WCL (Adult)

Care Cooperative

November 2014

A full option appraisal has been undertaken where consideration was given to a number of options, the main four that are seriously being considered are:

Although a local authority trading company is the preferred option amongst the Project Board and Project Team, the Better Care Fund together with the implementation of the Care Act (2014) has meant integration with the NHS also needs to be explored further.

It is not clear what further integration with the NHS would look like for staff and services users, more information on this proposal should be available by December.

A FAQ was provided in the latest edition of the newsletter:

Q. Will my terms and conditions remain the same?

A. As an LATC yes. With the Health option we’ll need to factor this in to conversations with health.

Q. Will I be TUPE’d over to a new organisation?

A. With an LATC yes. With the Health option we can’t say yet, it depends what type of organisation it is and who “controls” it.

Q. We already do a lot of joint work with Health, how will this be different?

A. We recognise this but we’re not talking about just working with existing health colleagues, it’s about what goinga step further would mean. We’d be looking at things like joint planning as well as joint delivery of services, and thinking about how we work with GPs and how we can create something new and better than before.

Q. Will we still be at risk of having to make further savings?

A. Whichever option we eventually choose there will be an element of efficiency savings built in—that’s the reality.

A further verbal report will be given. (CMcA)


CMcA gave update on budget proposals for Business Management and the Care Cooperative. A discussion was held on the two options – LATC and further integration with the NHS - which are currently being explored. (Branch Committee Minutes, November 2014)


September 2014

There has not been a great deal of movement on the proposal from the council during the August break.
Unison members’ meetings were held in June and July at Welford, Castledene, Byker Lodge, Recovery Support and Connie Lewcock. We have also attended the Care at Home staff comms meetings, and Care at Home ‘roadshows’ with all staff are being planned by management, which we will attend.
We have also reported to the project board that Kitchen staff within the sites are not being kept up to date with the proposals. This has been acknowledged and a list is being compiled of staff affected indirectly to ensure they are also consulted.
Linda Couchman, the manager responsible for setting up VIVO, came to speak to staff on 17th July to answer queries relating to her experience of setting up a mutual. Staff asked questions around:

A full listed of questions and answers are included in issue 12 of the Care Cooperative newsletter. The next

Cooperative Project Board is on 10th September. (CMcA


July 2014

On 25th June I visited Welford Centre, Byker Lodge, Allendale Road (Recovery Support) and Castle Dene to talk to members about the proposals. I’m hoping to arrange meetings for Connie Lewcock and Care at Home in the next week, and arranging a suitable time with Chris Dugdale to talk to the Night Care staff.

A hand out has been produced which has been given to all members in this meeting detailing the branches position. This was based on the previous directorate report, but made specific mention to terms and conditions:

The council has had no discussions with unions or staff about any changes to terms and conditions. If the council decide to create a new organisation and transfer staff, their existing terms and conditions will transfer with them. This is protected under a regulation called TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)). Although TUPE provides some protection, it is possible for these terms and conditions to be changed by the new organisation in the future (in consultation with staff and unions) if there is a legitimate reason. We will continue to press the council on its intention for the terms and conditions of staff.

The other main area that was discussed was around ensuring the consideration of an in-house provision, which the council will need to do as part of its procurement process. This has also been raised at the project board meeting where we have reminded them this needs to be part of the options appraisal.
Richard Harrison (Cheshire and Chester West) will attend the Directors team meeting on 1st July. He will also be meeting the project board to look at the various legal entities and start the process to understand which ones the council will look at further and which can be discarded. We will also be attending this meeting. (CMcA


June 2014

Activity So far

1. The Care Cooperative Proposals were released in October 2012 and agreed by cabinet in March 2013. The aim of the proposal was stated as: ‘We are looking at how we can create a 'care co-operative' for social care services currently run by the council. This approach is a way of shaping a market that delivers excellent outcomes for service users, within an environment that retains public service values, but is also able to trade in the open market in order to secure its future.’

The services that would make up this proposal are:

2. At subsequent branch committees we discussed that we were pushing for the council to hold a cooperative seminar in order to clarify what the proposals mean and discuss more fully the rationale as no subsequent information had been released.

3. On 22nd April 2013 a Co-operative Council Seminar was held which included Cabinet Members, Management Teams, Sustainable Enterprise Strategies (SES) and Trade Unions.

4. On 5th and 12th June the first workshops were held around the proposals. 56 staff volunteered to be part of two different groups – ‘Business’ and ‘People’.

5. During July and August 2013 workshops were ran for the two groups

6. On 9th October 2013 Kevin Marquis from SES gave a talk at the Beacon Centre around some of the different types of organisations that come under the ‘mutual’ or ‘cooperative’ umbrella: a co-operative, a local authority trading company, a community interest company etc.

7. On 18th November 2013, Branch Officers met with Kevin to discuss inviting him to a special branch committee for stewards to be taken through the different structures the council is considering.

8. On 20th November 2013 a meeting was held with staff at Mansion House with Linda Couchman and Richard Harrison around their experiences at Cheshire West and Chester in setting up their organisation.

9. On 11th December 2013 we held a special branch committee with Kevin from SES.

10. Throughout January we attended the Care at Home staff briefings to speak to members about the proposals and the branch’s activity.

11. Also in January 2014, volunteers were sought from the staff group to form a smaller group which will work to develop the business plan. 2 representatives were sought from each service area with voting to be held between January 27th and February 2nd.

12. 6 members of staff were elected to join the team managers from each section to formulate the Project Team in February 2014. A Project Board was also formulated which comprised of the senior management team which will coordinate activity. UNISON have an open invite to attend all Project Board and Project Team meetings and have done so.

