possible case.”

Further on in the report it reveals:

“£731k spend relating to the current costs of the Catalyst arbitration. Although Cabinet agreed to fund these costs from corporate litigation reserve, a decision was taken corporately as part of year end processes that these costs would be met directly by the Directorate from its own resources.”

This was one contract, a long contract 15 years. Back in 1998 Barnet UNISON urged the Council not to make a rushed decision. Senior officers pressurised Councillors into making a decision. We had a report commissioned By Professor Dexter Whitfield detailing the risks and recommending alternatives.

Future Shape is much much bigger. If we don’t start learning from mistakes then the consequences could be massive.

We are asking for the Future Shape Option Appraisal includes a fully resources in-house bid.

So what is there to hide? 

40 % Cuts Planned

Newspaper headlines are dominated by the story that Government Ministers are being asked to look at 40% cuts. As you read the article we are told that no one will really have to make this level of cuts.

Who do they think they are dealing with?” “Do they take the public for mugs?”

It is oldest and meanest trick in the book. You build up the scale of the cuts far beyond what you want so when you reduce the amount everyone breathes a sigh of relief!

There is a word for this sort of behaviour it is ‘bullying!”

Consultation on the Cuts

Incredible as it seems but not only have the Con-Dem Government tabled the Budget from Hell, they want public sector workers to help them!

To view the letter from Nick & Dave click here

(My letter must have got lost in the post!).

They have even set up a web site called Spending Challenge Web Site

http://spendingchallenge.hm-treasury.gov.uk/

You can email your ideas here.

Email: public.enquiries@hm-treasury.gov.uk

Email: camerond@parliament.uk

Email: cleggn@parliament.uk

How about sending some messages like

·        Deep and rapid cuts to public spending are irresponsible – they’ll make the deficit worse by weakening the economy and adding to unemployment. Cutting public sector jobs costs more in lost tax and extra benefits than it saves.

·        Raising VAT is regressive, putting the heaviest burden on the poorest. Cutting public services is even more unfair – research commissioned by UNISON shows it hits disadvantaged households six times harder than the richest.

·        The fairest way to reduce the deficit is to make the banks cover the costs of the crisis they caused, and tackle tax avoidance and evasion by big corporations and wealthy individuals – this could raise more than £50bn in annual revenue.

You want more suggestions click here.

What is there to hide?

Options Appraisal for the Future Shape Adult Social Care Provision.

Options

Strategic Fit for Transforming Social Care

Deliverability

Acceptability

VFM

Totals

Customer

Council

Staff

Transfer to Barnet Homes

5

5

4

4

3

4

25

LATC

4

4

3

4

3

3

21

Social Enterprise (start-up)

4

3

2

3

3

3

18

Remain In-House

2

3

4

2

3

1

19 15*

Tender/Trade Sale

4

2

2

3

1

2

14

Closure of Service

1

1

1

 

1

1

1

6

* Please note the table sent to the Trade Unions (see above) scored the in-house option 19 but as you can see the total is 15.

This Project has been shrouded in secrecy from the outset once the decision to exclude the Trade Unions was made. We have attempted to engage in the process and submitted 46 questions to the Adult Social Care Future Shape Project team.

To date we have not had a response.

To view our questions click here 

 

Barnet Council Support Services & Adult Social Care staff ‘shock World Cup exit’

For the last two years the Trade Unions have been seeking to ensure that the Future Shape programme is:

1.     The process is open and transparent

2.     There is genuine trade union and staff engagement in delivering an in-house option for the Options Appraisal.

On Wednesday 30 June I attended the first of two ‘Away Days’ being provided for staff delivering services such as Finance, Legal Services, Customers Services, Libraries, Audit, IS, Procurement, Property Services, HR, Pay Roll, Pensions, Revs & Bens. 

