Supporting members, defending services

A series of Branch Guides which will cover all aspects of privatisation of local government service delivery.


Shared Services

The concept of ‘shared services’ has been used to describe a wide variety of arrangements by local authorities across the UK. Broadly, these arrangements are either ‘public-public’, or ‘public-private’. Sharing services has been seen by some local authorities as a way to limit the effect of government cuts.

Public-public arrangements can be beneficial to members and service users, and can help to secure the long term future of directly provided local authority services.

Public-private shared services pose many threats to members and are often just another form of privatisation.

Much has been written and said about shared services. This guide aims to briefly highlight the key aspects and set out actions UNISON branches should take.

(19/04/2013)


Negotiating a procurement agreement

The pressure on local authorities to look to the private sector for the delivery of public services has intensified since the Tory-led Coalition began their programme of austerity and spending cuts. Now more than ever branches need to have a good understanding of the procurement process which leads to services being privatised.

Early branch involvement is crucial and negotiating a procurement agreement with your local authority is one way of ensuring UNISON is able to influence the process and represent the best interests of our members.

(19/04/2013)


Social impact bonds

We are starting to see local authorities consider and use social impact bonds (SIBs) as a method of financing delivery of certain council services. Social impact bonds have been in development and varying use over the last few years. Potentially they can be used in each of the United Kingdom nations.

Whether SIBs are a good thing or not depends entirely on the circumstances. In short, if they are adding to council services through money guaranteed by others, they have the potential to be beneficial. If however they are simply used to move services away from the public sector and the control of the democratically elected council and into the hands of private companies, then UNISON opposes them.

(19/04/2013)


The Sustainable Communities Act

The Sustainable Communities Act 2007, along with the Sustainable Communities 2007 (Amendment) Act 2010, and the Sustainable Communities Regulations 2012 represent a legislative effort to promote the sustainability of communities. The acts create a bottom-up process for local authorities and communities to seek new government actions to help local communities.

For the first time the legislation creates an obligation on the government to negotiate and try to reach agreement. The legislation could play an important role in the fight against privatisation and cuts. UNISON has supported the development of the legislation and encourages branches to use it.

(19/04/2013)


Co-operatives and mutuals

The coalition government wants to see public services ‘spun out’ into staff-led mutuals and co-ops as part of their vision for ‘open public services’. It is clear that the government wants to drastically reduce ‘the state’ and see as many services as possible provided by external providers. The desire for mutuals and co-ops to be part of this landscape is outlined in their 2011 White Paper and provisions made in the Localism Act, including the Community Right to Challenge.

UNISON is very concerned at these moves which stem from an ideologically driven desire to shrink the state and cut public spending, rather than a genuine desire to maintain strong public services, empower workers and improve service quality.

There is a long and positive history of small organisations like mutuals and co-ops operating to complement public services. But this has predominantly been in niche areas through grant funding. Many have struggled to survive in the long-term once financial and technical support has been withdrawn. Much of the coalition’s current agenda is about outsourcing mainstream public services.

The coalition have stated that where proposals for mutuals offer reduced costs or improved services they will be considered – UNISON’s concern is that most will look to reduce costs at the expense of the workforce and ‘soften up’ public services for privatisation.

This guidance has been designed for branches and aims to break through the misinformation to ensure politicians, the public, and crucially, our activists and members, understand the full implications of these models.

(19/04/2013)


The community right to challenge

The Community Right to Challenge (‘the right’) came out of the Localism Act 2011 and is supplemented by statutory instruments. The purpose of the right is to open up public services to others such as ‘community organisations’. UNISON’s view is that the right is a Trojan horse for privatisation, eroding public services by the back door. It endangers in-house provision of services by removing a council’s ability control its own service provision. Any challenge by a community group represents the breakdown of the relationship between the local authority and the community it serves. Fixing that relationship requires alternative solutions.

(19/04/2013)


 

New on Site

23/03/2017

Training

New courses for members and stewards.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/12

Inflation leaps to 3.2%

More regulation of gig economy needed

Appalling risk of suicides in construction

Fat cats — the great pay divide

Racist abuse after Brexit vote

Lack of diversity at top in Wales


22/03/2017

Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on Monday 3 April.


