For A Better, Fairer, Democratically Accountable Barnet.

 

 

 

Barnet UNISON has been involved with many campaigns involving the Community over the years. We do not see a contradiction between the provision of good services and good terms and conditions for the workers we represent. Our members often use the services our colleagues provide. Our key campaign has been the opposition of outsourcing which we warned would deliver inferior services to the Council, with a higher cost to residents and with less accountability for the money spent.

 

Unfortunately we appear to have been proven right. The following quote is from the Council’s own recent External Audit report:

 

“As at 31 March 2017, the Council has a prepayment balance of £44.7 million in respect of its Customer and Support Group (CSG) contract. This contract covers a number of front line and back office services including finance, ICT, HR, customer services, revenues and benefits, procurement, estates, and corporate programmes. As this is a significant prepayment, we challenged management with regard to its basis“.

 

Barnet UNISON has agreed policies we would like to see implemented by the next Council administration. We may alter or add to these policies and positions following discussions in the coming months.

 

Barnet UNISON (Local Government Branch) calls on those parties and candidates contesting the local Council election in May 2018 to support (and implement if elected) the following:

 

 

             AGENCY STAFF/CONSULTANTS

 

  • End the Council’s over reliance on agency staff and consultants, replacing these with Council employees.
  • Review Unified Reward and consider returning to GLPC.

 

 

CARE

 

  • Adopt UNISON ethical care charter.

(https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2013/11/On-line-Catalogue220142.pdf)

 

 

COLINDALE MOVE

 

  • Address and alleviate the problems caused by the forthcoming relocation of Barnet Council and Partner organisation staff to the new Colindale Office building.

 

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY

 

  • Bring all the Council’s Health & Safety responsibilities back in to in-house control and monitoring.
  • Review Health & Safety arrangements in the Borough.

 

 

HOUSING

 

  • TBG Flex employees to be employed on Local Government T&C’s, Pay with access to Local Government Pension Scheme.
  • The Barnet Group to be brought back in-house.
  • End short term 2 & 5 year tenancies and reintroduce secure life time tenancies for all tenants.
  •  End or  limit  Right to Buy and the  subletting of Right to Buy properties
  • Increase Council home building.
  • Widen the availability of social housing within the Borough.
  • Resource the monitoring of housing where necessary to ensure it is fit for habitation.

 

 

LIBRARIES

 

  • Restore the pre-April 2017 level of staffed opening hours, with sufficient Library workers (in numbers, qualifications and experience) and resources.
  • Review the use of lost Library space with a view to returning to Library use.
  • Bring the Partnership Libraries back in-house.
  • Work with all stakeholders in the Library Service to produce a strategy that will maintain and improve the quality and accessibility of Barnet Libraries.

 

 

OUTSOURCING

 

  • No more Council services to be outsourced.
  • Work towards bringing services already outsourced back in-house including NSL.
  • Review Capita and other contracts with the aim of bring services back in-house.
  • Ensure that while outsourcing contracts are running they are properly overseen and these services are provided to the contracted level without incurring further cost to the Council.

 

 

PAY

 

  • Support the Trade Union (UNISON, GMB, Unite) NJC PAY CLAIM 2018 – 2019
  • Ensure that Council, partner organisation and contractor employees are paid at least the London Living Wage.
  • End Performance Related Pay.

 

SCHOOLS

 

  • 52 week contracts for TAs and other support workers.
  • Oppose the establishment of academies.

 

 

STREET SCENE

 

  • Instigate a search within the Borough for a site (or sites?) for a depot (depots?) suitable for all Street Scene’s long-term needs?
  • Commit to the retention of Street Scene services in-house.

“Ey up Barnet what you doing about this debt?

FAT CAT PROFITS

In the context of ‘Austerity’ and the constant cuts it has brought to frontline services and staff, it is important that the employer is doing all that it can to ensure it doesn’t lose any income.

Recently the External Auditor had not signed off the Councils accounts due to a number of serious issues.

I attended the Extraordinary Audit Committee on Tuesday 19 September 2017 yo listen to some of the discussion.

Below is an extract from the External Auditors report http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=144&MId=9401

The use of bold and underline is mine.

