Street Scene workers update restructures

in-house

Barnet UNISON submitted this report to General Functions Committee on 8 November 2017

Click link here to view 2017.11.08 GFCommitteeBarnet UNISON response. docx

John Burgess spoke against the cuts to Barnet Councillors at General Functions Committee 8 November 2017. To view his speech click here https://youtu.be/-aUnR6SBC7Y

As a result of the Council agreeing to go ahead with the three restructures in Street Scene, there is a need to ensure that our members are fully supported whatever the outcome.

It is important that members understand that they have the right to representation in their one to one meetings.

If you need support/advice please contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Or contact the Barnet UNISON reps on site at Oakleigh or Harrow Depots.

Teaching Assistants (TA) – Call to action by Barnet UNISON

Barnet UNISON has just sent out letters to every TA working in a community school.

The letter explains the Group Appeal process and asks all TAs to complete a short form about the work that they do.

It is critically important that TAs complete the form and send back in the business reply envelope provided.

The other day I was asked by a TA the following question.

What might they gain or lose

1) If they vote for the appeal?

2) If they vote against the appeal?

My response was swift and clear.

If TA’s don’t vote for YES for an appeal they miss out on a 6/7% pay increase.

The Budget yesterday has confirmed there is no chance of a break in the PUBLIC SECTOR PAY FREEZE.

Barnet UNISON has looked at the TA grades and believes there are grounds to Appeal.

We want to give TAs in Barnet a chance to get a pay rise.

Barnet UNISON Nursery Nurses won their Grading Appeal because they responded to our call for action, they provided the critical information that delivered a pay rise for Nursery Nurses.

Here is a quick reminder of what their UNISON reps had to say about their Group Grading Appeal.

“Barnet Nursery Nurses won their appeal! This would not have happened without the support and dedication of John Burgess and Unison. Thank you from us all.”

Beverley (UNISON Nursery Nurse rep).

“Barnet unison remained resolute in their commitment throughout this appeal. Showing the importance of working together to ensure ever member has a voice, this was paramount to secure this momenta’s positive conclusion for Barnet Nursery Nurses.”

Elaine Thompson Unison Nursery Nurse Rep.

“Unison has provided steadfast support to the nursery nurses since as far back as 2009. John Burgess in particular advised and guided the three nursery teams that went through the federation process, resulting in a much better staffing structure than had originally been offered. Throughout every occurrence Unison has kept their members informed and updated so much so that when Unified pay come over the horizon we all had every confidence that our best interests were at the heart of any negotiations they were involved in.  The confidence and determination/ tenacity shown by the Unison team was infectious and made us all the more determined to at least have our say. Knowing John Burgess had championed others and been successful gave us hope and spurred us on to do our homework, galvanise as workers and put our case to the powers that be. Happily we were successful and I’m sure that with Unison on your side any workers have a fighting chance. Good luck comrades!”

Ruth Kevin (UNISON rep)

If you have not had a letter please contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

PLEASE RETURN YOUR FORM TO THE BARNET UNISON OFFICE BY

TUESDAY 5 DECEMBER IN THE BUSINESS REPLY ENVELOPE PROVIDED

Barnet Council Level 2 Teaching Assistants Grading Appeal ballot begins

Barnet Council have informed Barnet Unison that the ballot letters for all Level 2 Teaching Assistants in Community Schools will handed out on Tuesday 7 November 2017.

It is extremely important that every Level 2 Teaching Assistant responds to the ballot and makes sure they are send back a YES VOTE.

Over 600 Teaching Assistants will receive ballot papers.

We need everyone to vote yes in order that Barnet UNISON can submit the appeal to the grade.

If you have not had your ballot letter by 10 November, please contact Barnet Council by email at unified.reward@barnet.gov.uk or post to The Unified Reward Team, London Borough of Barnet, North London Business park, Oakleigh Road South, London, N11 1NP.

Ballot closes 24 November 2017.

Update: Street Scene restructures 8 November 2017

Dear Street Scene Unison member

On Wednesday 8th November, 2017 7.00 pm the General Functions Committee will meet to discuss a number of restructures.

You can view the report submitted to councillors here.

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=174&MId=9284

For many staff this is a difficult time it is important that you speak with Unison in order we can offer advice and or assistance.

If you need any support and/or representation please contact the Barnet Unison office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

TAXI 4 Housing repair contract in Islington

Taxi for ALMOs?

Islington Council has called off its housing repairs contract with Kier, deciding against a three-year extension option, and brought the work back in house.