18/03/2017

Regional Disabled Members Group

Meeting on Tuesday 28 March 2017 at 4.30pm.

Misogyny as a Hate Crime

Nottinghamshire Police have taken the bold step to identify misogyny as a hate crime and Northern UNSION are keen for this to be replicated in our region. The aim of the event is to identify how we can move the issue forward across the region with all three Police and Crime Commissioners.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/11

Swings and scooters of inflation basket

No real improvement in weekly earnings

Cosmetic improvement with Living Wage

Zero-hours contracts at record high

Unemployment falls below 1.6 million


12/03/2017

AGM 2017

Agenda and annual report.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/10

Economic forecasts in Hammond's Budget

Mixed fortunes in ethnic women's pay gap data

Company merger and acquisitions in 2016

Numbers on zero-hours contracts at a high

GMB take on DX delivery firm

Former chancellor's nice big earner

Charter to stop violence at work


03/03/2017

March/Rally for Durham Teaching Assistants

Saturday 25 March. Hear grassroots, union and guest speakers and watch the Reel News film showing the Durham Teaching Assistants’ story.

LGBT Policy weekend

Saturday 25 March, to plan UNISON LGBT activities for the year ahead.

HOPE Not Hate Event

A joint training session for trade union and community activists on how to organise to defeat the politics of division.  18 March 2017.

NE People’s Assembly

March calendar of events and activities.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/9

Trade Union Act regs come into force

Gender pension gap leaves women short

Violence at work — the nasty truth

Bookseller's £7m salary

Money purchase pension are norm

British Gas denied appeal in Lock case

Government fails in ethnicity review


01/03/2017

Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on Monday 6 March.

Retired members

Papers for the retired members' meeting on 17 March.


24/02/2017

Branch Lottery

Winners in February.

Workers Memorial Day

Morning seminar and afternoon remembrance service in Hartlepool on Friday 28 April 2017. There is also an Eve of WMD ‘Gig’ on Thursday 27 April.


23/02/2017

Labour Research Department Fact 79/8

Government green paper on pensions

A 'Stern diet' for fat cat directors' pay

Employers — don't miss out on talent

Argos repays £2.4 million to 37,000 staff

Economic growth revised upwards

Work fears of disabled people revealed

In the papers

Migrants have helped make Britain. It’s time to celebrate us

NHS at breaking point, according to British Medical Association

Councils prepare to cut essential services to fund adult social care

London transport spending equivalent to £1,500 more per head than North East


22/02/2017

Labour Research Department Fact 79/7

Minimum wage cheats named and shamed

Inflation hits three-year high

Unemployment at 11-year low

Inflation erodes growth in weekly earnings

In the papers

Migrants are always the scapegoats. But now they’re taking on Ukip’s lies

I, Daniel Blake is a realistic depiction of life on benefits. Isn’t it?

English social care system for elderly facing 'complete collapse'

North East peers want law to make Government investigate impact of Brexit on region

North East recruitment drive revealed as jobless total in region rises

UK employment growth driven by foreign nationals, figures show

The NHS needs a rethink. Its priorities no longer make sense

Top Labour politicians come to 'UKIP area' Sunderland for Brexit debates and festival

Rothbury Community Hospital inpatient ward closure public meeting this week

Shopping will cost you more as prices rise, but is Brexit to blame?

Campaigners calling for u-turn over Post Office move

UK labour shortages reported as EU worker numbers fall

Britons living in the EU face Brexit backlash, leaked paper warns

Then the Daily Mail came for Gary Lineker, and we said: ‘Enough!’

Brexit survey revealed: What you would do if given second shot at EU referendum

Booming gig economy costs £4bn in lost tax and benefit payouts, says TUC

There will be a shameful betrayal of the Brexit low-paid

Welcome to the new dark ages, where only the wealthy can retire

NHS 'pays £7.5m a year for 20 most expensive agency doctors'

Drive to bring health and social care together is a well-intentioned mess


12/02/2017

Disabled Members Policy Weekend

Sunderland, 19/20 May 2017.

