LOCAL GOVERNMENT PENSION SCHEME – INVESTMENTS IN PFI/PPP

Watch out watch out …….Pensions

The union has become very concerned that the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) has been approached by Partnership for Schools (PfS) to provide financing for its Building Schools for the Future PFI programme.

An unknown number of local authority pension funds have been approached as possible sources of capital to rebuild and renovate school buildings.

To view official newsletter click here

Full Council report….Life of Brian

“What did the Roman’s Council do for us?” 

I was minded of the scene from the Life Brian as councillors lined up to give their view on what Barnet Council does for Barnet residents. Barnet staff your ears should have been burning as councillor after councillor stepped to say what a fantastic job you do. The Leader stating we have the most efficient, low cost back office service (barring Bexley) in London 

It struck me that I hope the Future Shape report going to Cabinet reflects not only the efficiency and expertise of the current council workforce but their ability to respond to ever changing face of local government.  

The usual banter between the parties ensued as ever, I wonder when we will start filming these meetings. It seems a natural progression. Technology is moving at a hermetic pace, to try and engage residents the council needs to look at the ways it consults.  

The Leader Cllr Mike Freer opened up with the proposed Budget followed by an alternative budget from Labour Group Leader Cllr Alison Moore, followed by Lib-Dem Leader Cllr Jack Cohen.  

Minutes from the meeting will be online but here are a few comments  

Cllr Freer “Year on year starved of funds. 5th lowest grant in London.  £272 per head, Islington £800. Most efficient back office cost in London only Bexley is cheaper.”

Cllr Moore:“In a time of recession Council Tax increase is unacceptable…other boroughs are going for a council tax freeze. Fees and Charges above inflation. This Budget is going to have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable, elderly and disabled.” 

Cllr Cohen:“Spoke about the Icelandic Bank which he felt had not been sufficiently explained. He believed there was a real possibility the tax payer will have to pay. He mentioned the purchase of Plasma TV screen, lap tops which were now hidden away as example of waste.”

He then thanked Barnet Bloggers

Roger T Barnet Eye http://barneteye.blogspot.com/

Don’t call me Dave http://www.notthebarnettimes.co.uk/

Statler and Waldorf  http://www.barnetcouncil.net/ 

From the reaction of the councillors, these BLOGS were well known. 

What about the Public?

The public gallery was full of angry residents, they were here about two issues in the budget. The deletion of the sheltered housing service and the withdrawal of funding for the Stable Project for adults with Learning difficulties.  

As they heard their issues being discussed you could not help but feel their anger & frustration about the lack of engagement and understanding of their concerns. Unfortunately for those unfamiliar with the current bureaucratic rules governing public involvement in local democracy these meetings will often be the first and last they will want to go to. If government really wants to reflect the views of communities it needs to seriously look at resident access to local politicians.

The decision about the Future of the Welfare Rights Unit and the Sheltered Housing Schemes will be made at a future Cabinet meeting.

Stop Press – Barnet Elect a New Mayor

There were two nominations this evening

Brian Coleman (Con) & Linda McFadyen(Lab)

Brian Coleman was elected Mayor 

 

 

 

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.

Welfare Rights – Voluntary Sector speak out

The Future of the Welfare Rights Unit has been delayed. The statement from the Council as to what can be found here

http://www.barnet.gov.uk/index/council-democracy/consultations/welfare-rights-unit-budget-consultation.htm

To view the Equalities Impact Assessment online click here

http://www.barnet.gov.uk/equality-impact-assessment-welfare-rights-unit-feb09.pdf

The Council have published a report to say that other agencies will be able to provide the services when the Unit is deleted

http://www.barnet.gov.uk/comparison-welfare-related-service-feb09.pdf

This seems at odds with the content of a letter that was sent to UNISON from Forum for Advice and Information in Barnet (FAIB)

To view online click here

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 Council Nursery Nurses say ‘No to Term Time Pay ‘

‘Fair deal for nursery nurses campaign’  

This afternoon saw the launch of the ‘Fair deal for nursery nurses campaign’

Over the last five years schools support staff have been taking on increased roles and responsibilities as part of the governments workforce remodelling agreement.

