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

 

Red Nose Day – Prostate Cancer

I am raising money for Comic Relief on Red Nose Day. I am also trying to raise awareness about Prostate Cancer. I have managed to make contact with a colleague from the PCT and she will be joining me in the Atrium in North London Business Park on Friday 13th?

http://beardsarecomingback.blogspot.com/2009/03/red-nose-one-week-away.html

http://beardsarecomingback.blogspot.com/2009/03/famous-and-some-not-so-famous-beards.html  

If you would like to make a donation or learn about Prostate Cancer email me at john.burgess@barnetunison.org.uk

Some facts about Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer has overtaken lung cancer to become the most common cancer in men. 

Nearly 35,000 men are diagnosed every year in the UK. 

This increasing incidence is largely due to a higher number of cases being diagnosed, (through the greater use of PSA tests), and the influence of an ageing population. 

Around 10,000 men die from prostate cancer every year in the UK. This works out as over one man every hour. 

The majority of men with prostate cancer are aged over 60 years. Although this cancer can also occur in younger individuals, it is very rare under the age of 50 

For more details go to the Prostate Cancer Charity website 

http://www.prostate-cancer.org.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

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

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