Category Archives: Public Services

Barnet Alliance for Public Services: We need your potholes!

We have a fantastic potholes song that cannot be published yet until a suitable video to accompany it will be produced.

For that we need MANY PHOTOS OF POTHOLES and broken pavements.

We know there are hundreds of those across Barnet, but not many come through to the POTY Facebook page that Holly created.

The song and video will help promote this campaign towards the 17 June P&R meeting which will decide on whether to bring the Highways service back in-house, but we cannot use it until we get the pictures!

SO:

Please take photos of any pothole you come across and send them immediately.

You can take the photo on your mobile phone and send by What’sUp to me (07957-486 379),

Or attach to an email and send to this email account by Reply.

THE SOONER THE BETTER!

Barnet Council to pull out of major care homes contract after its failure to deliver adequate services

Barnet Council has publicly announced plans to pull out of a major contract which was responsible for delivering three key care homes – Meadowside, Apthorp Lodge and Dellfield Court. The provider of these services has begun to enter into TUPE consultations with a view to handing over its care homes to the 100% council owned company, Your Choice Barnet.

This follows a damning report issued by the Care Quality Commission into Apthorp Care Centre, in Brunswick Park, that Barnet published in January 23 2019, which deemed the service inadequate – and placed the care home into special measures. The report followed an unannounced inspection in December 2018.

The CQC report highlighted that the Centre was understaffed, saying that under-staffing levels had “a significant impact on people’s dignity. For example, we observed two people, on separate occasions, had soiled themselves and were walking through communal areas of the flats.” Fremantle has a poor record on ensuring staff and worker well being – having in the past proposed reducing care workers’ basic salary by 20-25%, bringing care worker pay down to well below the London Living Wage.

Adults and Social Care spokesperson for the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Reema Patel said,

“This sorry state of affairs illustrates two things. Firstly, the Council needs to urgently review its approach to securing high quality services that ensure worker well being. Secondly, it highlights the extent to which national cuts to social care funding are proving impossible to manage. We welcome the return of care homes to council control, but more is required – increased investment in social care funding in particular.”

For more information contact:

Cllr Reema Patel: 07398 220 745

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

Barnet says Goodbye to Fremantle

Barnet UNISON has just been informed that the Fremantle Trust is to enter into TUPE consultations to hand over the running of its care homes: Meadowside, Apthorp Lodge and Dellfield Court to Your Choice Barnet.

We welcome this transfer as a positive step in the right direction. Your Choice Barnet is 100% owned by the Council which places the running of the homes under greater local accountability. We will do all we can to continue to represent our members who have consistently done their best to deliver support to vulnerable residents, often under difficult circumstances.

We believe there are now real opportunities to address the concerns of staff and residents in a positive and constructive way and look forward to working with Your Choice Barnet to achieve this.

The transfer of staff and services is planned to take place at the beginning of July 2019.

Barnet UNISON has already approached Your Choice Barnet in preparation for formal TUPE transfer meetings which will be looking to take place shortly.

Welcome home from Barnet Alliance for Public Services

Monday, 1st April 2019 was officially the first day back in-house for formerly outsourced Capita Finance and Human Resources staff.

VIDEO HERE

This means the first stage of Barnet councillors’ review of the Capita contracts has been completed.
Barnet council is locked in two draconian contracts with Capita, which were a bad deal for residents and workers from the start. The borough saw a huge waste of public money and a steady deterioration of services’ provision across the board, evident in Barnet’s dirty streets, shocking state of disrepair of its roads and pavements and inaccessibility of the council’s Customer Services to name just a few problems.


After years of campaigning, some Barnet residents, members of Barnet Alliance for Public Services and the #KickOutCapita campaign, welcomed back the workers on their first day back into the council.
By this the residents also sent a very clear message to Barnet Council: We want to see the return of ALL the former council services currently provided by Capita back in-house without delay.

We will not give up campaigning until all of the services return in-house!
#OurBarnet @BarnetAlliance

War on Want: Stop corporate courts

Corporate courts, formally known as ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement), are an obscure parallel legal system only accessible to the super-rich. They allow transnational corporations to sue governments outside the national justice system, for amounts into the billions, over decisions the companies think might affect their profits.

Health warnings on cigarette packets, raising the minimum wage and protecting the environment from mining are just some of the laws big business has challenged in corporate courts. Even the threat of a case can be used to bully governments into backing down.

Recently the Minister proposed using Brexit to slash tariffs, regardless of impact on jobs, farming and industry, following an extreme market-driven approach. Corporate courts are a key part of this agenda.

The minister wants to keep ISDS to protect investment stocks. We need to speak out and say that people and planet matter far more.

TAKE ACTION

The fightback has begun. Across the world, countries have been rejecting ISDS: South Africa, India, Ecuador, Tanzania, Indonesia and New Zealand have all taken steps to back away from corporate courts.

Here in the UK and across Europe, our movement against TTIP and CETA – the EU’s trade deals with the USA and Canada – has exposed its illegitimacy. The system is vulnerable.

We’re at a tipping point, and if enough of us come together, we could bring ISDS down altogether. Can you sign the petition today and join the movement to end corporate courts?

Barnet Tories to introduce parking charges at local parks

Conservative-run Barnet Council has agreed to charge up to £6 a day for parking at local parks. The decision was forced through by Conservative councillors at this week’s Environment Committee (21 Jan). Labour councillors voted against the policy.

 Although the principal of charging was agreed, a consultation will be held on the charging proposals for specific parks.

