Future Shape – Good News

Come along to a ‘Good News’ in house story!

Monday 20 April 12 – 2 pm – Training room 6, Building 2

The story shows you can improve public services without going to the private sector. One of the authors Hilary Wainwright will be here to sign copies of the book £7.99 which we will sell to members for a discounted rate. Hilary will be accompanied by Professor Dexter Whitfield who played a key role working with the Newcastle UNISON branch and the Council to secure a successful in house tender for the back office services.

You can read a short report on Newcastle online here


Dexter has just finished work with Bury UNISON in partnership with conservative controlled Bury (4 Star) Council to look at possible Options for their Support Services. Having looked at the Options; Bury Council has decided to look to an improved/efficient in house service to continue to deliver services.  

Hilary & Dexter will be available for questions in

Monday 20th April in Training Room 6 Building 2 between 12 – 2 pm

Future Shape – Do you work for the Council?

Do you work for the Council?

Barnet Future Shape Transact Group will be looking at all Council services. Each service will be looked to ascertain whether it is a *Core or Non Core Service. It doesn’t matter if you are a Statutory Service, all services will be examined.  

  • Why do we provide the service?
  • Can someone else provide the service?
  • Is there a market for providing the service?
  • Is there opportunity for a ‘Quick win?’
  • Is there a need for further investigation?

Each service will have to go through the 9 Future Shape Tests

·         Cost significantly less.

·         Take a different view of need, based on engaging with our population as citizens rather than customers of specific services.

·         Are strategic and integrated, ensuring that resources are targetted to achieve priority outcomes.

·         Facilitate greater self-help and service co-creation amongst members of our community.

·         Are based on a clear contract between the citizens and services.

·         Inspire behavioural change amongst our residents and businesses

·         Can be accessed on the basis of citizen life challenges.

·         Help citizens to achieve better outcomes in their lives

·         Are democratically accountable

This Group is tasked with looking across the whole council which is clearly a mammoth task.

The Group began the work on 24th March. It is due to finish 20th April

You can view the Agenda and minutes of all the Group meetings here


You will need your Login details.

We know that lots of our members do not have Login details or have forgotten them. We will try and update our website with the details so members can view the information without the need of a Login. We have asked for hard copies of this information to be provided to staff.

Members please note that this Group will be making recommendations to the Future Shape Cabinet Committee on 8 June 2009.

* We are waiting for a definition of what Core means.

Sheltered Housing – More Choice or Budget Saving?

Residential Options for Older People in Barnet with 24hr cover – a summary

At home with Life Line or Telecare

Lifeline is a pendant alarm. The alarm is worn round the neck. The wearer presses the pendant to raise the alarm. The control centre takes the call and can communicate with the wearer and/ or contact relatives, friends or the emergency services. For someone to have a lifeline they must be able to understand what an emergency is and they must be able to know they press the button in an emergency. They must also be able to physically able to activate the pendant.

For people who have difficulty using a Lifeline there is telecare alarms. The person must wear the equipment which may be an alarm attached to a belt or may be a pendant. The alarm is merely dependent on the wearer radically changing position from vertical to horizontal to be activated. The change in position could indicate the wearer has fallen. This alarm also connects to the control centre. Once the alarm has been raised a similar procedure follows as with the Lifeline.

People can have these systems and be in warden controlled or sheltered housing.

Care packages can also supplement these forms of support.

Warden Controlled.

The warden does not live on site and so is not accessible 24/7. In all other respects this form operates the same as sheltered housing. The resident should not expect the warden to carry out aspects of care, and certainly not routinely. Nonetheless the warden contributes to a very smooth support network for the resident e.g. helping the resident settle back in home following a stay in hospital. The warden has contact with each resident at least once/ day to make sure they are ok. Referrals are dealt with by Housing department (except where privately owned).

Care packages can also supplement this form of support.

Sheltered Housing

The warden is lives in the sheltered accommodation or is accessible 24/7. The warden can provide valuable information on the habits and background of residents which also contribute massively to OT and social work assessments – probably health-led assessments also. Again the warden is not expected to contribute to provision of individual care routinely but definitely contributes in many ways to the smooth support for a resident to remain in an independent setting. The warden has contact with each resident at least once/ day to make sure they are ok. Referrals are dealt with by Housing department (except where privately owned).

Care packages can also supplement these forms of support.

Extra Care Housing

This form of support is new. Residents have flats within the unit as with sheltered housing. As a minimum they have 24hr support available similar to that provided by wardens. However, there are care workers who can be used to provide care and personal care support day and night. The idea being to enable someone to remain in a home setting as long as possible. The need for care during the night does not place someone at risk of having to move to residential care in this setting. Referrals come through social services or are made direct to the scheme.

The care package would be assessed by a social worker but is provided within the extra care housing.

Residential Care

The resident would have a private room possibly with ensuite shower and toilet. This is 24hr care. All residents in this setting would be very dependent on care workers for most aspects of their daily living and be at risk at night. Increasingly the referrals to these units are for adults with dementia or high risk of falls. Referrals are through social services unless someone makes a private arrangement. Extra Care Housing is promoted as being a superior form to Residential Care which is why residential care will increasingly have the “heavier end” of the care spectrum.

Nursing Care

The resident here would have a private room possibly with ensuite shower and toilet. This is 24hr care. The staffing ratios are higher here than for residential homes and there are more nurses available throughout the day and night. Residents here have complex and intense care needs 24/7. An element of the care provided is nursing care e.g.: people needing 24hr oxygen and not being able to operate it independently; people requiring assistance of 2 to mobilise and/ or needing a hoist to get in or out of bed; people who are at high risk of developing pressure sores due to their dependence on others for moving at all.

End of jargon? –YES PLEASE!

End of jargon? –YES PLEASE!

This Press release from the Local Government Association is to be welcomed to those of us who sometimes feel that we need to have one of those United Nations translators when reading public sector reports.

To view the press release click on link here 

Join the G20 march – Put People First

On 28 March thousands will march through London as part of a global campaign to challenge the G20 ahead of their summit on 2 April.


Even before the banking collapse, the world suffered poverty, inequality and the threat of climate chaos. The world has followed a financial model that has created an economy fuelled by ever-increasing debt, both financial and environmental.

Our future depends on creating an economy based on fair distribution of wealth, decent jobs for all and a low carbon future.

There can be no going back to business as usual.

People from all over the country will join the march on March 28.

Be one of them. 

Listen to UNISON General Secretary on why members need to turn up and support the rally on Saturday 28 March.

click here http://www.unison.org.uk/video/video.asp?did=8381 

For more information on the march go to Put People First website http://www.putpeoplefirst.org.uk/


The ASSEMBLY point for the march is now confirmed. Barnet UNISON members should gather (look out for our banner) from 11am on Victoria Embankment by Temple tube station on March 28th. The postcode is WC2R 2 PP. This is a link to a google map.

The nearest tube is Temple, but Embankment, Blackfriars and Waterloo are short walks away.


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.




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?



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 







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 




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.

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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