FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: “Damming report into EasyCouncil outsourcing including a forward by John McDonnell”
You can read Barnet UNISON’s comprehensive report into outsourcing online here
Professor Dexter Whitfield’s report charts the origins of easyCouncil from its birth under the Leadership of Mike Freer MP right through to the present. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the dangers of outsourcing.
“The One Barnet programme has cost at least a staggering £23.66m to date, a substantial part of which was paid to management consultants engaged to legitimize Barnet Council’s outsourcing strategy.”
“Barnet Council uses agency staff on an industrial scale, spending nearly £20m in 2016-17 alone on a contract with Comensura Limited (Impellam Group plc).”
“It is equally likely that the cost of commissioning has soared because the Council miscalculated the costs of contract management and monitoring.”
“Council has drastically reduced staffing hours in Barnet Libraries by 70.4%”
“Critical OFSTED reviews in April and May 2017 concluded that Barnet’s services for children were ‘inadequate’ in all reported categories and graded ‘requires improvement’.”
“The Commissioner concluded that “…services have deteriorated significantly over the last five years” and identified flaws in the management of children’s services and the commissioning model.”
“The Disability and Learning Service was transferred to the LATC but projected budget surpluses in the first year turned into significant losses leading to a £1m bailout from the LATC.”
“Barnet Council’s LATC created TBG Flex Limited to exploit deregulation and the LATC and Barnet workforce by the imposition of inferior terms and conditions on new permanent and temporary staff.”
“Barnet is a vitally important lesson that every outsourcing proposal should be challenged from the start, if necessary through the options appraisal, business case and procurement process, whilst promoting alternative policies, workplace organising, building community support and taking selective industrial action.” Dexter Whitfield, Director, European Services Strategy Unit and Adjunct Associate Professor, Australian Industrial Transformation Institute, Flinders University, Adelaide.
“I want to salute the tenacity and resolve of Barnet UNISON who have fought a decade-long heroic struggle against outsourcing by the London Borough of Barnet. The ‘Future Shape’, ‘easyCouncil’ and ‘One Barnet’ programme is effectively dead as a result of Barnet UNISON. The last four services subjected to the alternative delivery model assessment all remained in-house. Under a Labour Government the default position for the delivery of public services will no longer be outsourcing. A Labour Government will place our trust in the public sector to deliver public services.” John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor, Labour Party.
“For anyone looking to organise a campaign against outsourcing, must and should read this report. It provides a valuable insight into the challenges our branch and our community have had to face over the past decade. The amount of money spent on consultants to deliver this political ideology is heart-breaking when considering cuts to frontline services that have been imposed. This was money that could and should have been spent on our social care services and our library services. This report provides a stark warning of the consequences of rejecting in-house services in favour of outsourcing. Everything I feared would happen has happened, the sooner a managed plan to bring services back in-house is put in place the better.” John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.
Dexter Whitfield on campaigning against outsourcing
Dexter Whitfield on outsourcing failures
Dexter Whitfield on true costs of Barnet easyCouncil
Read full report here Barnet UNISON Capita report 2018
Notes to Editors.
Contact details: John Burgess, Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Mr easyCouncil defends his local government model
2. Your Choice Barnet (YCB) “The real deal”
3. ‘It is not a transformation, it is a destruction’ – Barnet’s UNISON branch call to save library jobs
4. Barnet UNISON Library Review
5. Barnet UNISON report on the results of our Family Services Survey, 2018.
6. One Barnet explained animation
7. Ten steps to learn more about One Barnet
8. All links to Barnet UNISON reports on outsourcing over the past decade
Dear Barnet UNISON catering members,
This week Barnet UNISON registered a ‘failure to agree’ over the imposition by ISS of a number of their policies on our members working in the catering service.
It is important that you understand why Barnet UNISON is objecting to this proposal.
The current Barnet Council Disciplinary policy states:
“at all stages of the procedure the employee will have the right to be accompanied by a recognised trade union representative or a Barnet work colleague.”
However, in the ISS Disciplinary Policy it states that:
“Only at the formal disciplinary hearing stage of the procedure will the employee have the statutory right to be accompanied or represented by a:
- Trade union representative;
- Recognised staff group representative; or
- Work colleague.”
What does this mean for you?
It means that if you are asked to attend an investigation meeting, ISS would refuse to allow your Barnet UNISON rep to attend this meeting with you.
In our view, this is an attack on your right to trade union representation at all stages of the disciplinary procedure.
This ISS decision is our ‘line in the sand’ which is why we have registered a ‘failure to agree.’
This decision by ISS is one of the reasons why Barnet UNISON strongly opposes outsourcing, because we can see that workers in the private sector have inferior Terms and Conditions to those of the Council.
