Capita have cancelled Freedom Passes for adults with disabilities

Barnet Councils private contractors Capita have cancelled Freedom Passes for adults with mental health issues and other disabilities like autism without giving any notice. 
 
This has meant that many people have found out for the first time that their Pass has been cancelled while trying to use public transport. Others have had their Pass cancelled as a result of a reassessment, despite there being no change in their condition.
 
This is despicable and unacceptable.
 
And possibly illegal.
 
And
For further information on how Capita, on behalf of Barnet Council, are making the lives of disabled residents intolerable.
Barnet Labour have started a petition for immediate reinstatement of the disabled Freedom pass to these residents.
 
I urge you to please sign this petition and share throughout your networks.
We must stand against this treatment of disabled residents.

 

#Solidarity with #JuniorDoctorsStrike at the Department of Health

 

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Jeremy Corbyn has thrown his support behind striking junior doctors with a speech to hundreds of protesters He said: “The government has an opportunity to settle this, they should get on and do so.” He was joined by the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, who said the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, would eventually have to back down on his threat to impose a new contract.

Hundreds of striking doctors were joined by teachers and other Trade Unionists as they marched on Whitehall.

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National Demonstration Saturday 16th April – Join The Barnet Block!!!!

The Tories have been under mounting pressure in recent weeks after George Osborne’s shambolic Budget triggered a humiliating U-turn over planned cuts to disability benefit, the steel crisis, the Tory civil war in the run-up to June’s crunch referendum, the Panama Papers Tax dodging scandal, the enforced Academisation of our schools and the Junior Doctors strike defending our NHS. Lets keep up the pressure, march to topple this Government, march for Health, Homes, Jobs and Education.

Please share the event widely .

JOIN US!!!!

JOIN THE BARNET BLOCK!!!! 

Meet Up Outside Habitat, Opposite Goodge Street Tube Station, Tottenham Court Road  12.45pm & look for the Barnet UNISON Banner

JOIN THE BARNET BLOCK!!!! 

Meet Up Outside Habitat, Opposite Goodge Street Tube Station, Tottenham Court Road  12.45pm & look for the Barnet UNISON Banner

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Unstaffed Libraries – Unsafe and Unproven

Unstaffed Libraries – Unsafe and Unproven

Barnet Council has used the examples of Denmark, Leeds and Peterborough to support their plan to replace Library workers with unstaffed libraries (Open+). Barnet UNISON exposed how the Danish use of unstaffed library opening differed from the Barnet plan.


The UK precedents also do not support the Council. In Leeds, Farsley Library uses Open+ technology to enable unstaffed opening hours. Unlike Barnet no cuts were made to staffed hours. Farsley is in a quiet and leafy part of Leeds. Under 18s as well as adults with a record of anti-social behaviour in libraries could not in theory enter the building during unstaffed hours. Less than 10% of local users availed themselves of the unstaffed opening hours and there were problems with the technology which prevented access to the site. After running the experiment for over a year no decision has been made. This is hardly an endorsement of unstaffed libraries.

In Peterborough the introduction of Open+ was used to cut staff hours. But Peterborough seems to have paid more attention to public safety as

“A decision was made to recruit four open+ assistants to maintain a presence in four library sites where it was felt that extra safeguarding measures were needed during open+ hours”
The job description for the post states

“The primary role of this post is to oversee the use of the library during unstaffed hours”
This raises the following questions: When is an unstaffed library not an unstaffed library? And why not have kept existing staff on site who could have provided in depth and wider service?

Barnet Council’s response to concerns over safety in unstaffed libraries is for a

“CCTV operator able to mobilise roving security to respond to any incident with the aim of a response time of 30 minutes”

(Barnet’s Future Library Service – Appendix A: Future of Barnet Libraries p35)

This is an inadequate measure, unable to provide swift and sufficient reaction to situations, such as

• Medical emergencies

• Electrical failures

• Burst water pipes

• Verbal and physical assault

• Emergency evacuations
It is hoped that the Council’s continuing desire to press on with unstaffed opening is due to a lack of information rather than disregard for the safety of library users. Barnet UNISON calls on the Council to reconsider this plan and to engage in meaningful discussion on the issues with all stakeholders in our Library Service.

To show your opposition to the Council’s plans for Barnet Libraries come to the lobby of the Full Council meeting at Hendon Town Hall on Monday 4th of April at 6pm, where the decision to go ahead with the proposal will be voted on. If the proposal is implemented then our libraries will suffer damage from which they may never recover. There is still time to Save Barnet Libraries

Barnet Council propose to cut library posts by 46%, alongside a 70% reduction of staffed hours at libraries. This is to be facilitated by Open+ technology which will…
BARNETUNISON.ME.UK

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Council’s Barnet Future Library Service Proposal- Bad for Libraries, Bad for Barnet

Barnet UNISON Press Release: 17 March 2016 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Council’s Barnet Future Library Service Proposal- Bad for Libraries, Bad for Barnet

 

  • The Council’s proposal, if implemented, will result in Barnet Libraries offering a reduced service.

 

  • Library posts will be cut by 46%, a loss of 52 full time equivalent posts.

 

  • Staffed hours will be reduced by 70% (despite overwhelming opposition to this from respondents to the Council’s Library consultations).

 

  • Unaccompanied under 15 year olds will not be able to use libraries for most of their opening hours.

 

  • Library space to be reduced, thus cutting study space and book stock.

 

  • Four libraries to be run by “community groups”.

Barnet Council has a statutory duty to provide a “comprehensive and efficient service”. This legal obligation will not be met in future because, as in the Council’s own words,

“The reduction in staffed opening hours will mean less support available in

the library to get advice, information and to utilise the resources in the

library. This will have the biggest impact on those who may require support

to make best use of services at static library sites or are less able, or

confident at using libraries without library staff support

(Barnet Future Library Service 5.9.10)

The proposal is based on an over-reliance on technology enabling unstaffed opening hours. This is despite the current and unparalleled failure of the Library Management System, although a contingency plan for a similar occurrence in the future is promised in the as yet unpublished Appendix L of the proposal.

However in the face of questions regarding the safety of unstaffed libraries the Council has modified its original intentions and wants to employ security guards at libraries at a cost of £785,000 a year. This is money that could be better spent by retaining library workers.

The Council’s scheme also places great emphasis on gaining income from renting out library space for commercial use, without providing any real evidence that there is demand. One of the few tangible instances of  an income generating idea in the proposal is the introduction of fines for  overdue children’s books at the same time as under 15 year old’s access to libraries is being reduced.

The Council’s proposal is a blueprint for the destruction of our libraries. It fails to recognise the range of services that a modern library should provide. It reduces accessibility, stock, space and the availability of the expertise and skills of library staff. It will make our libraries less desirable places to visit, which will see a decline in use. This will be used by the Council to close libraries in the future.

Barnet UNISON calls for the proposal to be rejected. Our Borough needs real libraries and real library professionals and para-professionals. Their absence will see Barnet pay a heavy price in the coming years as literacy levels fall, accessibility to information is reduced, and social mobility is further curtailed.

 

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