 “As part of the review of aged debts, we noted that the Council had excluded two older debts from the calculation of the allowance for non-collection or for impairment as management was of the view that these were recoverable.

The first relates to The Barnet Group at £296,000 that is in excess of one year old. Management has stated that as The Barnet Group is a wholly owned subsidiary that this debt is secure.  However, we have not seen evidence of why this amount is considered to be a valid debtor.”

“The second relates to Comer Homes at £925,711 that is in excess of two years old. Management believe this is recoverable and relates to energy costs paid on the North London Business Park premises that should have been paid by Comer Homes. We have seen correspondence in 2015 suggesting that this will repaid at £50,000 per month but we have not seen any recovery to date. The case has been passed to HB Public Law.

Due to the aging of these debts and lack of recovery action to date, we are seeking a specific management representation to confirm that these amounts are recoverable.”

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s42287/Appendix%20A%20-%20Audit%20Completion%20Report.pdf

I am currently involved in a consultation in Street Services Cleansing services. Approximately 25% of posts are being deleted in order to make a £600K saving.

Imagine my disbelief and then anger that we can let the above debts go without a fight.

Furthermore I have since learnt from a post by Barnet Blogger Mr Reasonable “Capita have claimed a saving of £942,000 made up of actual annual energy savings of £111,071 plus £202,420 of “corrected overcharges”.”

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/gainshare-contract-clause-that-keeps-on.html

How does that work?

We are owed £923,711 from energy costs yet I read we are paying Capita a bonus for making savings on energy costs.

How does that work?

 

 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: West Sussex Council take vital service back off Capita

West Sussex have written to Jeremy Hunt seeking emergency powers to bring Children’s MASH Service back in house.

“The proposal is to bring the administrative function of this MASH service back ‘in house’ so that the entire service sits within Children’s Social Care. This will ensure that the MASH will be able to fulfil its statutory threshold decision making function on critical safeguarding matters within 24 hours, as is required in Working Together 2015.”

http://www2.westsussex.gov.uk/ds/edd/fr/fr09_17-18.pdf

How much are Barnet Council paying Capita?

The above list of payments by Barnet Council to the two Capita contracts has been produced by Barnet Blogger Mr Reasonable. In both contracts the Council appears to be paying more than they said they would have to pay when they first signed the contract.

The difference is quite shocking and when considered in the context of vital frontline services facing cuts and/or closure it is difficult to understand where the money is coming from to pay all this money.

If you want more detail here are some links to some of Mr Reasonable posts on #BarnetCouncil spend

Barnet Audit Fiasco Part 2 – Capita penalised £55,000 but disaster looms after 2020

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/barnet-audit-fiasco-part-2-capita.html

Barnet’s Payments to Capita – the external auditor challenges £44 million pre-payment

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/barnets-payments-to-capita-external.html

Barnet Council Agency Staff Spend – reducing but still very high

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/barnet-council-agency-staff-spend.html

Is Peterborough the new Luton – Barnet outsources its homeless

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/is-peterborough-new-luton-plight-of.html

Barnet Payments for June – Capita earn a fortune and a booze up on the Council

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/barnet-payments-for-june-capita-earn.html

 

A Night of Shame But Who’s to Blame – Last Night’s Audit Fiasco

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/a-night-of-shame-last-nights-audit.html

“Should we be worried about Barnet Councils contracts with Capita?”

A number of our members have privately raised concerned about the an increase of worrying reports about Capita, who appear to be experiencing some difficulties. 

Barnet Council chose to outsource a large number of Council In House services to Capita in 2012 and 2013.

Last week Capita began two restructures which are likely to lead to redundancies for many ex Barnet TUPED staff.

A simple Google search has revealed some worrying news about the health of the global giant Capita.

