Breaking News: Urgent: Mental Health Social Work Crisis increases to 66%

pictures of 4 social workers

 

“66% of Mental Health social workers in post since 1 January 2023 will have left Barnet Council within the space of last 12 months”.

Day 76 day since UNISON issued Barnet Council with official notice of strike action for Mental Health social workers working across three acute Mental Health social work teams.

To date there has been no approach from Barnet Council to try and reach a resolution despite UNISON proposing several possible solutions.

Today, Barnet UNISON was informed that another one of our strikers had handed in their notice. This means that in the space of 11 months of 2023 16 social workers will have left the Mental Health Teams involved in this dispute.

What has alarmed our members has been the ‘macho approach’ to this dispute. Instead of seeking to find a way to resolve the escalating social work crisis management have taken a strategic approach which amounts to ‘burying their heads in the sand’ with the hope that it will all go away. The following statement was reported in Community Care Magazine 31 October 2023:

“In a statement to Community Care, Barnet’s cabinet member for adult social care, Paul Edwards, said that 30 of the 31 posts were already filled, by 26 permanent staff and four locums.

The above statement implies that there are 31 social work posts across the 3 Mental Health Social Work Teams. This is incorrect there are in fact only 21 social work posts across the three social work teams which means that with the 14 staff already gone that represented 66% of the social workers in employment on 1 January 2023 had left the above teams before UNISON issued the strike notice on 1 September.

Another two more social workers have handed in their notice, meaning that 66% of the social workers in post since 1 January 2023.

The question UNISON has for Barnet Council is this:

“How many more social workers need to hand in their notice before you come to the negotiating table?”

The only people who lose are Mental Health service users living in the London Borough of Barnet where there is a 15-month waiting list.

The clock is ticking.

End.

Join Brighton & Hove & Barnet UNISON social worker picket lines ONLINE Tues 7 Nov 12- 1pm

This is an invitation from Barnet and Brighton & Hove UNISON inviting supporters to attend our Online Solidarity Social Worker picket lines on

Tuesday 7 November 12- 1pm 

Here is the link for the meeting 👇👇👇

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87914968590?pwd=dDV1NFd5VkJZRUxwQmZYeG5GWkRmdz09

Meeting ID: 879 1496 8590

We will have live feed from the picket lines in Brighton and Barnet.

We are in the worst cost of living crisis in 76 years and our members have had enough.

End.

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking News: Barnet UNISON members HGV drivers Recruitment & Retention ballot result.

Dear Barnet UNISON member,

Firstly , thank you for completing this ballot. It is important that your employer understands how important this payment is for you.

Please see below the result of our internal ballot.

What happens next?

Barnet UNISON has already had a brief meeting last week with the Director to advise of our internal ballot.

We agreed to pass on the results of the ballot to senior management and will look to begin negotiations towards the end of October.

End.

 

 

Breaking News: UNISON issues notice of strike action across Barnet Council Mental Health social work teams.

Earlier this week UNISON formally notified Barnet Council of the dates of strike action for our Barnet UNISON Mental Health Social Workers who voted 100% for strike action.

The strike timetable is as follows:

 

Week One: Tuesday 26 September

 

Week Two: Tuesday 3 October, Wednesday 4 October

 

Week Three: Tuesday 10 October, Wednesday 11 October, Thursday 12 October

 

The strike ballot is in relation to the chronic staffing issues across frontline mental health social work teams in Barnet Council.

“Adult mental health social workers have the same qualifications, same skills and the same retention problems as children’s workers. The only difference is the value that Barnet is choosing to place on its workers and the value it places on providing mental health services that are staffed to meet the needs of Barnet’s residents.” Barnet UNISON Mental Health social worker.

“Our members are showing the same commitment to the profession they love as Junior Doctors to theirs in taking strike action. Drastic action is needed to keep Mental Health services safe and viable for them and service users. The service needs staff with experience. Currently no one is sticking around because the levels of stress and pay are simply not worth it. Our members are absolutely doing the right thing.” Helen Davies, Branch Chair, Barnet UNISON.