If you are asked to attend a disciplinary investigation, please contact the Barnet UNISON office immediately on 0208 359 2088 or email email@example.com
In the meantime we will keep you informed of any changes.
Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.
Capita in Private Eye April 2018
To view article click on link below
Birmingham City Council CIO Peter Bishop on bringing IT back in-house. Reposted by Barnet UNISON
The council is winding up a controversial contract with Capita.
Birmingham City Council CIO Peter Bishop was handed a big task when he joined the local authority body in June 2017.
Europe’s largest council was winding up a controversial contract with much-maligned outsourcing giant Capita, and Bishop was put in charge of bringing IT services back in-house.
“My focus has been dominated by the negotiations that are involved with that,” explains Bishop, who serves as the council’s Assistant Director for Information Technology and Digital Services as well as its CIO.
“It’s a £45 million per annum contract. You can’t walk away from that without carefully considering all your options, and we’re not walking away, we’re just setting a very clear stall that we are going to migrate and become the systems and services integrator that Capita are at the moment.
“It means that I’ve got to redesign everything that we do, because [the contract’s] the best part of 12-years-old and your internal capacity and capability needs to be completely rethought to cope with that alone, let alone deliver any of the other stuff.”
Capita is currently responsible for all the procurement, management and support for IT services.
Now the council will take control of all of that, with the aim of simplifying operations and saving money from a deal that’s been derided for its cost.
The changes will be implemented over the course of three years. Year one will focus on preparing and designing the new model, year two on delivering it, and year three on stabilising as the Capita contract finally comes to an end.
Bringing the work done by Capita back under the council’s control will make a major contribution to the £43 million in IT cost base savings that Bishop’s been asked to m
“We’re applying the principles of simplify, standardise and share across everything we do in the IT services,” says Bishop.
“Every set of services that we buy are going to be looked at in terms of can we test the market and different service delivery options, and can we take advantage of technology that comes with those new service models.”
The Capita transition programme is part of a strategy signed off in 2016 that aims to simplify the council’s IT setup and put technology and information at the centre of its operating model
Other components include using data to support council staff and drive better services for citizens, improving information risk management and increasing workforce agility, productivity and collaboration.
The strategy also aims to improve how staff use employee and financial information and implement new service models that harness the power of digital in health and social care.
“There’s a plethora of stuff that’s in there. Things like how we can tackle homelessness through better joining up of data across the council, which is a great use case for our information management strategy.”
Innovation at the council
The council will be rolling out a number of new digital services to its citizens, including a new digital platform for local residents and businesses called the Brum Account.
The Jadu Continuum Platform provides users with 24/7 access to council services such as waste management. They can track requests in real time on the new services as they’re gradually added to the platform.
“It potentially covers anything and everything the council does,” says Bishop. “We’re focusing on the high volume transactions around waste, revenues, housing, repairs, and they’re starting with the high volume stuff because that drives most of the customer contact.
“It really gets people to think about how they deliver customer journeys. It also helps me with one of my other significant programmes of change, which is re-engineering the IT service model.
“For a council of our size, that’s very extensive. We need to reduce the proliferation of assets and data and technology that supports the business, which we can’t afford. The Brum Account is a great example of how you can uncover areas of technology which aren’t really adding any value, like multiple systems that are doing the same thing.”
Bishop takes a best-of-breed of approach to his vendor strategy, so the council can find the right product, reduce any duplications, and move from the private cloud into a hybrid public-private cloud.
He’s also creating an enterprise architecture approach to the solutions the council needs so it can take a strategic advantage of its investments.
“The important bit for me is that innovation needs to drive more value at the back end. We’re doing a European Union funded project around keeping people independent for longer by providing them with wearable devices tracking how much exercise they’re doing and we’re just using a local provider for that.
“If we could integrate that into our adult social care model to effectively prescribe a wearable Fitbit-type device to keep you energised for longer, then that’s the kind of thing we will work on.”
Birmingham’s digital future
Bishop joined the Birmingham City Council in June 2017, after two years as director of commercial and change at Worcestershire County Council.
He’s now swapped a two-tier conservative shire that’s politically stable with a limited political remit for a unitary body that is responsible for all the local government needs of more than one million people.
The city has its challenges, but it’s developing into a major tech hub, with a large and affordable talent pool, local tech networks including Silicon Canal and Innovation Birmingham, good transport links, and 18 universities within an hour’s drive of the city.
It will also be the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which Bishop will use to build digital services and infrastructure that will have a long-term legacy.
“We want more than just a great games,” he says. “We want something that adds value back to the communities that are here. That’s why we’re thinking about how Openreach can put fibre to the premise, how we can deliver 5G in those key corridor areas that support games but don’t then become a permanent arrangement, and extending public Wi-Fi.”
