Budget response for 14 February Cabinet

Recommendations

1. The Council undertakes as a matter of urgency a review of all payments to staff not employed directly by the Council.  Furthermore we recommend that the Council refer to the HMRC Guidelines in particular the advice to be found here that explains that “It’s your responsibility to correctly determine the employment status of your workers – that is, whether they’re employed by you or self-employed. This depends on the terms and conditions of your working relationship with each worker. It’s important to get your workers’ employment status right because it affects the way tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) are calculated for them. And it determines whether or not you have to operate PAYE (Pay As You Earn) on their earnings.”

Read full details here

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/paye/employees/start-leave/status.htm

2. Merge the Director’s posts for Adults & Children’s Service

3. Delete the Deputy Director of Children’s Service post.

4. Merge the above Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive Directorates Posts; and reconfigure Assistant Director posts to release savings.

5. Reconfigure PHR Directorate by reducing the number of AD posts.

6. Review the salaries for Directors and Assistant Directors with a view to restricting them to a ceiling of no more than £100,000 p.a. (the salary of a social worker is around £33,000 p.a.).

7. Delete Enforcement and Operations manager post.

8. Implement the savings suggested by UNISON and use the money to save frontline posts, such as (no particular order) social worker posts, Sheltered Wardens, Youth workers, the Barnet Garden Project or Children’s Centres workers or training and development posts.

9. Without any dialogue on any of our recommendations outlined above, UNISON is opposed to all job cuts and service reductions. 

To view report click here

30 January massive success

What the papers say?

Hendon Times stories and pictures

“Hundreds of residents and activists march through Finchley in protests at planned cuts”

HUNDREDS of angry protesters have taken to the streets of Finchley in a mass rally against planned cuts to local and national services.

Around 600 people joined a protest march organised by Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) from Finchley Central Tube station to the artsdepot, which faces losing its grant form Barnet Council.

Read full article click here

“Leading TUC member and Tariq Ali address crowds at arts depot in North Finchley”

IMPASSIONED speeches from a leading Trade Unionist and left-wing thinker Tariq Ali have received a rapturous welcome at a rally against planned cuts in Barnet.

Hundreds of people have packed into the auditorium at artsdepot, North Finchley, to hear music from 60s favourites The Foundations and local bands, as well as the speakers.

Today’s events have been organised by the Barnet Alliance for Public Services to raise awareness for organisations and groups facing funding cuts.

Frances O’Grady, deputy secretary general of the Trades Union Council (TUC) described Barnet as the “test bed for privatisation” .

Read full article click here

“Barnet Voice leader tells rally cuts will make service provision ‘dog eat dog’”

Robert Johnson, of Barnet Voice, made the comments while speaking to a rally of people upset with plans to cut public sector services in Barnet at the artsdepot this afternoon.

He told the assembly his group, a grass-roots mental health organisation, faced a 33 per cent drop in funding and an “uncertain future” helping people in the borough.

Read article click here

How easy is EasYCouncil?

This morning I woke up to find my car snowed in at my Dad’s place. Earlier this year my Dad had been stuck at home unable to get out for over a week. He missed an urgent hospital appointment because the Council could not clear the back roads. He rang several times for help but these roads are not a priority.

My Dad belongs to the generation that went through the war and the hardship it brought afterwards. A generation that despite the massive debt was still able to deliver the greatest legacy ever left to working class families i.e. the NHS, Council Housing, Free Education to name a few.

My Dad proudly served in the Royal Navy during the Korean War and Suez. He has worked all his life and does’t expect much. But as he says ‘I paid my taxes!’ and gritting roads is something he quite rightly expects the Council to ensure happens.

If my Dad lived in Barnet and he rang the Council requesting someone to grit the roads, he would be told to ‘get a shovel and do it yourself!’

Thing is my Dad would do what we did today and get a shovel, collect some grit from the grit bins and clear the road himself. Luckily I was there to help and as I look outside others in the street have benefited from this community action.

So, does this mean EasyCouncil works? Does this mean that valuable council resources can be better targeted elsewhere?

In my opinion it doesn’t because, whilst in this case we cleared some snow, there are many residents with no one to help them or have the resources to do so.

If I heard correctly the Cabinet member for Environment at a recent Cabinet meeting said Barnet do not want residents taking grit from the roadside grit bins!