 

“I want to pay tribute to our brave Barnet UNISON members who have decided ‘Enough is Enough!’ We are in the worst Cost of Living Crisis in 76 years, the current pay for social workers doesn’t reflect the level of training and knowledge needed to be able to put up with the escalating levels of stress in a workplace which has been starved of resources due to 13 years of Tory Austerity (the first 5 years under a Coalition Government). When staff are asked ‘Have you considered leaving your current role within London Borough of Barnet in the last few months’ and 100% of staff reply YES, then Barnet Council needs to listen and submit a proposal that shows our members the respect they deserve.” John Burgess, Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON.

End.

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

Breaking News: 100% vote by Mental Health Social Workers for strike action

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/09/04/breaking-news-100-vote-by-mental-health-social-workers-for-strike-action/

Breaking News: Barnet Council Mental Health social workers to be balloted for strike action.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/06/13/breaking-news-barnet-council-mental-health-social-workers-to-be-balloted-for-strike-action/

UNISON calls for urgent action over chronic shortages of frontline Mental Health social workers.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/03/22/unison-calls-for-urgent-action-over-chronic-shortages-of-frontline-mental-health-social-workers/

Breaking News: 100% vote by Mental Health Social Workers for strike action

North London Business Park, New Southgate.
Unison members go on strike over pay and conditions at Barnet Council.

On Friday 1 September 2023, Barnet UNISON notified Barnet Council Chief Executive that Mental Health Social Workers voted 100% for strike action with a 78.95% turnout.

The strike ballot is in relation to the chronic staffing issues across frontline mental health social work teams in Barnet Council.

Barnet Council has had a long and proud history of Mental Health Social Work pioneering the crisis intervention model in the 1970’s long before Care in the Community legislation.

Barnet Mental Health Social work teams were sought after workplaces full of experienced social workers, but sadly there has been a long drawn-out neglect towards mental health social work which has led to this current crisis. The demise of Mental Health Social Work Teams can be traced back to Barnet Council’s obsession with the “One Barnet mass outsourcing approach” to service delivery. The focus was on commissioning rather than delivering.

The final nail in the coffin for Mental Health Social Work Teams was in 2016 when Barnet Tories agreed the senior management proposal to delete social work posts and replace them with non social work qualified roles. Barnet UNISON in our report: “Unsafe & Unsustainable” UNISON response to Mental Health Restructure 2016 https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2016-10-12-UNISON-response.pdf” warned the Council of the consequences of pursuing this ideological change. However, as often, when we submit reports we were ignored.

“This result confirms the strength of feeling amongst our members that the offer submitted to staff is unacceptable. Family social workers are, as a minimum receiving 15% with other social workers receiving 20% or 25%. Staff feel undervalued, insulted, and angry. They are working at the coal face of Mental Health services. A service that has been grossly underfunded by the Tories for 13 years. The levels of stress in the workplace are off the scale. Social workers are voting with their feet. During the period of the strike ballot we lost another social worker who chose to leave for a less stressful job in a university and more money. If the Council doesn’t act now to this crisis, then more staff are likely to leave and that will deepen the crisis within the workplace and impact on the services to service users.” John Burgess Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.

End.

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

1. Breaking News: Barnet Council Mental Health social workers to be balloted for strike action.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/06/13/breaking-news-barnet-council-mental-health-social-workers-to-be-balloted-for-strike-action/

2. UNISON calls for urgent action over chronic shortages of frontline Mental Health social workers.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/03/22/unison-calls-for-urgent-action-over-chronic-shortages-of-frontline-mental-health-social-workers/

 

UNISON strike across Barnet Mental Health Services looms closer

On Monday 31 2023 July Barnet UNISON Mental Health social workers strike ballot began.

The following Mental Health Services Teams to be balloted for strike action.

  1. Mental Health Team – North
  2. Mental Health Team – South
  3. Approved Mental Health Practitioners Service.

The ballot is in relation to the chronic staffing issues across these services.

