Barnet Homes – Dress code

I have for some time been in discussions with HR regarding the implementation of a Dress Code for all Barnet Homes employees. The intention is for all employees, not just those meeting our residents, to adopt a code of dress to be enforced by managers.

There have been more than one draft and I have failed to agree on any of them for reasons such as culture, personal choice, cost – in the present climate and the fact that we are presently going through desperate times when there isn’t even job security and redundancies are imminent.

Although we would all agree on cleanliness and having regard to health and safety I do not see the benefit in prohibiting jeans, t shirts and some ‘military style clothing’ all of which in this day and age are not necessarily unprofessional.

I have now agreed with HR that managers will be discussing this policy with their staff at team meetings

It is now for you all to provide your feedback in team meetings and let your voice be heard.


Anne Denison

UNISON Convenor for Barnet Homes

Calling All Female Members

UNISON Women’s Self Organised Group

UNISON Women’s Self Organised Group

Come along to our next meeting on 25 February 2009, 1– 2 pm


In the UNISON office, Building 4, NLBP


Dates for future meetings are-

1 April 2009

19 May 2009

7 July 2009

10 September 2009

20 October 2009

2 December 2009

13 January 2010

24 February 2010


For more information contact Maggi Myland or Tracey Lowe on 020 8359 2088

Future Shape update

What is going on in Phase Two?

On Friday 16 January you may have received an email from the Chief Executive asking staff to volunteer to become involved in shaping Barnet’s Future?

There are seven working groups

1. Future Shape – Barnet Strategy

2. Future Shape – Barnet Access

3. Future Shape – Barnet Assessment

4. Future Shape – Barnet Property

5. Future Shape – Barnet Support

6. Future Shape – Barnet Transact

7. Future Shape – The Vehicle

These groups relate to this model outlined in the 3 December Cabinet Committee paper

So what do the Trade Unions recommend?

We asked for staff/trade union forums in our first Briefing in September 2008.

So, yes we would want to staff to in their words “debate and help create the Barnet of tomorrow.”

However, it appears the Council do not want to talk to the trade unions.

On 17 December we were told the Council would no longer fund our consultant Dexter Whitfield. We wrote back on 18 December asking them to reconsider the decision to withdraw funding.

On 6 January 2009 we received an email saying they would be in touch in due course.

On Friday 16th January the Acting Chief Executive sent out an email to all staff about Future Shape.

To date we have heard nothing.

Considering the serious implications of Future Shape for Barnet Council staff and services the Joint Trade Unions have formally requested a special committee meeting with councillors.

Look out for further updates………

Barnet College update


The Barnet UNISON workplace representatives have started off this year by attending the Joint Trade Union Council Meeting with the Senior Management Team. Once again, the main focus of this meeting was the financial state of the College in light of the FE Pay Award. Along with ATL and UCU, UNISON is continuing to push for the pay award and have stated that it is not right for college staff to always be paid their award late. The pressure is continuing to be put on for the staff to receive the pay award.


Staff Governor Elections

The position of Staff Support Staff Governor is coming up for election around the Easter period. Please, please, please ensure that you use your vote to elect a UNISON candidate. The current candidate is not a UNISON member and we need to ensure that we are represented at this level. We will keep you posted as to when the actual election date is and you will be seeing flyers in your Staff Rooms and around the College on notice boards etc. to remind you to vote in your favour!!



On a slightly lighter note, there will be opportunities coming up in the near future for staff to train for and attain the E2 Level Qualification in Literacy and Mathematics. So, if you missed your chance last year and regret it, UNISON recommends that you try for it this year. It will give you a sense of achievement and is not in any way threatening to your current job prospects – it is encouraging that there is a way of improving your skills for free! Plus, this also means that Support Staff can accrue hours for their CPD Portfolio – this is an issue that we are ensuring the support staff is not being left out of. Your Union Learning Rep, Kirsty Watson will be updating you shortly when more information is available.


Finally, we are still trying to negotiate the Annual Leave/Religious Leave/Sickness Policies and are hoping to tie this up agreeably by the end of this month.

Should you have any ideas, comments or things that you would like help or advice on, please feel free to contact your Workplace Reps in confidence and as always, we will do our best to help you.

What happened at the General Functions Committee 14 January?

General Function Committee is a committee which looks at staffing issues.

We submitted a number of reports

To view our Adult Social services report click on the link

Strangely this report was not discussed in the public part of the meeting so we do not know what councillors thought of our report. 

The Welfare Rights report and our budget briefings which we had discussed at committee the previous meeting were not accepted onto the Agenda for this committee. This has never happened before! 

Bizarrely, some of the councillors that sit on this committee had accepted the same report the previous evening!  

We are seeking an urgent meeting with the Director of Corporate Governance as there maybe be implications for those facing redundancy. More details to follow…

What happened at the trade unions meeting with councillors 13 January?

The Joint Trade Unions presented the Welfare Rights budget report and a budget briefing to the committee.


The councillors voted to accept receipt of reports in order we could discuss the content.


Welfare Rights/Sheltered Housing


·        How will the existing work of the Unit be covered if the unit is closed?

·        What approaches have been made (or are going to be made) to the third sector to cover the work of the Unit?

·        Has a disability impact assessment been carried out to determine affect of closing the Unit?

·        Has any consultation with service users been undertaken?

·        how will the views expressed be incorporated into the budget consultation process


Agency figures

We have asked for details of agency staff in order to ensure that there are opportunities for redeployment of staff vulnerable to redundancy.


Consultants spend

We have asked for consultancy spends across the directorates


Children’s Services

On the proposals affecting staff working in Children’s Services we were informed that talks on the restructures would be taking place with the trade unions. Reports on the outcomes of these consultations will follow.

Budget consultation – process

Understandably members are confused between the statutory 30 day notice period and the consultation process.


The statutory process started on 7 January which means some staff could receive redundancy notices on 7 February. However others could receive them later as their restructures move at a different pace.


Consultation has begun across the service areas, further updates will be provided by our Officers representing members facing redundancy.


Some key dates for members to note in relation to the budget


Full Council 27 January.

This meeting will consider the budget report raised at General Functions


Cabinet 23 February

This meeting will approve the final content of the budget.


Full Council 3 March

This is attended by all of Barnet Councillors and votes of whether to accept this budget

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