13. In March 2014 it was announced that Richard Harrison from Cheshire West and Chester was helping the council develop the Care Cooperative proposals. Richard will be attending meetings of the Project Board and Team and coordinate the project management of the proposals.

14. Also in March an email address for queries (CareCoOperative@Newcastle.gov.uk) and a project folder were created. Following UNISON’s request all staff affected by the proposals will have read-only access to the folder. This folder will be used to collate work undertaken by the Project Team which will be fed back to the wider staff groups by the representatives.

15. On 9th April Richard Harrison came to Newcastle to meet with some of the Project Board to start planning how the proposals will be developed and how staff will be engaged. Although UNISON was not invited to this meeting we have been assured that it was an oversight and the council commitment to engage with us remains strongly in place. This is the only time such an incident has occurred.

The Project Team and Project Board have met on another of occasions and UNISON has been present for all of these meetings. Regular newsletters have also been sent to staff to keep them up to date with activities.
Issue 10 of the Care Cooperative Newsletter has also been shared with staff which described the next stages in more detail. A number of activities have been agreed that need to be carried out, together with the responsible department. These will then feed into the project team to inform them when they start discussing the business plan. Examples of the activities are:

It has also been agreed that it would be sensible to design a business plan for each service (Welford/Castledene, Care at Home, Older People’s Resource Centres and Recovery Support).  (CMcA)


Care-co-operatives - report in paper clarifies branch position, update given on workplace meetings, PG discussion with Chief Exec. Conor and Paul to meet with staff groups asap, keeping staff updated to stop demoralisation, timescale issues and concern about funding being linked to NHS. Need to keep pressure on not to outsource. (Branch Committee Minutes, June 2014


April 2014

The Project Board have now held two meetings and the first staff workshop is to be held on 2nd April at Mansion House. The intention is that the co-operative will be running in 2015/16 and it is hoped the business plan will be developed to facilitate this by July 2014.

A traffic light report has been shared with the Project Board. The following areas were identified:

We have continuously raised the risk of relying too heavily on Cheshire West and Chester and trying to replicate what they did. Cathy Bull has given us assurances that by involving the managers and staff the input from services will ensure that whatever model is developed will be tailored to what is needed in Newcastle.

We have also expressed our concern about the lack of practical progress on this proposal, which has resulted in growing frustration from UNISON and the wider staff group.   (CMcA


March 2014

A new project structure has been created, (see report for structure diagram) following staff elections to the Project Team. This team’s role is to research and design services, communications and marketing plans, together with contributing to the business plan.

We have a standing invite to attend all meetings of the Project Board / Team in order to monitor progress and identify issues or concerns.

The first meeting of the Project Board is taking place on 5th March. At present, the meeting dates for the Project Team have not been arranged.

The council have continued to speak to West Chesire and Chester following the presentation by Linda Couchman and Richard Harrison last year. We have contacted their UNISON branch office in order to have a discussion about their experiences.


Update given about Care Co-operative situation, concern there is neither business plan nor timescale known. Branch to form group with Activists – CMcA to lead, TUPE changes - training needed for Activists (Branch Committee Minutes, March 2014)


February 2014

Care at Home roadshow briefings took place w/c 20/01/2014 to update staff on the current budget position and the Care Cooperative. This also covered the next stage: a smaller working group that will start to flesh out a business plan. One representative will be sought from each of the six sites (Connie Lewcock, Byker Lodge, CMHR, Welford, Castledene and Care at Home) to join the site’s six line managers. Staff can vote for their representative w/c 27/01/2014.
We will also be attending this group in order to observe its progress. C

CMcA – Various sessions held throughout the City to update members. Report to Councillors in April, still no business plan. Need to move forward with terms and conditions, working hours etc. New project structure – elected worker reps to be on the board, need half reps and half managers. M
January 2014
Branch meeting held on 11 December for members – good turnout, document to be circulated. NCC Senior Officers and SES representative informed what a care co-operative could mean although there is no plan as yet – roadshows to follow. Feedback given from National Seminar – no unified position.
PG clarified and answered questions from the floor.   (CMcA


November 2013

Issue 4 of the Care Cooperative newsletter was shared on 10th October and covers the session with SES at Beacon house on the 9th October. This session provided further information for affected worker groups on the various legal entities for consideration.

Further workshop sessions are to be arranged and there are also plans to launch a “Let’s Talk Topic Wall” to involve wider staff groups in the on-going discussions.

We are currently seeking to arrange a session with SES and shop stewards.  (CMcA


October 2013

The 3rd newsletter (Care Co-operative Newsletter, October 2013) has been released.

There are 2 working groups, each group has met twice with more meetings planned:

SES, who provide business advice to local authorities and others looking to set up a social enterprise, will be facilitating a staff workshop on 9th October.  (CMcA)


New on Site


Learning at Work Week

15-21 May 2017. The theme this year is Curious and Creative for Learning at Work Week.

Distance Courses

Starting 24 April 2017, these courses can be done online or paper based.


NEC Elections

Branch nominations and ballot details.

'There For You’ Newsletter

This newsletter includes an update on the changes to the Bereavement Support Payment as well as contact details for ‘Down to Earth’, who provide practical and emotional support throughout the funeral process.


Branch Lottery

Winners in March.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/13

Executive pay bandwagon rolls on

Cycle courier entitled to holiday pay

Employment law changes this April

New minimum wage rates kick in

UK lags on maternity

Merger heralds new teaching union

Consultation on caste discrimination



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


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on Monday 3 April.


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


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


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


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on Monday 6 March.

Retired members

Papers for the retired members' meeting on 17 March.


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.


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


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


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


Affiliations and donations

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


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


A quarterly periodical updating branch reps on employment law.


Branch Lottery

Winners in January.


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.


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


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


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


Branch Lottery

Winners in December.


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