Barnet UNISON proposed that the Council enter into urgent negotiations over the implementation of the Council’s Recruitment and Retention Policy (RRP) for Mental Health Services as a short-term solution to try to hold on to existing staff whilst developing a more comprehensive plan to make Barnet Mental Health social work service one in which staff want to stay.

The RRP has been used in Family Services social work for the last 6 six years and has recently increased the rate up to 25% in recognition of the serious RR issues in some parts of Family Services.

It has also been used to recruit and retain HGV drivers.

Three weeks ago, Barnet Council made an offer of £1000 (2.5%) one off payment to the following staff:

  • Social worker
  • Occupational therapist
  • Lead practitioner
  • Team manager (social work)
  • Team manager (occupational therapy)

The proposed duration of the payments is initially for 2 years after which would be under review to assess if case for extension after this.

Barnet UNISON has started a separate consultation with our members over this offer to establish if they wish to accept or reject this offer.

In the meantime we consulted with our Mental Health Social Workers who quickly rejected the offer.

Barnet UNISON has notified Barnet Council that our Mental Health social workers have rejected the offer. We have now formally submitted our claim which we believe will resolve the dispute. We are awaiting a response.

In the meantime, the strike ballot will run to 1 September 2023.

End.

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

1. Breaking News: Barnet Council Mental Health social workers to be balloted for strike action.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/06/13/breaking-news-barnet-council-mental-health-social-workers-to-be-balloted-for-strike-action/

 

2. UNISON calls for urgent action over chronic shortages of frontline Mental Health social workers.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/03/22/unison-calls-for-urgent-action-over-chronic-shortages-of-frontline-mental-health-social-workers/

UNISON calls for urgent action over chronic shortages of frontline Mental Health social workers.

North London Business Park, New Southgate. 08/07/15 Anne-Marie Sanderson.

Earlier this month Barnet UNISON met with senior managers in Adult Social Care to try to secure an agreement as to how to deal with the chronic and dangerous shortage of frontline Mental Health social workers across the two Mental Health social work teams.

Barnet UNISON presented evidence of unsafe staffing levels across the two teams where, in both teams, over 50% of the workforce are newly qualified and almost 40% are agency workers, most of whom have barely 2 years’ experience of working in Barnet. The situation has been brewing over the last 9 months and has reached a point where staff are demanding the Council must act to both try to retain the existing staff and recruit and retain new and experienced staff.

Barnet UNISON has been asking for the implementation of the Councils Recruitment and Retention Policy (RRP) as a short term solution to try to hold on to existing staff whilst developing a more comprehensive plan to make Barnet Mental Health social work service one in which staff want to stay. The RRP has been used in Family Services social work for the last 6 six years and has recently increased the rate up to 25% in recognition of the serious RR issues in some parts of Family Services.

Unfortunately, the response from senior management has been disappointing and, whilst an agreement to meet again soon was made, it appears they are underestimating the scale of the problem and the impact it is having on the morale of the workforce.

On 16 March 2023, Barnet UNISON made a formal request for a JNCC meeting at which we will table our trades dispute over RRP. Barnet UNISON has stated we are open to negotiation, but time is running out. The impact on morale and the health and wellbeing of our members working in Mental Health Services is paramount.

“I really don’t know what they are looking at when they look at the staffing levels for the two frontline Mental Health Social work teams. Our local reps explained concisely the levels of stress and anxiety being felt by the workforce and the inevitable consequences if the Council don’t act now. At the time of our meeting two senior social workers had already handed in their notice, yet it did not feel that management understood the seriousness of this news for the remaining staff. If the Council don’t work with us, I can see another exodus of staff. In the meeting I informed the management that we carried out an indicative ballot whereby 100% voted for strike action if the Council did not agree to RRP. Its nearly two weeks since we last met and I have had no approaches from the Council to meet.” (John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON)

End.

1 3 4 5 6