So my Dad would probably find himself in conflict with Barnet Council….what is the saying like father like son!

There are politicians and senior officers who want to shrink the size of the Council and leave residents to fend for themselves. The key word they seem to fail to grasp is Public. Yes, Public Services are for the Public you are elected and or paid to serve. It is at time like this that the Public expect Public Services to be ready to deliver to those in most need.

None of this is rocket science, we spend too much money and time listening to Consultants most of whom have never run a business or a public service.

I wonder how many Consultants would be successful if Councils started saying they would only pay so much up front with the rest paid once the promised savings have been delivered.

I think we all know the answer to that one!

Job well done!

818 redundancy notices handed out

On Friday 3 December the Trade Unions were informed that 818 protective redundancy notices were issued.

“What does this mean?”

It means that everyone who receives a letter is at risk of redundancy however it does not mean that everyone receiving a letter will be made redundant.

E.g. In a team of 10 the Budget proposal may say that 2 posts need to be cut. This means all 10 staff are at risk but 2 staff will be made redundant.

“How do they select who can go?”

The Council will be selecting staff for redundancy using the Managing Change Policy. This is a new Policy which was passed by councillors without the agreement of the Trade Unions. You should be able to view the Policy on the Council intranet.

PLEASE NOTE:

If you are a UNISON member and have received a protective redundancy letter please contact the UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk and we will arrange for a rep to make contact with you.

“What happens next?”

Consultation begins as from 3 December. Over the next few weeks new structures /job descriptions will be circulated to staff and trade unions. It is important that all members take part in the process.

In the week commencing 3 January a number of 1:1 meetings will be taking place for staff at risk. If you require UNISON representation please contact the UNISON office ASAP.

“Can I volunteer to leave?”

You can volunteer but the decision on whether your request is accepted rests with the Council.

Local Resident – Mr Reasonable spots massive error

The following is content from a local Barnet Blooger who goes under the name of Mr Reasonable.

I think it is apt to publish his Blog at the same time the Council is expecting residents to believe the last claims coming out of the OneWhichBarnet Council,.

Here goes Post Number One

Barnet Council very kindly put up on their website a list of supplier payments over £500. Mr Reasonable spent a great deal of time going through those figures and some appeared very strange indeed. I posted some of my analysis following my one to one with Cllr Thomas and had a reply back from one of those suppliers Calco Services who stated that no they had not received £1.3 million they had only received £54k. Concerned that there may be a fraud being attempted Mr Reasonable contacted Barnet Council. This afternoon I have received a note saying the figures were wrong and they have now published a new supplier list. Going through the top 104 invoices by value (all £100,000 or more) I find that 32 payment details have been changed. These amount to £11.1million of changes. Frankly I have no confidence in the figures and I defy anyone to make a sound contribution on where budget cut should fall if we are not clear what is being spent. The odd error maybe but so many and of such scale and they would have gone completely unnoticed except for Mr Reasonable’s intervention. What a shocker!”

Post Number Two

“In between trying to earn a living I have carried out a comparison between the two sets of supplier details. It would appear that approximately 3,120 of the 13,563 entries have been changed in the amended supplier payments list. So the original list that was published wasn’t just a bit wrong it was overwhelmingly wrong. Now being a reasonable chap I know people do make mistakes but what I want to know is why did nobody check this before it was first published and is the April to June list also wrong. Is this indicative of an underlying lack of quality control. When the council discuss their budget cuts at the budget meeting in December I sincerely hope someone will have checked the numbers then. “

Housing 21 – A TUPE Nightmare

A number of former Council Homecare workers with Housing 21 are in the process of being TUPE’d from Housing 21 to one of four private sector home care agencies for a one year contract only. In 2011 they are due to be TUPE’d again for a third time when Barnet Council reduces the number of provider agencies. 

Our members, some of whom have up to 20 years service to residents of Barnet, face an uncertain employment future through no fault of their own.

As a result of the reduction in size of the contract, 6 office staff including managers were made redundant.

This is more evidence of the detrimental impact of the ideological war that is being waged against public sector workers, resulting in continuing deterioration of their terms and conditions.

Remember remember the 2 November!!!!

We have already had a week of the reporting in the news about massive cuts to public services post the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).