Kier had been providing repair services to the London Borough of Islington’s 30,000 homes for the past 14 year under a £16.5m a year contract.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, said:

“This is an important milestone for Islington’s council housing. At the same time as building a new generation of council housing we want to provide a high-quality service for our residents.

“Two years ago we brought housing management back in-house – and now our decision to bringing the repairs service in-house too shows how important it is for us to get it right.

“By running the repairs service directly, we can ensure resident satisfaction is a priority over profit. Over time, we want to maximise local employment and apprenticeships, alongside supporting the workforce and reducing dependence on subcontractors.”

Excerpt from Islington council report:

There are two main options for Executive to consider:

An in-house service with a quantified estimate of potential financial risks

An extended contract subject to conditions that would have to be negotiated with Kier with unquantifiable financial risks.

The report continues that:

“An in-house option offers the best protection against further deterioration in the market for providing responsive repairs services. In recent years many councils and other housing providers have been hit hard when major contractors go out of business. Islington itself had a narrow escape when Connaught went out of business shortly before it was due to take up a capital investment contract, and some of our new-build has been delayed by the collapse of Rok.”

Conclusion

‘The in-house option carries potential short-to-medium term cost disadvantage, but in the longer run could be to the Council’s advantage. It also carries the risk of the service declining during a difficult transition. A well organised and well managed in-house service would provide better value for money and could reduce the financial risk of volatility in the market.’

http://democracy.islington.gov.uk/Data/Executive/201307111930/Agenda/F1.%20Kier%20responsive%20repairs%20contract%20review%20final.pdf

 

 

Hackney Carriage (Taxi) for Hackney Homes ALMO

 

The contract with Hackney Homes came to an end on 31 March 2016 as the council’s cabinet voted not to renew it.

Chair of Hackney Homes Rupert Tyson, and Vice Chair Alice Burke, who have been involved in Hackney housing for a combined 60 years, were present at the meeting.

All 33,742 Hackney Homes tenants were consulted on the plans through a process run by independent research agency Ipsos MORI.

Hackney Homes was formed in 2006 to deliver improvements to the council’s housing stock through the Decent Homes programme. The original five-year contract was extended to 2014 and subsequently to 2016.

Cllr Philip Glanville, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Hackney Council has come a long way over the last decade and Hackney Homes has been a major part of its success story.’

“I’d like to thank Hackney Homes’ Board, and staff for all of their hard work and look forward to welcoming them into the Council.’

Rupert Tyson said: “Hackney Homes and Hackney Council agree that the time has come to return housing management to the Council. Hackney Homes has achieved what it was established to do and I’m proud of our achievements over the last nine years and would echo Cllr Glanville’s thanks to my colleagues on the Board and the staff of Hackney Homes for their hard work over the last 9 years.”

 

Taxi for Brent Council ALMO

Taxi for ALMOs?

 

As Austerity Policies continue their brutal assault on public services, Barnet UNISON has looked to see what is happening to the ALMO’s

Today is the first of a number updates on ALMO’s.

This post is about Brent Councils decision to bring their ALMO back in house here are some extracts from the Council reports.

Feel free to open the links and ready all of the reports yourself.

Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

 “The interests of tenants and leaseholders are my top priority and the results of the consultation show now is the right time to bring housing management back in-house. This decision will allow us to respond more swiftly to the Government’s housing policies, deliver savings and ensure our tenants and leaseholders receive nothing but the best service in the future. Our decision also follows a national trend of local authorities bringing their housing ALMOs back in-house. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board and everyone at BHP for their hard work over the past 14 years.”

Joanne Drew, Chair of BHP’s Board of Management, said:

 “BHP was set up to improve homes as part of the government’s Decent Homes Programme. We have always been committed to working with Brent Council and ensuring local residents are at the heart of the organisation. We will continue to work closely with the council, residents and staff over this transition period to provide modern, efficient and effective services for the benefit of all council tenants and leaseholders.”

Short Summary of the Review Report

Preferred Option

“The In-House option offers the best opportunity to make savings and provides the strongest levels of control. This option also puts the housing management service in a better position in relation to the Council’s wider plans to secure improved outcomes for residents. It will be necessary to look at how this option will address Member and resident engagement and there are various options that could be pursued. For example a Members and residents committee may overcome the loss of the ALMO Board under the In-House option. In conclusion, taking into account the challenging financial situation, and all other factors outlined above, it is recommended that the In-House option is chosen. This is the option which the Council believes will best serve residents in Brent but it wants their views on this proposal.”

https://www.brent.gov.uk/media/16406070/short-summary-of-review-of-housing-management-options-3.pdf

You can read all the reports click on this link

https://www.brent.gov.uk/housingreview

“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?

 

 

 

 

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