The purpose of the meeting was to launch the creation of the New Support Services Future Shape project and to explain the reasons behind it.  The major staffing revelation was that the Council has decided not to include the Option of an in-house bid in the Options Appraisal process. Staff were told that they would be looking to the services of one of the big top 100 FTSE companies e.g. IBM, SERCO, MOUCHEL, CAPITA

Whilst this should not have come as such a shock to staff, hearing officially that the Council would not be giving them the opportunity to compete clearly upset some staff.

More important is on what basis an in-house bid has been ruled out of the Options Appraisals. No data has been produced or provided to the Trade Unions which could demonstrate the rationale for this decision. Last year I sought a meeting with the previous Leader of the Council because of fears that in spite of the Future Shape jargon, what we was seeing was old style privatisation with a 21st century makeover!

The meeting was useful and he provided the following quote:

“Once we get to look at the ‘who’ it may be that we partner with other organisations to provide a service in a different way.  Equally, it may be that we continue to provide a service because we are the only organisation that can achieve sufficiently high quality at sufficiently low cost.  This is an interpretation the Council does what only the Council can do. Clearly we have many excellent services and we would not embark on unnecessary disruption, but we would be in favour of change if we were confident it would bring significant improvements in quality and value for money”.

which we published last year for the full article click here

The question which remains unanswered for the 700 staff is

“How can the Council be ‘confident’ they can bring in a private sector partner to deliver better value and service improvements if they do not put up an in-house option in the Option Appraisal process?”

This would be a massive contract for the private sector and we along with other Councils have had our fingers burnt by the private sector. If we really have learnt lessons then “why are we ‘shunning’ in-house bids?”

Options Appraisal or Group Stage explained

One of the regular criticisms of Future Shape has been the jargon used. To try and help members understand the process I am using the analogy of World Cup group stage qualification process.

Service Delivery Options

Points scored

In-house team

 

Management Buy Out (MBO)

 

Barnet Homes

 

Local Authority Trading Company (LATC)

 

Joint Venture

 

Private Sector sale

 

Closure of Service

 

 Please note: We have asked the Council, but have had no response as to how many Options go through to the next stage where a Full Business case will be produced (Followers of the real World Cup will know that only the top two go through to the next stage).

MEMBER ALERT: If you do not progress to the next stage you are out. If the in-house option is discarded at this stage staff will be facing the prospect of being transferred out of the Council.

To help understand the process and implications it is often best to see a live example.

Below is a table showing the scores of an

Options Appraisal for the Future Shape Adult Social Care Provision.

Options

Strategic Fit for Transforming Social Care

Deliverability

Acceptability

VFM

Totals

Customer

Council

Staff

Transfer to Barnet Homes

5

5

4

4

3

4

25

LATC

4

4

3

4

3

3

21

Social Enterprise (start-up)

4

3

2

3

3

3

18

Remain In-House

2

3

4

2

3

1

19 15*

Tender/Trade Sale

4

2

2

3

1

2

14

Closure of Service

1

1

1

 

1

1

1

6

* Please note the table sent to the Trade Unions (see above) scored the in-house option 19 but as you can see the total is 15.

The Trade Unions have registered a ‘failure  to agree’ over the Options Appraisal process to council officers and have requested a Corporate Joint Negotiation Consultation Committee with councillors in order we can formally discuss our concerns. The example above has been shrouded in secrecy from the outset once the decision to exclude the Trade Unions was made. We have attempted to engage in the process. We have submitted 46 questions to the Adult Social Care Future Shape Project team and to date we have not had a response.

STOP Mass privatisation of schools

The Council Trade Unions have responded to the news that up to 35 Barnet schools rated by Ofsted as ‘outstanding’ are being strongly “invited” to be fast tracked into becoming Academies without any consultation.

Underneath the political hype and spin the reality of what it means to become an academy is very different. Once again politicians are promoting ‘political dogma’ without thinking about the long term consequences.

  • There is no evidence of a public clamour for the creation of new academy schools. A recent public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos MORI found that 96% of parents did not want state-funded schools to be run as academies.

 

To read full press release click HERE

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