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To: Leader of Barnet Council
Subject: Future Shape
While we appreciate the complexities of modern Local Authorities and the need for them to evolve to meet the future requirements of residents, we call on the council to suspend any proposals made in the report to the 3 December cabinet committee to transfer any services to external providers or private sector companies.
To view full statement click here
Colleagues You will have received the First Team email sent out to all staff from the Chief Executive this morning in response to what has been reported in the Press this morning. Barnet UNISON welcomes the reassurance given that the financial position of these Icelandic Banks will not have an impact the Council’s ability to pay bills, pensions or salaries.Clearly this is affecting other Councils and a number of them in London: Barnet Council: £27mHillingdon Council: £20mWestminster City Council: £17mBrent Council: £15mHavering Council: £12.5mSutton Council: £5.5mHaringey Council: unconfirmedBromley Council: unconfirmedTransport for London (TfL):£40mMetropolitan Police Authority (MPA): £30mWe understand the Council along with a number of other Councils are seeking an urgent meeting with the Chancellor Alistair Darling to request protection for councils as has been given to personal customers of IceSave and other failed Icelandic banks. Barnet UNISON fully expects to hear the Chancellor provide confirmation that all Councils will be covered and end the insecurity/anxiety this news has caused. It is inconceivable that the Government ‘bail out’ the Private Sector and refuse to offer the same level of support for the ‘Public Sector’.It is good to see UNISON HQ issue a Press release today urging the government to “protect local authorities from losing millions of council taxpayers’ money held in failing Icelandic banks” (full article click here)What about our Pension Funds?Inevitably our Pension funds have been exposed to significant risks especially over the last few months. We have asked for an urgent update on our Pension Fund investments. Contractors Like most Councils we have a number of contractors providing services for Barnet Council. We have asked for a copy of the risk assessment carried out in relation to our contractors. Clearly they are also at risk. If some of our contractors are unable to comply with their contractual obligations; it is important that plans are in place to ensure the Council is able to continue to serve the residents of Barnet.Future Shape Over the last two months as the global financial crisis has unravelled on a daily basis members have asked: ‘why are the Council considering going into partnerships with the private sector?’It is a good point and one that has been made in many of our weekly meetings. In light of recent events and lack of any sign of economic stability we are asking for a postponement of any Future Shape proposals involving the private sector.To read newsletter click here
The Trade Unions have made a request to be able to speak to any reports they submit to General Function’s Committee. This Committee deals with staffing matters such as redundancies, TUPE transfers etc. It is essential that if and when we submit reports, councillors are able to ask questions or seek clarification from the Trade unions.
I can report that both the Leader of the Council and the whole Committee unanimously supported this proposal and agreed to make a recommendation to the Constitutional Committee to approve this request.
Last night the Trade Unions had their first opportunity to discuss the Future Shape with our Employers (councillors) at the Corporate Joint Negotiation and Consultative Committee (CJNCC).
The meeting did not start well as the Employers initially objected to Dexter Whitfield providing the Committee with a brief commentary on the six briefing papers. Their objection was that we were talking about something which ‘may or may not happen in the future.’ The Employers view was that that until something is produced any discussion would be premature.
The Trade Unions asked for an adjournment to consider this objection.
On our return the Employers made another proposal which allowed debate on the process of Future Shape. Dexter gave a short presentation on the rationale behind the six briefings and reinforced our view that our briefings are about process. We had a positive exchange with councillors on the process and our specific concerns in particular staff and Trade Union fears about this being a privatisation exercise.
In terms of answers to our Briefings and in particular TUPE PLUS we established at the meeting last night that these will be answered once a model of service delivery is established.
Clearly the Trade Unions felt it would have been better if a commitment to TUPE PLUS could have been made at the start of the process, if only to reassure members that if they do transfer out of the council they will have much better protection of their terms and conditions (t&c’s).
As a direct result of Trade Unions concerns about process the Leader offered to set up a group to look at the Future Shape process. The group will be composed of elected members from all political parties and Trade Union representation. The Trade Unions supported this proposal and today have requested for this to be actioned as a matter of urgency.
Furthermore, the Chair of the Committee agreed to hold a Special CJNCC before the council cabinet committee on 3 December. The Trade Unions have requested this meeting should take place week commencing 24 November 2008.
Download the petition, ask colleagues to sign it and return it to the UNISON office
To view the petition click here
TUESDAY 11 NOVEMBER
Barack Obama says Barnet residents/service users/staff
“Change is coming and YES YOU CAN….have a say how your services are delivered and paid for!”
Make sure you turn up to have your say
For detail click here