On Wednesday 12 December, 2018 I sat in three Capita staff meetings here in Barnet.
It was a joint meeting with Barnet Council and Capita following the decision the previous night to start insourcing services at the Policy and Resources Committee (P & R).
The P&R Committee agreed to look at insourcing services back into Barnet Council in four phases.
Phase 1 – Finance and Strategic HR
These services are due to transfer back in-house on 1 April 2019
Phase 2 – Highways and Regeneration
These services will be considered for insourcing between January and September 2019.
Phase 3 – Barnet-based customised services – Estates, Social Care Direct, Safety, Health and Wellbeing (SHaW), Strategic Planning, Procurement, Insight, Cemetery and Crematorium
These services will be considered for insourcing between January and September 2019.
Phase 4 – Revenues and Benefits, Customer Services, Information Services, Planning (Development Management) and Regulatory Services, transactional HR services (including pensions administration).
These services will be considered for insourcing in 2020.
The Council are consulting Barnet residents about both Capita contracts starting sometime next week and ending in February 2019. More details will be found on the Council web site.
Please note: Barnet UNISON branch meetings begin in January 2019
Wednesday 9th January Barnet House CR4
Thursday 10th January NLBP 4 Central
Tuesday 15th January Barnet House CR2
Wednesday 16th January NLBP 4 Willow
Wednesday 23rd January NLBP 2 G2
Tuesday 29th January Barnet House CR3
Wednesday 30th January NLBP 4 Central
Thursday 7th February Barnet House 1.1
“I don’t know if I have the strength to apply for jobs again. I love my job. I love working here. I’m good at doing what I do. I’d made plans around this being a secure job.”
These are sorts of things colleagues facing redundancy in Children’s Centres are saying, usually through a veil of tears.
Remember this photo?
It shows Coppetts Wood Childrens Centre workers on the picket line 2015 joining all members in the fight against outsourcing.
The last 3-4 weeks Barnet UNISON has seen one Children’s Centre worker after another in tears. They are being made redundant as Barnet Council cut its budget to school’s based Children’s Centres by £½ million. This has meant that Fairway, Coppetts Wood, Bell Lane and Barnfield Children’s Centres have around 1/3 sliced from their budget.
Many of these colleagues have been working for Barnet between 10-20 years offering valuable support to vulnerable families and their young children.
But they have done more than this. They have given solidarity to the branch and our members. Coppetts Wood most recently joined our protest about the fire alarms in Barnet House.
Children’s Centre Staff urgently need your solidarity and support – something they have so readily shared with us.
Please send the branch your thoughts for us to pass on to these workers and come to the Capita Enquiry.
We understand a number of our members have had issues with their pay this month.
We have contacted HR and will be insisting that all staff are paid their correct pay immediately.
It is really important that you contact your local rep to make sure you are paid correctly or you can ring the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email email@example.com
The following email was sent to all 63 Barnet Councillors 30 November 2018
Please find attached Barnet UNISON Briefing Number 3 which provides an insight into a number of decisions made by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council at the following Executive Board Committee meetings.
To aid transparency I am including the link to the relevant reports referred to in our Briefing.
- 15 January 2015 Executive Board decision https://democracy.blackburn.gov.uk/Data/Executive%20Board/201501151800/Agenda/Document%209.pdf
- 17 June 2015 Executive Board decision https://democracy.blackburn.gov.uk/Data/Executive%20Board/201506111800/Agenda/Document%208.pdf
- 11 October 2018 Executive Board decision https://democracy.blackburn.gov.uk/documents/s2862/EBD-Executive-Board-Decision-Capita%20Oct18.pdf
The Blackburn with Darwen story covers a 17 year relationship with Capita when local government was in a very different environment unlike today. Take a look at the which services start to come back and the reasons given for the final group of services to be brought back in-house.
0208 359 2088
To view flyer click on link below
Earlier this week the Leader of Barnet Council made the following public apology
As a result of the apology Barnet UNISON initiated an emergency ballot of the views of our Bin worker members.
Barnet Bin workers were asked this question:
“Do you think the new round restructure is a success?”
100% of Barnet UNISON Bin workers balloted agreed the new round changes have failed Barnet residents.
Here are some of their comments:
“Simply the rounds are too big, with the addition of flats and restricted access and the result in not finishing within allocated time”
“Too big, too much work and too many Lorries in one road”
“Residents confused, rounds too big to complete, management gave us new rounds without even consulting with us”
“No leadership, no management, no consultation, no hope”
“Too much work, not put out in order for new structure too work, utter chaos”
Before 4th November 2018 all rounds were completed with very few complaints from residents
Since 4th November 2018 a large number of rounds are not being completed within allocated time, leaving bins uncollected, 1000’s of complaints from residents.
On Wednesday 28 November 2018, the Environment Committee were informed that as a result of the Bin changes the Council were paying between £15-20k in overtime per week simply to try and catch up with missed bin collections.
Could this have been avoided?
Yes, Barnet UNISON had flagged up 49 questions provided by our Bin worker members on 5 October 2018, four weeks before the launch of the new service.
Barnet UNISON received no responses to these questions.
Barnet UNISON can only conclude that the Council were confident that our serious and fundamental questions (from the workforce) were already addressed in their proposed new Bin service.
For the last four weeks Barnet UNISON has listened to anecdotal feedback from our members and read the comments made by the public about #Bingate.
Something is fundamentally wrong with the Bin changes. The workforce are working long hours to try and catch up but it is simply not enough. There are only four weeks to Christmas a time where there is always an increase in refuse and recycling.
Yesterday, 22 November 2018 Capita formally commenced a 52 day consultation for the Capita Corporate Programmes team.
The proposal is cut the size of the workforce from 29 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) to 8 FTE which is a 72% cut in the workforce.
Please note: In 2013 when the Corporate Programmes Team transferred to Capita the team was 13.39 FTE.
The staff to work in Barnet on LBB projects and programmes and work across the following teams/areas:
- Technology & Change
- Customer Transformation Programme
Barnet Council have told Capita they have no requirement for a team of this size for 2019.
Barnet UNISON have raised concern that this proposal has clearly arisen as a result of closed door negotiations with Capita. The negotiations are as a result of the Councils decision to review both Capita contracts at a special Policy and Resources Committee on 19 July 2018 which:
“RESOLVED – That the Committee:
- Agrees to review the council’s partnership with Capita, and authorises the Chief Executive to develop a Full Business Case.
- Agrees that the proposed strategic aims underpinning the Full Business Case should be to:
- a) Deliver high quality services;
- b) Secure best value for money for Barnet’s residents; and
- c) Strengthen the council’s strategic control of services.
- Notes the three options identified and considered in more detail in paragraphs 2.4 to 2.7 and Tables 1 to 4.
- Agrees that option 2 – realigning the CSG and DRS contracts to bring back in house those services listed in Table 5 – is the proposed preferred option to be tested in the Full Business Case.
- Agrees that option 3 is fully tested and considered in the Full Business Case.
- Agrees that the Full Business Case should review the joint venture arrangement for the delivery of Development and Regulatory Services.
- Agrees that the Full Business Case should be considered by Policy & Resources Committee, for referral to Council for final decision.”
Barnet UNISON has registered concern that this may be the first of a series of redundancy meetings for Capita employees working in other services provided by Capita as a result of negotiations with Barnet Council. We are also concerned that this could be viewed as an attempt to circumvent any TUPE transfers of staff back to the Council.