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

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