Sunday, 29 September 2013

Motions for the Branch Meeting on 30th September 2013

Motion from Jane Doolan and Mike Calvert

Motion for Branch Meeting
30th September 2013

This Branch Meeting:

Feels that the recent release to us of statistical information from The Council reveals that the Council has broken its understanding that we are in "partnership".The Labour Group has stated that it wishes to work closely with the trade unions and that it has welcomed our joint work over the Fairness Commission and the London Living wage. We have worked closely with the Council on matters such as returning Enterprise and Kiers to the Council.

However, it appears that the Group is either being kept in the dark or turning a blind eye to the actions of senior managers when it comes to the issue of redundancies and employing new staff.

The Council has made 428 staff redundant in the last 3 years but at the same time as spending millions on consultants and agency staff has actively recruited 437 new staff, many of them permanent.Whilst we welcome the new staff and believe they should join UNISON we feel that it is a betrayal of our trust to have allowed these processes to unfold in this manner. If there were enough posts for 437new staff why did we lose 428 in the first place?

Islington UNISON protests most strongly at the employment of agency staff to the tune of £20 million a year (How many of these are on “zero hour” contracts?) whilst making redundant 437 staff, but even more disturbing is the employment of 11 consultants and agency workers in the Chief Executive’s Department at the cost of £500,000 in three months!

It is the view of the this branch meeting of Islington UNISON that Council management and the Labour Group need to get a grip on all these matters as they are very disturbing when another round of cuts under the heading of the “Big Savings Challenge” and are concerned that further job losses are being planned.

We call for a freeze on all external recruitment whilst the reviews currently under way take place and the 19 current redeployees are found posts within the existing establishment.We do not believe Management when they articulate the view that they need to make these cuts but at the same time continue to employ external consultancy companies like Price Waterhouse Cooper and Red Quadrant at huge cost to ask staff how to cut their own posts!

This Branch Meeting instructs the Branch leadership:

To seek a meeting with the leader of the council (whomsoever it may be at that point)  and Lesley Seary, the Chief Executive, as a matter of urgency, to discuss these issues directly with her;

To organise a lobby of the Labour Group on
7th October and/or the full council meeting on Thursday 10th October to protest at this matter and make our representations to the Council;

To take whatever steps it feels are necessary to explain to our members, to council staff/management, elected members and the wider public our concern at these developments;

This meeting should be reconvened as soon as possible after the Council meeting on 10th October to report any new developments and organise whatever steps are further necessary.

Proposed: Jane Doolan
Seconded: Mike Calvert

Fat Cats get the Cake, we get the Crumbs

This UNISON Branch believes that:
·         Services are best delivered by directly employed in-house staff and that service redesign and more general public sector reform should involve consultation with staff and users rather than external consultants. 

·         Consultantsoffer the same old top down solutions.  It is Islington Council staff, not external consultants who have the best understanding of the authority’s wider objectives and ethos as well as the local government sector and can be innovative
As well as our very real concern about the costs of consultantsas noted in the Branch Newsletter No.6, it’s obvious that using directly employed staff means that skills and experience stay within the Council.  We also know something for certain, that each visit from a consultant costs more money; they don’t come back for free to help the Council out!
We are also concerned that:
1.       The recent cuts in staff numbers appears to have led to a shortage of expertise within the Counciland had a knock on effect of increased reliance on costly consultants;


2.       Alack of clarity concerning the work these consultants are doing.
We believe that Islington Council, for basic auditing procedure, must have a clear process for approving and recording the use of consultants and monitoring progress; they should always:
·         Evaluate the option to use consultants against the option to use in-house staff and
·         Record if consultants are required  because work cannot be undertaken by staff or because it offers better value for money;
·         Evaluate the work of consultants systematicallyand share their findings to ensure knowledge transfer where appropriate; and
·         That the use of consultants must not occur without the Trades Unions approving this in each and every case.
This Branch Meeting instructs the Branch Committee to monitor use of consultants by the employer on an ongoing basis including a Freedom of Information requests and communicate the outcome of the requests to the membership.

Moved by:
Eryka Bancroft
UNISON Convenor Public Protection

Seconded by:
Sharon Patrick and Fanos Santis
Public Protection Shop Members

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