The impact of the CSR is going to impact on all Barnet staff directly and indirectly. If the current budget proposals are implemented there are going to be serious cuts to social care services. Children’s Services and in particular Youth & Connexions services will be devastated.

Future savings through the mass privatisation of council services are also included in the Budget proposals although no evidence of how these figures were reached,

It is important for all UNISON members to come along to the lobby on

Tuesday 2nd November

Hendon Town hall

5.45- 6.45

If you can leaflet your street with flyers advertising the Lobby email contatcus@barnetunison.org.uk or ring 0208 359 2088.

We are asking everyone who us coming to bring a pack or two of Sparklers it is close to Bonfire Night.

We had a successful lobby last month and a colleague (Kumudu Dias made a short video which you can view here ).

Wrap up well, it is likely to be cold and wet but we will have plenty of things in place to keep you all warm and in good spirits

Privatisation of Public Services Award 2010…and the winners are?

1. Consultants
 http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-management-consultancy-scam-2057127.html?action=Popup
 and here
http://committeepapers.barnet.gov.uk/democracy/reports/reportdetail.asp?reportid=9396
 
2. Private sector
“Poor and inadequate” management by the Department for Transport (DfT) of the failed Tube maintenance firm Metronet cost taxpayers up to £410m, MPs said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8544491.stm
Catalyst Housing wins……
http://www.hangbitching.com/2010/08/barnet-council-loses-6m/

3. Bankers 

Bless they deserve it …don’t they????
http://www.financemarkets.co.uk/2010/10/05/city-bankers-to-receive-7bn-bonuses-this-year/

Blackadder Consultancy advises on Future Shape Programme

Baldrick, thanks for bringing easyCouncil in particular ‘The Development & Public Health Services Future Shape Project‘ to my attention.

I have read the Audit report. I have seen the articles in the Guardian and the local newspapers here and here 

It is clear this is the biggest stitch up in the history of stitch ups and I know a stitch up when I see one….yes, I think this could be an even bigger stitch up than when Mrs Miggins won the pie making championship in 1569 defeating the previous nine time winner Sweeney Todd!

I am reminded of my old friend General Melchett before he went doolally became a member of the House of Lords. His philosophy when facing difficult decisions, which I sense has influenced this report was:

“If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.”

So endeth my first consultation,…….money back if not satisfied…not a chance!.

Last night we had some great speakers all very different.

Shirley Franklin – Inspirational.

Shirley told the story of the Save the Whittington Hospital Coalition. Against the odds they began a campaign in the community which grew and grew. 17,000 signatures on a petition to save the A&E. Now that is a challenge.

But signing a petition is not what helped win. By taking the petition into the community they had to speak to residents, so when they needed the support of residents for the march. The residents were already ready and willing to support. As she said residents can’t help if they don’t know what is going on!

John Lister – Powerful

I have heard John speak on the NHS before and he has lost none of his fire and enthusiasm for the battle to defend the NHS. John spoke about the dangers of the White Paper which could see the end of the NHS by 2013 if communities don’t rise up to oppose these attacks. He exposed the waste of public money, the lack of accountability in the White Paper proposals.

Nick Grant – Fightback

Nick got straight to the point that everyone understands. Public Sector workers are under attack, we have to stand up to defend ourselves. Trade Unions need to build alliances with staff and residents. It is not just staff who will face the pain of these attacks, it is everyone using public services. The Academies is a classic example of what this government is trying to do. Academies are seeking to break up state education and despite claims to the contrary, this policy will see the return of the ‘have and have nots!”

Ken Loach – A vision!

Ken reminded the meeting about how the country collectively responded after the Second World War. The country was bankrupt with debts far higher than we face now. Back then we owned Gas, Water, Electricity, Coal, Steel, Transport (Railway, Buses). Yet in spite of the financial crisis, the government created the 8th Wonder of the World otherwise known as the NHS. What an achievement. What vision.

Ken made it clear this was defining point in our history. The Government were embarking on a clear strategy to demolish public services and it is our duty to respond.

Their vision for public services is not our vision.

Our vision is of the community coming together with the Trade Unions to protect public services. Our vision is one where we the community ‘are in it together.’

What next?

First task of the alliance planning meeting next week is to organise a public march across the borough.

If you want to help out, the meeting is being held here

 

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