Barnet Parking Service in-house option rejected in consultant’s report.

“It is a well-accepted industry fact that without careful management, the CEO workforce in any Borough, whether in-house or outsourced, will not always be as productive as desired with a corresponding impact on the issuing of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).” Oaklawn Consulting Limited report to Barnet Council, Environment Committee, 11 January, 2018).

This is the outrageous statement made by the latest in a long line of outsourcing consultancy companies that have earned literally millions of Barnet tax-payers’ money over the last decade as a result of the Council’s ideological obsession with outsourcing services.

Barnet UNISON campaigned vociferously to oppose the outsourcing of the Parking Service. We argued that a well-run in-house service was more than able to deliver a quality service and it had done previously until the agenda changed and outsourcing became the only game in town. Good operational managers were not appreciated and the Council became reliant on interim consultants who presided over the demise of in- house services.

The Parking Service, once a well-run service, suffered as a result of a series of poor managers and became a soft target for the outsourcing ideologues in Barnet.

However, the Parking Service in its final year, still believed that it could turn itself around and I was informed back then that they managed almost 165k PCNs (Penalty Charge Notices) which is quite incredible considering the last three months of that period morale was at rock bottom after they learnt the hard work was for nothing.

This completely demolishes the comment made by the consultant and it is an insult to local authority managers who demonstrated they knew how to run Parking Services.

Barnet UNISON has had to trawl through hundreds of pro-outsourcing reports over the last decade all trotting out the same mantra. We had hoped that the obsession with outsourcing was wavering but this report demonstrates that is not the case.

NSL took over the Parking Service in May 2012, yet there has been no evidence provided that they have been able to secure the same level of PCNs in the last five years.

Waste of money

In light of the cuts to funding it seems incomprehensible that the Council should commission a report on the merits of an in-house bid when senior officers have already begun the procurement process.

What was the purpose of the consultant’s report?

If the report was commissioned for genuine reasons then surely that means the procurement could have been undermined if it recommended a return of the Parking service in-house?

If that is the case then why begin procurement?

Why waste money on procurement?

If you want to know what is going to be discussed you can view the reports on Parking Service here



UPDATE: Barnet Council Gritting Service

First things first, the Gritting service is provided directly by Barnet Council.

It has not been outsourced.

However there have been changes to the Gritting service since Re (Capita) were given a contract that included the Highways Services.

If you go to Barnet Council Winter maintenance web page you will see the contact details for Re, view here

The implications of trying to run services with multiple partners, each of whom will have their own agendas, was probably not discussed thoroughly by those councillors who rubber stamped the outsourcing of key environmental services to Capita.

I know it wasn’t discussed because I attended every single council committee meeting for years, desperate to see some semblance of scrutiny. What I witnessed, was no scrutiny of claims in favour of outsourcing made by senior council officers, long since gone from the Council.

No accountability.

Back to the Gritting service.

The Gritting service prior to privatisation made their own decision as to when they went out to grit roads, now they have to be instructed by Re (Capita).

It is really important to note that fact.

What happened on Sunday 10 December 2017?

I am writing this post in defence of our members who carry out this service.

There has been a great deal of anger from Barnet residents about the lack of gritting that led to the chaos on the streets of Barnet.

I just want to make it clear if my members in the Gritting service had been asked to go out, they would have gone out.

The question that must be asked is why were they were not asked.

I have asked and I am still waiting…….

Harrow depot

Many residents are blissfully unaware that Barnet Council sold Mill Hill depot (in the exact centre of the borough) without securing a suitable location for a new depot. This has resulted in services being scatted over a number fo sites. In the case of the Gritting service, it was moved to Harrow. This means they have to drive from Harrow and drive into Barnet to begin the routes, then drive back to Harrow to pick up more grit.

The workforce can’t believe councillors could make such a decision and neither can Barnet UNISON.

BREAKING NEWS: Barnet UNISON motion: More money for our members

This branch notes that in 2016 we had 2570 members at the year end.