The parks affected in the first phase are: Barnet Playing Fields, King George V Playing Fields, Mill Hill Park, Old Courthouse Recreation Ground, Scratchwood Open Space and West Hendon Playing Fields.

The Council believe the policy will raise up to £150,000 a year.

Labour’s Environment spokesperson, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “This is an ill-conceived money making scheme from Barnet Tories that is simply going to lead to park goers parking in neighbouring roads, many of which already lack enough spaces for residents. Rather than another consultation on this scheme, it simply needs to be scrapped”.


Ends.
Notes:
1. A copy of the report on parking charges at local parks (Agenda Item 8): http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=695&MId=9733&Ver=4

The most dangerous part of TTIP that lives on

Just three years ago our movement was instrumental in stopping TTIP, the EU-US trade agreement. It wasn’t easy. Together, we collected 3.3 million signatures. Hundreds of thousands of you protested in the streets. We took on the corporations, the lobbyists, 28 governments and the EU Commission. And we won!

Now we have to do it again to kill off ISDS – which was one of the most dangerous parts of TTIP – once and for all. Over the last three years, this system has been badly wounded. For the first time, with a strong push in 2019, we can get rid of it for good. A Europe-wide campaign against ISDS and for more corporate accountability has just started to make the best of this opportunity!

Sign the petition to support the new campaign now!

ISDS stands for ‘Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement’. It is an obscure parallel justice system only accessible to large corporations. They can use it to sue states and prevent new rules that were intended to protect people and the planet. If on the other hand people are harmed by a corporation, they often don’t have any way of winning justice. This is a horrendous injustice!

Some ISDS cases are well known, like Vattenfall demanding 5 billion Euros of public money for the German nuclear exit. But hundreds of other scandalous cases are still receiving close to no public attention. And new treaties containing a parallel justice system for corporations even keep on being signed! In order to stop ISDS we need to oppose these new deals and get rid of existing ones.

Click here to sign the new petition to end ISDS!

This week, corporations are gathering in Davos at the World Economic Forum. They will dine and chat with world leaders until Friday. Those companies include Chevron, which sued Ecuador to avoid cleaning up their oil pollution in the Amazon, and still refuse to pay the victims of their dirty business. Cargill, which sued Mexico after the Government implemented a tax on sugar to address the country’s obesity crisis. Dow Chemical, which sued Canada for banning harmful pesticides, and dozens more.

Today, we crashed their party. Our colleagues from the “Rights for People, Rules for Corporations” campaign are in Davos. Dressed as wolves, they revealed that more than 40 corporations attending the World Economic Forum have used ISDS to sue governments and extracted vast sums of taxpayers’ money. Some of these same corporations have infringed on human rights but people and the planet cannot bite back. It is time to stop this injustice!

We demand the EU and member states to support a tough global system that can punish multinationals for their crimes. We need rights for people and new rules for corporations! ISDS must be stopped! And 2019 is the year to do it.

Please join this new movement and sign the petition today!

#bingate public meeting Colindale Library, 7 Bristol Avenue, NW9 4BR, at 6.30pm on Monday 28th January

Our bin services are in crisis. Literal mountains of rubbish have been building up in many estates across the borough, with the west of Barnet hardest hit. Council management have shamefully brushed off disgusting scenes in Grahame Park, by saying it was simply “forgotten”. Forgetting to collect rubbish in a major working class estate is not just a nuisance, it’s a health and environmental hazard.

The problem comes directly from serious mistakes made by Barnet Council, which prefers to pay huge sums of our taxpayers’ money to Capita instead of investing it in good, accountable services, and chooses not to listen to its workers.

Despite warnings from sanitation workers, routes were changed and facilities downgraded without taking the needs of communities into account.

Shamefully, the council is preventing any discussion of the crisis, and has prevented opposition councillors and the public from bringing up the issue at the Town Hall.

Barnet Alliance for Public Services have called for public meetings to discuss the emergency. Facebook event here.

Colindale Library, 7 Bristol Avenue, NW9 4BR, at 6.30pm on Monday 28th January

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Councillor Alan Schneiderman, Labour lead on Environment
  • John Dix aka Mr Reasonable

Invited speakers:

  • Councillor Cornelius, Leader of Barnet Council

Statement from BTUC and BAPS on Capita at Brent Council

Barnet Trades Council and Barnet Alliance for Public Services are concerned and dismayed that Brent Council wants to renew its contract with Capita. Our experience of Capita is that it has delivered appalling service and therefore we, together with our local Labour Party, are campaigning for all services run by Capita for Barnet to be brought in-house forthwith. #kickoutcapita is our grass-roots campaign.

Examples of Capita’s misdemeanours in Barnet include:

  • A two million pound fraud carried out by a Capita employee, Capita’s lax and opaque processes completely failed to detect
  • A call centre which has consistently failed to answer residents’ calls in the required time
  • Incorrectly withdrawing travel passes from disabled and vulnerable people
  • Actually cost taxpayers more money than in-house services would, through extra charges and “gainshare” payments designed to maximise their profits at public expense
  • Performed extremely poorly in audits of the council and brought down the overall standards of council services

We urge Brent Council not to renew its contract with Capita. Capita, along with other failed and failing outsourcing giants like Carillion and Interserve have proved to be entirely failed models. We want to Kick Out Capita from Barnet and bring all services back in-house and under local democratic control. Brent Council should do likewise. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell has spoken brilliantly about how properly funded, democratically accountable in-sourced public services are the future for the country and we agree. Together we are stronger.

1 2 3 9