Friday, 28 March 2014

Transformation Programme - Report to Scrutiny Panel 25th March 2014

A report updating North Somerset councillors on the contract negotiations with Agilisys went to the Community and Corporate Organisation Policy & Scrutiny Panel this week. The full report is at this link:

The councillors were also given a presentation on the contract negotiations, which included a rather complicated looking bubble chart designed to blind them with science. The councillors decided that a special working group will scrutinise the contract negotiations and the Transformation Programme, and they have agreed to our request to attend the meetings of the working group, although we will not have voting rights.

The main points of the report and presentation are:

  • Transferring more jobs and services to Agilisys, including customer services, business support and transactional services.
  • Extending the contract with Agilisys by another 5 years - taking it to a 15 year contract
  • Expecting a 20% to 30% saving on new services and a discount on existing services
  • Giving them other business over the life of the contract - we're not sure what that is yet
  • Asking Agilisys to help them with the Transformation Programme, including IT transformation and Shared Services

The report states that the annual cost of Support Services is now £10.66 million. But interestingly when the council voted to award the contract in August 2010 the annual cost was £10.379 million. This seems odd given the contract was supposed to reduce the cost of support services by £1.5 million in the first 2 years.

The timescale for the contract negotiations will involve a report to full council on 6th May, which will include draft proposals from Agilisys, and then a further report to full council on 23rd September, which will include the full business case and at that point councillors will vote to approve services transferring, with the transfer of staff and services being completed by December.

As well as attending the contract scrutiny working group, UNISON will be campaigning against further service transfer, and we need all North Somerset UNISON members to lobby the council meeting on 6th May from 5.30 pm outside the Town Hall in Weston.

Local Government Pay Claim - Consultative Ballot

Over the next few days members of North Somerset UNISON working in Local Government will be receiving consultative ballot papers asking them to reject the pay offer which is as follows:

• £580 on pay point 5
• £550 on pay point 6
• £400 on pay point 7
• £275 on pay point 8
• £200 on pay point 9
• £175 on pay point 10
• 1% on pay points 11 and above

UNISON is clear the Employers' below-inflation final pay offer falls woefully below the aspirations in our 2014-15 pay claim and what our members deserve. It does nothing to begin restoring the 20% real loss in NJC pay value since 2010 and the effect falling pay has on members’ future pensions. It means yet another year with a further pay cut for the vast majority of our members. It leaves half a million NJC members below the Living Wage and the lowest paid 50,000 just 30p above the National Minimum Wage.

UNISON strongly recommends this meagre final offer is REJECTED and that we move to an official industrial action ballot in support of the claim on behalf of those employed on NJC terms.

Please make sure you fill out your ballot paper and give your view on this year's pay offer, which due to inflation being close to 2%, is in fact a pay cut.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Transformation Programme - Consultative Ballot

All North Somerset UNISON members working for North Somerset Council should have received a consultative ballot paper in the post over the last few days. It is really important that as many members as possible take part in this ballot, so that branch officers know where the members stand when we go into meetings with management.

From the information we have so far the Transformation Programme is likely to lead to a combination of privatisations and redundancies, unless UNISON members act now.

Make sure you fill out your ballot paper and return it to the branch office.

You can also come to a meeting to find out more:

· 27th March at 12.30pm – Town Hall, Kenn room
· 3rd April at 12.30 pm – Town Hall, Hutton suite
· 10th April at 12.30 pm - Castlewood room G08
· 16th April at 12.30 pm – Town Hall, Hutton suite
· 22nd April at 12.30 pm – Castlewood, room 1.08
· 30th April at 1.15 pm – Castlewood, room 1.08
· 1st May at 12.30 pm – Town Hall, Kenn room
· 6th May at 12.30 pm – Town Hall, Kenn room

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Transformation Programme - write to your councillor

It is really important that all North Somerset UNISON members who also live in North Somerset write to their councillor to express their concerns about the Transformation Programme and the impact on jobs and services.

Please use the following link to email your councillor:

All you have to do is put your postcode in and it will give you the names of your councillors.

If you would prefer to write a letter to your councillor you can find their contact details at:

What you write is up to you but you may want to say something about the impact on your job and service if the council decide to either make your job redundant or transfer it to Agilisys, another private sector organisation, or another council.