This branch notes that in 2016 UNISON received total subscriptions of £365,691.

This branch notes that in 2016 of the £365,691 received by UNISON head office we received £95,147.

This represents 26% of the total income provided by our members.

In 2017 our branch carried out a consultation on branch funding.

92.86% of members voted for a change to our current funding arrangement.

Our branch notes that our national union recorded surpluses of approximately £10million and £3million in the 2015 and 2016 accounts respectively, and holds reserves of over £200million.

Our branch has been fighting Barnet Councils ideological obsession with outsourcing for over a decade.

Our branch represents members working for 189 employers (as per WARMS on 24th November 2017).

Our branch receives no resources to represent a significant number of our members working in the private and voluntary sector.

Our branch believes it is wrong to take members’ money if our branch is not able to provide basic support and representation.

Our branch notes that National Pay bargaining has continued to fail our members.

Our branch notes that it is simply unacceptable to expect our members to wait and hope for a change in government in order to end the public sector pay freeze.

We want our branch to be able to use all of our resources for the many not the few.

The fact remains that the overwhelming bulk of this work is done in our branch.

It is our view that the current funding formula for our branch is out of date and does not effectively support our members who are paying their subscriptions.

Our branch proposes

  1. That branches receive all of our members’ subscriptions, without any deductions, into their respective UNISON branch bank accounts.
  2. UNISON branches will commit to purchasing support services from UNISON Regional, UNISON National or a third party to demonstrate value for money to our members.
  3. For this motion to be presented at the Regional Council AGM 2018 and if it is successfully voted on at the AGM for it to be considered as a regional motion at National Delegate Conference (NDC).

4. For this motion to be presented at Barnet UNISON’s AGM for consideration and if successfully voted on, for it to be a branch motion going through to NDC.

Capita Re: What is EG Works Manager?

Dear Barnet UNISON Capita Re members

We have had a growing number of worrying reports about EG Works Manager.

We understand it is a new programme designed to monitor everything that you do.

It sounds very much like what was known back in the mists of time as a “Time and Motion” survey.

A ‘Time and Motion’ survey woul


d involve an employees following a worker around the workplace all day, recording everything, and I mean everything, including when they went to the toilet.

Barnet Unison understand that staff are going on training in order they are able to use it as early as December 2017.

A question for Barnet UNISON members working for Re

“What do you think about EG Works Manager?”


If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Barnet UNISON office in confidence.

URGENT: Level 2 Teaching Assistants Pay Ballot. VOTE YES

Barnet Council has issued Pay Ballot letters to all level two Teaching Assistants and the deadline to send back to the council by 24 November 2017.

It is important that every single level 2 Teaching Assistant responds back with a YES vote.

Below are Teaching Assistants who all vote YES for the grading appeal.

What will happen if we win the grading appeal?

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

£19, 917 to £21,884

If the Grading Appeal is successful ALL level 2 Teaching Assistants would move to the new grade which is:

£21, 276 to £23,802

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, please contact Barnet Council by email at 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.




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.”


‘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.’



“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.


EXTRA: Capita Shares Fall As Underperforming Divisions Weigh On Profit


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

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


Capita stripped of key contract running MoD military estate early


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


FCA fine looms for Capita over failed Connaught fund


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


What do you think? 

Unified Pay: “Myths & Updates” – School staff please read


Unified Pay Update

New contracts

Last term Barnet Council employees received their new contracts. Most staff had no issues so they signed their contract. There were a smaller group of workers who had issues. For these staff UNISON advised that they did not need to sign until the appeal/issue had been resolved. In some cases some staff signed even though they had an outstanding issue. In which case once their appeal was resolved they received an updated contract.  It is important that members keep a copy of their new contracts somewhere secure.

