Legal Services update………6 July

UNISON Members will know that Legal Service should have been transferred to Harrow Council on Monday 2 July. However there has been a number of serious developments which has resulted in a delay to the transfer. The cause of the delay has been documented before. 

On Thursday 5 July 2012 I attended a special Joint Negotiation Consultation Committee to address the following concerns raised by UNISON in the tripartite meetings

UNISON Submission to JNCC 5 July 2012

UNISON wishes to put on the record their dissatisfaction with the TUPE consultation with regards the transfer of legal Services to the London borough of Harrow. Considering at the outset of this TUPE consultation UNISON had strongly urged lessons be learnt from a recent TUPE transfer with the Parking Service. It is disappointing to report that lessons have not been learnt.

Due Diligence

It has been clear from the little information which has been shared with the trade unions that Barnet staff are at risk of redundancy as a result of the TUPE transfer. Both UNISON branches have made repeated requested for a copy of the Financial Due diligence which has taken place.

UNISON recognises the risk that Legal Services may not be able to deliver a viable business case due to lack of financial information. UNISON notes this risk is reported in the business case submitted to Cabinet Resources Committee on 4 April 2012. In the same report the Council quite rightly had to provide evidence that they had mitigated this risk and does so in section 4.2

“Due diligence has been carried out to understand the costs of the future service, alongside considerations of overheads, set up costs, and pension cost”

UNISON is asking this JNCC to provide a copy of the Due diligence.

Inter Authority Agreement

UNISON has been informed that the above agreement will be shared with the staff and trade unions before it is signed. UNISON is concerned that this document may contain information which will have a material impact on our members terms & conditions. UNISON is seeking confirmation that UNISON and our members will be given sufficient time to read and consult on the information contained therein.

UNISON is asking for period of time to be provided to the Trade Unions in order for meaningful consultation of the Inter Authority Agreement to take place.


The Council responded by saying that there was no Due diligence report and that the IAA will be circulated to staff and the Trade Unions, but no date.


What next?

The latest delays are now due to ongoing discussions over the content of the Inter Authority Agreement (IAA) which is a legal document between the London Borough of Harrow and London Borough of Barnet. UNISON and staff have been given an assurance that they will see this agreement before it is signed. It is fair to report that staff have mixed feelings about the transfer. Some members just want to get out of Barnet and after what has happened I can fully understand that sentiment. Others are concerned about what happens after transfer as it has already been stated that there are going to be redundancies. Unfortunately both councils are blaming each other about whether sufficient information was transferred to Harrow in order for Harrow to provide meaningful consultation about redundancy proposals with the trade unions.

It is both surprising and disappointing to have to report that for some reason Harrow Council are having a problem agreeing to the re-location protocol imposed by Barnet Council on any future TUPE transfers.

This is the fourth TUPE transfer and the process is getting worse not better, hardly inspiring news for our members in the much bigger outsourcing projects.