Members training

Sign Language (BSL) Introduction, 2 March 2017

Dementia Workshop, 30 March 2017

Reps training

Regional Education Calendar 2017

In the papers

A&E in England had worst delays ever in January, leak suggests

Why was Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes the star of Prime Minister's questions?

Number of patients stuck in hospital 'far higher than NHS data shows'

It's time corporate tax dodgers started losing lucrative council contracts

More council housing needed in the North East - government report reveals

Council tax, youth funding and bins: 6 things to look out for from Sunderland budget meeting

TyneMet and South Tyneside colleges merger: What it means for jobs, campuses and its new name?

Labour Research Department Fact 79/6

Review of tribunal fees finally published

Plan to tackle abusive hiring practices

Insecure work on rise

Twenty eight directors share £68.37 million


05/02/2017

Affiliations and donations

A list of affiliations and donations that the branch committee has approved since January 2015.


07/02/2017

In the papers

UK faces return to inequality of Thatcher years, says report

NHS ID scheme could deter eligible patients, say MPs

Councils may cut social care provision due to underfunding, LGA says

Nursery schools: ‘What society gives children less chance than their parents?’

Council tax rise planned for Northumberland residents as authority faces £36m cuts

'Trump can't hack Trebs' - the best signs from Newcastle anti-Trump demonstration

Labour Research Department Fact 79/5

Racism at work

Economy grows but there's a shortfall

Advice on gender pay gap from Acas

Tories offer no solution on discrimination

Eight assaults a day in Welsh schools

UNIMAG 33

A quarterly periodical updating branch reps on employment law.


06/02/2017

Branch Lottery

Winners in January.


27/01/2017

Young Members

Northern Region Young Members AGM

Black Members

UNISON Northern Region Black Members Forum AGM 2017.

LV Car Insurance

Discounted car insurance for UNISON members.


26/01/2017

North East March and Rally for #ourNHS

In Newcastle on Saturday 4 February.

Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 6 February.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/4

Death by a thousand fire service cuts

Guidance on stress

Modern-day slave traders jailed

Fees let bad bosses get off scot free

Top-ranked inclusive employers 2017

Get tough on pay, says pension funds


22/01/2017

Women's Network AGM

Agenda and nomination form for the mmeting on 4 February.

Disabled Members

Annual Meeting of the Regional Disabled Members Self Organised Group on Tuesday 31 January 2017.

Members training

Mental Health Awareness Workshop on Thursday 16 February.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/3

Wales to ditch parts of 2016 Trade Union Act

Inflation rates at highest since 2014

Retail inflation eating into earnings growth

UK unemployment at nine-year low

In the Papers

Public sector pay poised to fall by thousands in real terms, TUC says

May’s promise on workers’ rights is hollow if she doesn’t get a deal

NHS crisis: the one act of self-sacrifice that could rescue our health service

Politicians have ignored the working class for too long

World's eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50%

Crisis, what NHS crisis? Theresa May must stop this denial

Welsh government tables bill to overturn Trade Union Act


15/01/2017

Anne Frank Trust Exhibition

UNISON have now been allocated two spots on the 16 January to have guided tours around the Anne Frank exhibition. 

Labour Research Department Fact 79/2

Courier's tribunal win against CitySprint

TUC warns over Brexit threat to workers' rights

Lame excuses for not paying minimum wage

High street store fined over safety

Manufacturing output edges higher

Child poverty briefing


13/01/2017

Branch Lottery

Winners in December.


06/01/2017

The Trade Union Act and UNISON's Political Fund

Consultation on political fund review: December-January

Reading Ahead

We are having our first Reading Ahead launch at Welford Learning Zone on 11 January between 10am and 11am.

Trade Union Reps courses

Book now to secure your place on one of the courses for Reps at Newcastle College starting in January 2017.

Northern Region Training Programme

UNISON courses in 2017. These courses are free and open to all members unless otherwise stated.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/1

'Precarious pay penalty' of zero-hours staff

Plans for a Universal Basic Income

2017 — economic forecasts for year

'Fat Cat Wednesday' has been and gone

Northern Ireland to reveal political gifts

UK's deficit in trade in goods gets ever worse

UK economic growth revised upwards