If you can also send a copy of your email or letter to North Somerset UNISON then that would be useful for us. You can put it in the internal post to the UNISON Office at the Town Hall or email it to

Remember there is an election in 2015 and if you live in North Somerset, as well as work for the council, you are one of their electors. So they need to hear from you.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Transformation Programme - all UNISON members working at North Somerset Council are at risk


The Council has recently announced a Transformation Programme which will affect all UNISON members working at the council either directly or indirectly. Much of what is planned seems to have come about as a result of the work done by Price Waterhouse Cooper last summer. PWC were hired to look at how the council could make further cuts, and UNISON has been provided with a copy of the report. The report is currently not in the public domain, but we are very worried about the impact on staff, which is likely to be a combination of redundancies and privatisations - specifically more staff transferring to Agilisys. When the council awarded the contract to Agilisys they argued that jobs would be saved, but Agilisys have made a number of redundancies and changes to staff terms and conditions. Staff that transferred to Agilisys have seen their jobs change and are also now working on all sorts of contracts, not just North Somerset Council work. Also as a result of changes to the TUPE regulations in January 2014, there is now less protection for transferring staff.

Those of you who were here in 2009-2010 will know that UNISON opposed the privatisation of Support Services and wrote to all members informing them of the dangers of privatisation, which also included further services being transferred to Agilisys at some point in the future – the council are now looking at this. But we want to show them that money can be saved and changes can be made, while keeping jobs and services in house. We have already informed the council that in our view staff are more likely to get involved in the Transformation Programme if the council agree to no compulsory redundancies and no privatisations. We have also expressed our concerns to councillors and our new Chief Executive, and the recent publicity around the council’s attempt to hide the full detailed version of the KPMG report on the Agilisys contract has aided our case – you can read this report on the branch blog at

Although nothing has been confirmed yet, from the information we have so far, it is UNISON’s view that there are particular groups of staff who are potentially at immediate risk of redundancy or being transferred to Agilisys, because PWC have recommended that these areas could be rationalised and jobs made more generic with staff working across the whole council rather than for a particular team. The staff who are most at risk are:

· Business Support and Administration
· Frontline customer, financial and transactional services
· But practically anyone else could also be affected

In 2010 when staff were first transferred to Agilisys, many UNISON members did not get involved in our campaign to stop the privatisation of support services – as a result when councillors voted to approve the contract they thought that staff didn’t really care. This time UNISON members need to show the council that they do care.

The Transformation Programme also includes plans to share services with other councils – many teams could be affected by this and there is the potential for job losses. The Integration with Health is also likely to lead to job losses, especially if duplication of roles is found. We will keep members updated on this as and when more information becomes available.

UNISON want to show the council why transferring more jobs and services to Agilisys is a bad idea, and how we can transform services and make savings, while also keeping them in house - but we are working to a very tight timescale – in 2 months time (on 6th May) a report will be presented to the Council on the Transformation Programme, which will include a draft business case for staff transferring to Agilisys. So we need all our members to help fast.

Here’s what you can do.

We need all members, including managers, to tell us what you think, and in particular:

· Your concerns and questions about how your job and service will be affected by restructuring and transferring to Agilisys

· Your views on how your service could be transformed, while remaining in the council

· Your concerns and questions about transferring to Agilisys

We will collate members’ views and questions and put them to the council to get answers – no names will be mentioned

Send us an email to tell us what you think – we’ve set up a special consultation email address and you can email us from home if you’d prefer – just make sure you give us your name and what team and directorate you’re in – and again all correspondence will be kept confidential.

Come to a meeting to tell us what you think and keep coming to meetings to stay updated:

· 11th March at 12.30 pm  – Castlewood, room 1.08
· 27th March at 12.30pm – Town Hall, Kenn room
· 3rd April at 12.30 pm – Town Hall, Hutton suite
· 10th April at 12.30 pm - Castlewood room G08
· 16th April at 12.30 pm – Town Hall, Hutton suite
· 22nd April at 12.30 pm – Castlewood, room 1.08
· 30th April at 1.15 pm – Castlewood, room 1.08
· 1st May at 12.30 pm – Town Hall, Kenn room
· 6th May at 12.30 pm – Town Hall, Kenn room
· 6th May at 5.30 pm outside the Town Hall to lobby Council Meeting

Talk to your UNISON Rep or Workplace contact – their contact details can be found at:

Become a workplace contact – we need one in every team so that we can keep you updated, and you can help with distributing publicity, representing members ideas for service improvement, consulting with members and passing on members concerns.

Invite UNISON to your team meeting

Get your colleagues and managers on board, and if they’re not UNISON members persuade them to join.

You can also keep up to date through social media:

Twitter: @nsunison

Facebook: search for North Somerset Unison