Launch of Brighton People’s Assembly: Voluntary Sector Charter: Wed 5th October 6 – 7.30pm at Brighthelm, North Rd, Brighton
All welcome! Speakers! Food! Refreshments! Workshop! Discussion!
AGAINST austerity, privatisation and marketisation. FOR independent action, advocacy and campaigning.
LACK OF SCRUTINY, LACK OF TRANSPARENCY, LACK OF A FAIR ECONOMIC PLAN FOR DISABLED PEOPLE
A report into Learning Disability Accommodation Services in Brighton and Hove has heavily criticised the council’s decision to privatise the service. APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) was commissioned by the biggest public sector trade union, UNISON, to provide an analysis of the decision and subsequent procurement process. This came after the union locally had repeatedly requested to meet with the authority from early June, which is yet to happen.
Sue Beatty, Branch Secretary of Brighton & Hove UNISON said: “UNISON has raised concerns directly with the council regarding the procurement process and has requested all relevant documentation, some of which has not been supplied due to apparent ‘confidentiality.’
APSE, a local government body which works with over 300 councils throughout the UK and is the foremost specialist in local authority front line services, found that:-
- The evidence, a “commissioning review” in June 2014 which underpins the first key decision to cease provision by the council has not been published or otherwise made available
- A further 3 day review in October 2014 has not been made public
- As a purely cost-driven exercise, elected members were not given any indication of how the position might have changed subsequently with the imminent introduction of the National Living Wage and the auto-pension enrolment
- No other options apart from open contracting out were presented to the elected members, in an apparent breach of statutory requirements and to the detriment of future service provision
- The decision to cease in-house provision was made before consultation was carried out and consultees were actively prevented from expressing a preference for this option, therefore effectively having no consultation on this key decision.
- It is a fundamental requirement of the public procurement legal regime that contracting is conducted in an open and transparent manner. In this case it is confusing and opaque.
- It is also a legal requirement that contract notices are published on the UK government website, Contracts Finder, which APSE was unable to find. This is a serious breach, opening up the prospect of a judicial challenge from anyone who felt they were deprived of an opportunity to submit a bid
Sue Beatty said: “UNISON Brighton & Hove Branch is calling for a halt to what is clearly a worryingly shoddy process that affects the most vulnerable residents located in 12 homes across the city. APSE, an independent well-respected expert body, has concluded that the non-disclosure of key documents and the narrowing down of the consultation exercise casts doubt on the robustness of the decision-making process. UNISON has asked for the Policy and Resources Committee to be recalled, by writing directly to the Authority, councillors and the city’s three MPs, as it is imperative that any decision for the future of this service is based on proper scrutiny, transparency and a fair economic plan.”
The full APSE report is available here to download or view: apse-report-ldas
Four nights accommodation and surf lessons for four!
October offers some of the best conditions for surfing. In conjunction with Walking On Waves, Unison’s Croyde Bay holiday park is proud to announce its latest competition, to win a surfing holiday for four!
Simply answer the question: “Which ex-European Surf champion runs the Surf School at Croyde Bay Holiday Resort?”
For more details go to http://www.booking.com/hotel/gb/croyde-bay-resort-croyde5.en-gb.htmlaid=330843;sid=669d3793693a45b31b7a4a12d131a667;dcid=1;dist=0&sb_price_type=total&type=total&
Community Health Services for children in Brighton & Hove – health visitors, school nurses and the Family Nurse partnership service – are in danger of being transferred into private organisations such as Virgin Care!
A lobby and protest has been organised by Sussex Defend the NHS outside the Health and Wellbeing Board meeting where a recommendation will be made on this issue on Tuesday 20th September.
A march will start from 2.30pm from the Tarner Children’s Centre in Ivory Place, Brighton to the Brighthelm Centre where the board is meeting for 3.30 pm protest. If you can’t make the march at 2.30pm please try and make 3.30pm at the Brighthelm Centre to protest as board members arrive.
UNISON, in partnership with Community Care magazine, is once again running Social Work Watch to shine a light on a typical working day in social work.
On Wednesday 21st September we want as many social work staff as possible to fill in a survey about their working day. We will use the results to promote understanding of social work, and highlight the daily pressures staff have to contend with.
For more information look at this socialworkflyer
UNISON has a large number of members working within Brighton & Hove City Council’s nurseries. This service is provided by highly qualified staff whose dedication and commitment to the children they care for is second to none. We understand that the outcome of the recent consultation to cut wages by up to £8,000 in some cases, as well as the introduction of longer shifts for staff who themselves have young children, is expected within the next two weeks. These staff are predominantly female, part time workers who have understandably serious concerns for the outcome, both for themselves and for the service they provide across the city.
Sue Beatty, Branch Secretary of UNISON Brighton & Hove said: “ We hope that the council will take on board the many concerns expressed by both our members who work in this service and by UNISON representatives, when publishing the outcome of the consultation. However, we feel it is likely that the council will want to forge ahead with the cuts and if that is the case, we will be consulting with our members regarding future action. OFSTED have rated these services as “outstanding” and whilst we understand the council wants to see the services going into the future as services of quality, this is not the way to go about it and as always this branch of UNISON will fight to ensure our members’ livelihood and working conditions. We call upon council officers and elected members to seriously reconsider these proposals”