This afternoon a joint UNISON & GMB meeting agreed unanimously to oppose the proposal to move nursery nurses to term time pay.

Our members were informed that renewed negotiations will take place on 4 March. UNISON has carried out an indicative ballot with an overwhelming vote to oppose term time pay. GMB reps explained that they would be balloting their members shortly.

Nursery nurses were clear and unequivocal that they were not prepared to be moved to term time pay.

Pay Comparisons

“Is Barnet Council the new Chelsea..oops Manchester City of Premier League of London Councils……..who next Kaka?”

Senior Officers in LB Barnet & Central / Regional Government 

Our UNISON office has been inundated by angry members reading this story in the local press

http://www.times-series.co.uk/news/4103757.Council_staff_could_earn_more_than_Obama___s_VP/ 

Our members have had to endure year year pay cuts as the cost of living continued to rise. We have requested details of the pay rise before reporting back to our members. However we thought our members would like to see our table of pay rates for some senior posts across local/regional/central government.

Barnet Chief Executive

£217,861

Prime Minister

£194,250 

Permanent Secretary

£139,740 – £273,250

Mayor of London

£143,491  

Chief Executive of the GLA

£186,544      

PCT Chief Executive

£101,524 – £144,271  

Barnet Executive Director     

£175,000

Cabinet Minister       

£141,866

Minister of State      

£104,050

Senior Civil Servant Director Gen

£135,241    

Deputy Mayor   

£127,411 

*Executive Director at GLA  Finance/Policy Director

£158,372  

PCT Executive Directors  

£76,143 – £108,203

Barnet Director up to

£175,000 

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

£94,228

Government Whip

£89,522

Senior Civil Servant  Director

£100,000

Senior Civil Servant

£84,068    

London Assembly Member

£52,756

Member of Parliament   

£63,291

PCT Directors

£60,914 – £86,563      

NB: Parliamentary Figures are in accordance with December 2008 figures. Senior Civil Service / PCT Figures are from a 2007 report. GLA figures are as listed on their website for 2008-09 and in accordance with questions asked at scrutiny committees.

 

Pay 2009/10. 10 good reasons why Barnet local government staff should have a pay rise

10 good reasons why Barnet local government staff should have a pay rise.

 

  1. Because we deserve it. (this should be enough of an argument alone)
  2. The economic situation is not of our making, we did not cause this crisis, so why should we have to pay for it.
  3. The economic situation is unstable some would say chaotic. So we need a pay rise which is not just above inflation, but has a sufficient buffer above inflation to protect our real incomes against the wild fluctuations that are coming our way.
  4. Our bills have gone up and are due to go up even more. FUEL Average household bill rose by £381 to £1,293 last year. FOOD Prices rose by 11% last year[MSN Money] COUNCIL TAX Bills could rise by 3.5% on average [Local Government Association]
  5. Government measures of inflation (CPI and RPI) systematically under-estimate real price inflation as experienced by working people. The highest price rises are for essentials such as food and utilities, and we spend much more of our income on these things than higher earners.
  6. The demands on our wages are not being ‘moderated’ because of the recession. Landlords are not saying “I’ll let you off your rent this month, what with the economic crisis”!
  7. A low pay rise would have real and distressing consequences for us. Local Government workers would/could face stress, home repossessions, debts, and will struggle to support ourselves and our families.
  8. If the government can afford billions of pounds to bail out the banks, then it can afford to pay public service workers such as ourselves a decent wage rise.
  9.  The Gordon Brown/ Government policy is to stimulate an economic revival. They want us to spend more. To do that, we need more money. Lower pay rises will work against this policy
  10. Self-sacrifice on our part will not save a single job in local government or any other industry.
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