School staff:

I have been informed that Barnet Council are about to issue new contracts for all their employees (excluding teachers) in schools

It is really important that if UNISON members do have any issues or concerns they contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email

On Monday and Tuesday we have Louis Smyth specifically to deal with UNISON school member issues and Nadia Joseph on Wednesday.


“If I don’t sign the contract I will be made redundant”

No, no no. This is not correct. If you feel any pressure or are uncertain what to do then please contact your local rep or the unison office.

Sick Pay Scheme

In the new contract there is mention of a potential change which could see some staff having pay deducted if they are off sick. It is important to note that this is an ‘if.’ UNISON are already in negotiations about a new sickness policy, until we have reached an agreement the current sickness scheme is in place. It is worth noting that the original Council proposals was to withdraw from the current sick pay scheme for example end the 6 months full pay, 6 months half pay if you were seriously ill

Nursery Nurse group appeal

In the negotiations with the council there was an agreement that discussion about the 3.4% would continue after implementation. I can report that I am in the process of putting together an appeal for the Nursery Nurses with the support of some of our members. A meeting whereby I will be giving feedback on what I am proposing is being held

52 Week Teaching Assistants group appeal

I am meeting with the Council negotiating team to discuss a proposal which I hope I will be able to discuss with members shortly.

Individual Appeals

I have a list of members who have individual appeals. It is very important that members provide the UNISON office with all documentation, and arrange for a 1:1 meeting with me in order that I can best able to provide you with support. I have been supporting non schools members for the last five months and this process has worked well.

*** If you have sent in an appeal and have not notified UNISON, we will not be able to help. It is very important that you notify the branch if you want the support.

Stage 1 appeals

These meetings are not meant to be stressful for members. They an opportunity for a discussion with the employer, employee and their UNISON rep. In the many other Stage 1 meetings for non-school staff, management have been very supportive of any of their staff who are facing a loss in pay. I have found that the approach taken for non-schools staff has been largely positive for staff. The solution to the loss in pay can often be resolved by exploring a number of different approaches.

I would hope that UNISON members working in schools would expect that they should have the same treatment.

This is why when UNISON members working in schools contact the branch for support, they will be offered a 1:1 meeting with me. I need to listen and then advise, before we go into the Stage 1 meeting.

Faith schools

A number of faith schools are adopting Unified Pay collective agreement. It is important that members make sure they keep our office informed if they have any issues or concerns.

It is really important that if UNISON members do have any issues or concerns they contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email

UNISON response to Caretaking Service Review


UNISON Response to Accommodation Office Options Review (FBC)

UNISON response to

Caretaking Service Review

23rd of July 2016


Purpose of Review

  • To make an annual saving £151,166.
  • This sum chiefly to be realised by withdrawing current Service Tenancies [£145,000] and Council tax payment [£25,320] from staff employed as Resident Caretakers.
  • To provide a more responsive Caretaking Service to Barnet Homes customers.




To achieve the above aims Barnet Groups stated preference is to:

  • Create a new Senior Estate Services Manager Post
  • Down grade current Estate Services Managers post and replace with new ESM role with different duties
  • Delete Senior Caretaker post
  • Create a new ‘Driver Grade’ caretaking post
  • Delete Resident Caretaker post and replace with a mobile Caretaker post.


Proposals by the Barnet Group


Estate Service Managers

To be ring-fenced to apply for new Senior ESM role – Choice of Redundancy or Assimilation into new ESM role – Pay protection would apply.


Senior Caretakers

To be ring-fenced to apply for any vacant new ESM role – Choice of Redundancy or assimilation into new mobile Caretaker/Driver role – Pay protection would apply.

Removal of service tenancy if applicable.


Resident Caretakers

Assimilation into new Caretaker/Driver role. Removal of service tenancy.



