UNISON respond to One Barnet redundancies in Barnet Homes

Introduction

Barnet UNISON is committed to supporting our members working in Housing Needs and Resources who deliver a high profile services to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. It is important to us that our members that they are able to carry out their work in a safe and healthy work environment. It is the view of UNISON that this restructure presents a number of concerns some of which could have an impact on the health and well being of our members as well as the overall efficiency of the service.

To view full report click here

“Word fail me!”- Impact of One Barnet outsourcing

On Friday I was supposed to doing a million other tasks but as is the case in the UNISON office something always bigger and more crazy turns up and today it did!

Friday 27 April was the last Friday Parking workers will be working for Barnet Council. On Tuesday they are due to be handed over to their new employer NSL and for some staff a sub contractor called RR Donnelley.

It is no secret that staff would prefer to be working for the Council, but sadly the Council ignored the views of staff and UNISON and outsourced the service. It is also no secret that most of the staff currently working in the back office will be made redundant. On Tuesday staff have to report to the NSL Office in Solar House in Finchley where they will be handed ‘at risk of redundancy’ letters. Again this is not new. What has been truly devastating for our members is the recent personal data protection breaches. Late yesterday afternoon members reported that copies of letters were being handed out to staff. The letters were supposed to be confirmation of the personal data being transferred to the new contractor. Instead member noticed they had been handed inaccurate information and in some cases personal information about other members of staff. If that wasn’t enough, this morning I was greeted by angry staff reporting that letters had been posted to staff with other people’s personal data.

UNISON has demanded an investigation into these serious breaches and I have been informed an investigation is taking place. In the interim complaints are going to be submitted to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). Our members are clearly upset and distressed about what has happened after providing years of loyal and hard working service to the Council.

In the interim the branch has done the following

We have contacted the councils Data Protection officer and we have been notified that an investigation has commenced. We have also requested the following information

  • Can you let me know what advice and training been provided to the Parking contract monitoring staff to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act (DPA).
  • What requirements have been communicated to the main contractor and any subsequent sub contractor to ensure such compliance?
  • What processes are in place to ensure DPA compliance at the client side by the main contractor and subsequent sub contractor?
  • Can you provide me with details of what percentage of staff currently working on the Parking Services outsourcing contract have received DPA training?
  • In view of the fact there has been a previous serious data protection breach within Parking Service within the last three months, please provide me a copy of the investigation report which will include any recommendations

I am sure all UNISON members will be shocked to hear this news. It would be nice if all UNISON members could send messages of support to the Parking workers to contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

One Barnet Programme Redundancies

UNISON has consistently claimed that the One Barnet programme was simply outsourcing the cuts and redundancies to the Private Sector.

The first wave of outsourcing has begun and we are collating the impact on our members

Proposed

·         24 Revs & Bens *

·         20+ Parking *

·         14 Housing *

Actual

Unknown as consultation has not finished.

* = Consultation process ongoing

Confused? We are …..One Barnet Projects and Financial Evaluation process and Bonds…..

The Parking project has raised a serious concern about the transparency of the procurement process specifically in relation to financial evaluation procedure. UNISON had hoped that they would receive an explanation as to how the Council use this evaluation process. To date this has not been provided. There is a fundamental issue here about the purpose of the Evaluation process. In the absence of a response to our concerns the evaluation process is appears to be meaningless. As a long as an organisation provides a Bond it doesn’t matter what state their finances are in. We will be reporting more on this matter in due course.

UNISON – Evaluate the One Barnet bidders 14 March 2012

Barnet Council staff have had a visit from EC Harris & Capita Symonds, both of whom were shortlisted through to the next round for the £275 million Development & Regulatory Services (DRS).

Both bidders delivered a presentation to staff and will now be going in confidential discussions with the Council.

In the meantime there have been smaller scale One Barnet outsourcing taking place across the Council. Our branch is currently supporting members who are facing the daunting prospect of being handed a ‘at risk of redundancy’ letters in the first week of their TUPE transfer. In pre-consultation discussions UNISON has learnt that some Council jobs being TUPED to the contractor are  immediately going to be handed over to another subcontractor, all before the contract has even started!

