Future Shape – Why we chose Dexter

In 2008 the Audit Commissions published their report “For better, for worse” (their title not mine!) , providing a national analysis on Strategic Service delivery Partnerships SSP’s)

Yes, more jargon. SSPs are long-term public private partnerships (PPPs) through which contractors deliver a service or range of services for councils

There are clear drawbacks for councils when SSPs do not succeed.”

  • Private sector experience suggests that 60 to 70 per cent of strategic partnership arrangements between companies fail, and few meet expectations.
  • Three of the earliest councils to adopt SSPs have terminated their agreements before their term, incurring additional costs.
  • Even in continuing SSPs, purported benefits from economies of scale and transferred learning between sites have been slow to emerge.
  • Some SSPs have proved inflexible, hindering councils’ ability to respond to changing external circumstances. (Audit Commission)

Of the many SSP’s we found there was one example of an in house bid being tabled. The in house bid was in Newcastle City Council.

Dexter Whitfield worked with the UNISON branch and the Council to prepare the in house bid.

The private contractor that tendered a bid was BT.

The in house bid won.

That is why we want Dexter to crucial support on the Future Shape consultation.

To view the details on Newcastle click here


Barnet Homes – Dress code

I have for some time been in discussions with HR regarding the implementation of a Dress Code for all Barnet Homes employees. The intention is for all employees, not just those meeting our residents, to adopt a code of dress to be enforced by managers.

There have been more than one draft and I have failed to agree on any of them for reasons such as culture, personal choice, cost – in the present climate and the fact that we are presently going through desperate times when there isn’t even job security and redundancies are imminent.

Although we would all agree on cleanliness and having regard to health and safety I do not see the benefit in prohibiting jeans, t shirts and some ‘military style clothing’ all of which in this day and age are not necessarily unprofessional.

I have now agreed with HR that managers will be discussing this policy with their staff at team meetings

It is now for you all to provide your feedback in team meetings and let your voice be heard.


Anne Denison

UNISON Convenor for Barnet Homes

Calling All Female Members

UNISON Women’s Self Organised Group

UNISON Women’s Self Organised Group

Come along to our next meeting on 25 February 2009, 1– 2 pm


In the UNISON office, Building 4, NLBP


Dates for future meetings are-

1 April 2009

19 May 2009

7 July 2009

10 September 2009

20 October 2009

2 December 2009

13 January 2010

24 February 2010


For more information contact Maggi Myland or Tracey Lowe on 020 8359 2088

Future Shape update

What is going on in Phase Two?

On Friday 16 January you may have received an email from the Chief Executive asking staff to volunteer to become involved in shaping Barnet’s Future?

There are seven working groups

1. Future Shape – Barnet Strategy

2. Future Shape – Barnet Access

3. Future Shape – Barnet Assessment

4. Future Shape – Barnet Property

5. Future Shape – Barnet Support

6. Future Shape – Barnet Transact

7. Future Shape – The Vehicle

These groups relate to this model outlined in the 3 December Cabinet Committee paper

So what do the Trade Unions recommend?

We asked for staff/trade union forums in our first Briefing in September 2008.

So, yes we would want to staff to in their words “debate and help create the Barnet of tomorrow.”

However, it appears the Council do not want to talk to the trade unions.

On 17 December we were told the Council would no longer fund our consultant Dexter Whitfield. We wrote back on 18 December asking them to reconsider the decision to withdraw funding.

On 6 January 2009 we received an email saying they would be in touch in due course.

On Friday 16th January the Acting Chief Executive sent out an email to all staff about Future Shape.

To date we have heard nothing.

Considering the serious implications of Future Shape for Barnet Council staff and services the Joint Trade Unions have formally requested a special committee meeting with councillors.

Look out for further updates………

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