Removal of Service Tenancies – Barnet Group position


  1. Discretion at the initial Housing needs assessment.
  2. Discretion at the time of the first tenancy review (in 5 or 6 years’ time) provided you are still in the employment of Barnet Homes [as a caretaker]. Up to 11 years in current home with discretion.
  3. Senior Resident Caretakers will also benefit from the same discretion on the initial housing needs assessment even if they choose to take voluntary redundancy. But, the second round of discretion (i.e. in 5 or 6 years’ time) will not apply as they will not be employees of Barnet Homes.
  4. Lump sum compensation as an alternative to subsidised rent and council tax for two years (equivalent to one year’s rent and council tax). Average compensation payment per caretaker is estimated to be £7,290.


  1. There are no conditions (i.e. Continuation of service with the Barnet Group) to the award of the lump sum compensation. The amount offered equates to 1 years rent and we are not in a position to offer more. The tax free element of the payment depends on affordability.


  1. This Lump sum payment will not apply to Senior Caretakers who take Redundancy



Removal of Service Tenancies – UNISON Response


  1. UNISON members request that if discretion can be applied to the housing allocations policy that a secure, full life time Tenancy for staff effected should be considered as way to reach a mutually agreed position.


  1. It is welcomed that discretion has been extended to the date of the first tenancy review, however the qualification element of continuing to work as a Caretaker for Barnet Homes would limit opportunity of staff to progress their career with their current employer.


  1. It is welcomed that Senior Resident Caretakers will benefit from the same discretion if they choose to take redundancy – but this should also be applied to the first tenancy renewal [after the first 5/6 year period] whether or not there is a continuation of service with the Barnet Group.


  1. The lump sum option is welcomed, but the stated amount is not of enough value to compensate for the loss of staff’s service tenancy.


  1. It is welcomed that the lump sum is not reliant on staff continued service with the Barnet Group. However the offer will not reflect the outlay of effected staff over a year for rent and council tax if the payment is not the net figure.


  1. Senior Caretakers who take redundancy should be entitled to receive the lump sum compensation in lieu of a year’s rent as the lump sum is not reliant on continued service with the Barnet Group.


Other Factors


  1. Health & Safety Compliance – UNISON has asked for details of provision for staff under the H&S Workplace [Health and Safety and Welfare] Regulations 1992 for the new service – this has not been provided or costed.


  1. Removal of Contractual Overtime – Barnet Homes state – If salary protection applies then the contractual overtime will be protected. Salary protection will only apply if the employee’s current salary is higher than the new salary – It has not been communicated to staff whether or not salary protection will apply in their individual circumstance or what the cost will be to Barnet Homes.


  1. Barnet Group intention to create a new ‘Caretaker Driver Grade’ [SCP 20 – 23] with no supervisory responsibility.


Currently the Senior Caretaker Grade [SCP 22 – 25] encompasses some day to day supervision of caretakers, dealing with stores, Health and Safety checks on equipment, occasionally deputising for ESM’s and undertaking estate inspections. The Senior Caretaker position gives caretaking staff the opportunity for career progression. The new ‘Driver Grade’ does not have the same level of responsibility or offer caretakers the opportunity to progress their career.


  1. Staff and Customer Workshop Feedback indicates that while there is always room for improvement, there is a general feeling that the Service performs well and that a Local caretaker service, local knowledge and presence is important to Barnet Homes customers.


  1. Average age and length of service of staff group effected. The majority of staff who are Resident Caretakers will reach retirement age in the medium to short term.



  • A broken job structure which does not give adequate opportunity for career progression and which could have an adverse impact on staff retention.
  • Loss of loyal, committed and dedicated staff, who have good local knowledge and presence and rapport with Barnet Homes customers.
  • Spiralling cost of Service review in relation to redundancies, payments, pay protection, Health & Safety statutory requirements.
  • Failure to agree a negotiated way forward with staff, with the potential to cause a breakdown in industrial relations.


         UNISON Recommendations


  • That the Service Review should not incorporate removal of Service Tenancies from staff currently effected.


  • That the Senior Caretaker post is retained as part of the new structure.


  • That the Barnet Homes Board postpones making a decision until a fully negotiated agreement is reached with staff.
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