What is really upsetting staff is that senior managers have known about this, months ago!

Any way UNISON members working across DRS services are going to meet up for lunch on Wednesday 14 March to evaluate the presentations delivered by EC Harris and Capita Symonds.

Key message to the Bidders from members – ‘Sign up to TUPE Plus’

TUPE Plus can be viewed here

Well done – One Barnet UNISON members!

Over the last few weeks I have attended a number of TUPE meetings with contractors (Barnet Homes and NSL) and tow briefing sessions with EC Harris and Capita Symonds who are bidding for the DRS contract.

A common theme is emerging from these discussions, TUPE. In every meeting I have attended the contractors have been at pains to point out that they will honour TUPE not just for 12 months but for the life of the contract, something which was a key issue in TUPE plus.

Barnet Council rejected TUPE Plus and offered TUPE Commitments instead. However the TUPE commitments are rapidly proving to be, in the words of a UNISON member facing a TUPE transfer ‘not worth the paper there are written on’ a view which was overwhelming supported at the UNISON AGM last week.

We will be asking all of the Bidders to back up their statements and sign up to TUPE PLUS and have put up the details on our web site here

One Barnet – Deputy leader forced to apologise for false promises

A SENIOR councillor has apologised after it was revealed that council workers who are outsourced to private firms could be made redundant almost immediately.

Staff from the Barnet Council’s housing department could be handed at risk of redundancy notices the moment their contracts are transferred to arms-length management organisation Barnet Homes, as part of the council’s controversial One Barnet outsourcing programme – despite the insistence in February from deputy leader and cabinet member for policy and performance Daniel Thomas that their jobs would be safe for at least a year.

Branch secretary for Unison John Burgess, told The Press that in meetings with Barnet Homes he had learned that an unspecified number of the 76 front-line and back-room staff could be issued with compulsory redundancy notices as soon as they move to the ALMO on April 2. He added that existing Barnet Homes staff were also facing redundancy as a result of the transfer.

The transfer of housing services to Barnet Homes is one of the first in a raft of council services due to be outsourced during the One Barnet programme, which the council claims will deliver better services for less money.

On February 9 Mr Thomas was quoted in The Press criticising staff striking over the plans, and denied claims that jobs were at risk.

He originally said: “Any staff who move as part of the restructure will remain in local government pension scheme, keep the same level of pay and have a job guaranteed for 12 months at the very least from their move.”

Mr Burgess said that many staff no longer felt they could trust the council’s promises on One Barnet.

“People are very uneasy that the council is making all these commitments that apparently mean nothing,” he said.

“A lot will be said before you are outsourced and then the moment before you’re outsourced it will change.”

Read the rest of the report here

Project X – delivered on One Barnet

Project X was one of the action to be completed on the last day of One Barnet strike action on Thursday 9 February.

Letters were sent to 6 Big private sector companies

The letters were signed by staff currently working in services which are down to be outsourced early 2013.

This is what was in the letter

Dear Chief Executive

We are employees for the London Borough of Barnet providing services which your company is interested in taking over. We are currently in dispute with our employer, London Borough of Barnet, as we wish to remain working for the authority and to be based in Barnet.

We want to take this opportunity on the fourth day of strike action to pass on this message that staff want to remain employees of Barnet Council. This is not a reflection of the way we view your business. We hope that you will take our position into consideration in your ongoing discussions with Barnet Council.

Yours sincerely,

John Burgess

Branch Secretary

Barnet UNISON

Proof of delivery to

Serco,

BT,

Capita,

FM Conway,

EC Harris,

HCL Axon (consortium)

*** UPDATE since we delivered the letters, the Council annouced yesterday that BT & Capita were selected to go through to the next round and Serco and HCL Axon (consortium) were unsuccessful.

 

 

 

 

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