Capita drops as first half underlying revenue declines although profits rise, restructuring on track.

http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/184355/capita-drops-as-first-half-underlying-revenue-declines-although-profits-rise-restructuring-on-track-184355.html

 

EXTRA: Capita Shares Fall As Underperforming Divisions Weigh On Profit

http://www.iii.co.uk/alliance-news/1506003339606792800-3/extra-capita-shares-fall-as-underperforming-divisions-weigh-on-profit

 

Outsourcing firm Capita’s shares slump 10% amid falling profits and pensions dispute strike

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-4907008/Capita-s-shares-slip-10-amid-falling-profits-strike.html

How’s that ‘turnaround’ year going, Capita? …Sheesh, sorry I asked

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/09/21/capita_h1_results/

 

Capita stripped of key contract running MoD military estate early

https://www.ft.com/content/3eb508ec-9eb2-11e7-8cd4-932067fbf946

 

FTSE’s biggest loser: Capita staff vote to strike over pensions as the FTSE 250 firm is stripped of a Ministry of Defence contract

http://www.cityam.com/272475/ftses-biggest-loser-capita-staff-vote-strike-over-pensions

 

FCA fine looms for Capita over failed Connaught fund

https://www.ftadviser.com/Articles/2017/09/22/FTA-capita

 

Capita staff in Birmingham to strike for six days in pensions row

http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/capita-staff-birmingham-strike-six-13659665

 

What do you think? 

School Staff Grading Appeal imminent – “You are worth it “

This is an update for all Barnet Council school UNISON members

Before I start I want Barnet UNISON members to listen to the Prime Minister Theresa May where she states: “We have the fifth largest economy in the world.”

Hold on to what the Prime Minister has said.

Please don’t let others say that our members can’t be paid the proper rate for the job in a country which is the “fifth biggest economy in the world.”

Back to the grading appeals.

Barnet UNISON has for the last 12 months been supporting council workers with grading issues.

The last big group of workers to go to a Grading Appeal hearing are school support staff.

I want to go through the group appeals in order all of our members are aware and take part in helping deliver a positive result which will see an increase in pay.

# Please Note: School support staff are now all paid Term Time only. The Salary scales are calculated on a worker working 36 hour week and a standard 52 week contract.

Level 2 Teaching Assistant Appeal

The current salary range for a Level 2 Teaching Assistant is:

£19, 917 to £21,884

UNISON has registered an appeal which if successful would move the grade up to:

£21, 276 to £23,802

 

Level 3 Teaching Assistant Appeal

The current salary range for a Level 3 Teaching Assistant is:

£23,802 to £26,805

UNISON has registered an appeal which if successful would move the grade up to:

£26,805 to £30,324

 

Level 4 Teaching Assistant Appeal

The current salary range for a Level 4 Teaching Assistant is:

£26,805 to £30,324

UNISON has registered an appeal which if successful would move the grade up to:

£29,517 to £32,628 or £32,628 to £36, 373

 

After School Club Level 3

The current salary range for a Level 3 is:

£19,917 to 21,984

UNISON has registered an appeal which if successful would move the grade up to:

£21,276 to £23,802

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Sometime in September if you are in one of the above posts, you will receive a letter from Barnet Council.

The Council will ask a simple question.

“Do you support an Appeal to your grade?”

It is important that everyone replies YES and sends in the form to the Council.

Last term Nursery Nurses made sure we had a massive YES response.

If we get a YES vote the next stage will be the formal appeal hearing.

I will be conducting each appeal for Barnet UNISON members. However I will be accompanied by two UNISON members for each Appeal.

I will be contacting members to establish who will be attending with me.

Keep a look out for emails, and text messages from Barnet UNISON. It is important to us in Barnet UNISON that we help all of our members to get the right pay for the job they are in.

Any questions please contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Solidarity

John Burgess

Branch Secretary

Barnet UNISON

Update on Barnet UNISON Family Services Drop-Ins

In order to find a way to support our members working in Family Services Barnet UNISON is offering two lunchtime informal drop in opportunities.

Every Tuesday from 12.30 – 1.30 Helen Davies, Barnet UNISON Branch Chair, will be in the canteen in Building 3  in order to meet with any Family Services member wanting a chat and or some advice.

Every Thursday from 12.30 – 1.30 John Burgess, Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary, will be in the canteen in Building 3  in order to meet with any Family Services member wanting a chat and or some advice.

Beverley Berrick, Family Services UNISON rep, will also attend some of these Drop Ins.

To view flyer click Family Services Flyer V2

 

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