His more immediate objectives include building a team that can deliver his digital strategy, implement some of the big procurement work to support the transition from Capita.
Bishop believes that he’s come to the UK’s second biggest city at just the right time, and that technology will help it have a bright future.
“Birmingham’s got great potential,” he says. “I think it might have lost its way for a bit, but it’s really getting it back together, and part of my role is to really drive that to help all my colleagues across the council and the citizens of Birmingham to get all the value they expect out of the money they give us.”
Have you had your Pension Health check?
Making sure your Pension is being looked after properly by #Capita is something our branch takes very seriously.
Your Pension is one of the most important financial decisions you are likely to make so it is important that when you need it, the Pension is accurate.
If you are a Barnet UNISON member and want your own specific Pension Health check all you need to do is contact the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the last year Barnet UNISON have been very concerned about Fire Safety in Barnet Libraries.
This arose because the Council were slow in providing Fires Risk Assessments (FRAs) for Libraries and in complying with the actions resulting from these assessments.
During 2017 Library buildings were altered as part of the Library Program. This included internal structural changes and the installation of technology to permit unstaffed opening hours. These changes meant that the building’s Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) needed reviewing and replacing.
In addition a new Library, Finchley Church End was opened in September 2017 which also required a Fire Risk Assessment
UNISON began asked the Council for these Fire Risk Assessment prior to library staff returning to each site and before the Libraries opened to the public.
However the Council only produced these FRA weeks and months after library staff and the public were admitted to the Libraries.
1. North Finchley Library reopened to the public on the 12th June 2017
The FRA issued on the 24th August 2017
2. Golders Green Library reopened to the public on the 3rd July 2017 The FRA issued on 10th August 20.17
3. Osidge Library reopened to the public on the 26th June 2017
The FRA issued on the 16th August 2017
The FRAs when they were produced identified a number of actions for the Council to carry out. The majority of these were described as a
- “…..a potential contravention of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, or a high risk to Health & Safety from fire”
The deadline for complying with most of these actions was three months from the issue of the FRA.
A few of the issues are listed below:
- Replacing Fire Doors at some with doors with the required level of fire Resistance
- Fire Refuge Area communication system not working at a number of sites
- The Emergency Lighting untested at a number of sites
- No record of the five yearly structural inspection of the external fire escapes at a number of libraries
- Incomplete Fire Safety signage missing at a number of sites
- Smoke seals needed for doors at a number of libraries
- Insufficient numbers of fire extinguisher at one site
- Fire extinguisher incorrectly mounted at a number of sites
- Fire door not closing correctly at one library
- Basement area at one library requiring upgrading to required level of fire resistance
- Width of staff exit at one site below recommendations
- Confirmation needed that there is fire separation in the roof void between the library and the commercial use area at one site
Barnet UNISON have been inspecting Libraries to see if the FRA actions have been carried out. In most cases these have not been completed. UNISON have raised this at a number of escalating meetings to the highest level and in our inspection reports.
But no real evidence was presented to Barnet UNISON by the Council that most of the issues had been resolved. Barnet UNISON informed the Council on a number of the occasions that if this continued we would be compelled to contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to report our concerns.
Despite this the Council failed to meaningfully respond and with regret Barnet UNISON reported our concerns to the Health and Safety Executive.
The Council have since then provided UNISON with a plan of works to act upon the FRAs but while this is welcome. These action should have been completed months ago.
The Council inaction has in UNISON view being largely caused by various Council/Capita management teams’ failure to take responsibility to have the Fire Risk Assessment in place in good time and to respond in sufficient time to resolve the problems identified in these assessments.
Barnet UNISON do not believe these failures have been due to library staff on site, who have reported these problems according to Council procedures and to their Trade Union , and who have themselves been put at risk by the Council.
Barnet UNISON will continue in our campaign to make Barnet Libraries safe for our members, all Library staff and the public.
To this end we call on the Council to:
- Ensure that libraries and other Council buildings have up to date FRAs in place before staff and the public are admitted
- Act speedily and effectively to comply with Fire Risk Assessments
- Review the management of Fire Safety arrangements and monitoring within the Council
- Work with UNISON and other concerned parties in addressing the risks and hazards in identified in Fire Risk Assessments.
Please note: The following services are provided by #Capita:
- Health and Safety
- Project Management
Jeremy Corbyn on #BarnetCouncil, #Capita and losing control.
It is never dull here in Barnet. In the House of Commons yesterday (21 March 2018), Jeremy Corbyn during Prime Minister Question Time, took the opportunity to comment on Barnet Council and Capita and the recent loss of control of the Council as the result of the deselection of 4 Tory Councillors.
Its amazing how he finds the time to keep up to date with what is going on in Barnet Council.