Shop Stewards Committee

Tuesday 24 January 2017, 4.30 -6.00pm


1 February 2017


Wellbeing Care and Learning - Children

UNISON Organisation

Convenor:  Ed Whitby   

Branch Lead Officer: Lynda Hardie   

Stewards and Reps    


Shop Stewards Meeting – Tuesday 20th October 2015

DJC –Wednesday 14th October 2015


WCL - Children Archive

Reports to the Branch Committee include the following headings:

16 plus

Caseload Review

Children's Residential Care

Children’s Social Care

Commissioning and Procurement

Community Nurseries

DfE Innovation Programme


Early Help and Family Support

Early Years Social Care

Education Division

Education Improvement

Employability and Skills

Family Insights

Family Service Review

Management Review

Newcastle Skills Centre

Part Year Working

Playcare Staff

Regional Adoption Agency



SEN Services

SEN Transport

Sure Start

Travel Issues

Virtual School Team

Workforce Management

Youth Offending Team


Rethinking Long Term Social Work in Newcastle

Briefings have taken place over the last couple of weeks to sections of staff regarding the above proposals. Consultation is over two weeks ending on 5th May. This is basically to set out the future running operating model in line with Family Insights.

The background to Family Insights is documented in previous reports from its initial funding of time limited investment of £2.76m and the additional council funding of £600k.

The future model is expected to cost £4 million. It is stated that there are 5 SW per unit, 19 cases per SW, 7 cases per CSW and 102 cases per unit.

Service Managers

No change to existing JD. Selection Process with Matrix proposal is to change from 4 existing Service Mangers to 2 (ring fenced)–please see chart.

Group Manger

There are 3 new posts and these are ring fenced to existing Consultant Social Workers and existing Team Managers.


Existing CSW confirmed in post. Selection process –no matrix for additional CSW and GM posts.

Senior Practioners

Existing confirmed in post additional advertised to SW’s.

Social Workers

Selection process with matrix.

All vacant posts to be deleted and VR requests considered. Explore transfers in other areas of CSC if necessary.

In the last briefing it was said there are 5 vacant posts in IRS and 6 vacant posts in West.

There are 22 SW posts at risk these vacancies reduce that to 11 and this is before VR requests have been taken into account so this figure is likely to decrease.

Family Support Workers

Existing FSW’s confirmed in post. Recruitment selection process.


Consultation period – 2 weeks until 5th May.

Consideration of VR requests

Selection process

I attended all of the briefings and have further emailed members in scope offering meetings etc.

I have passed on concerns that have already been raised regarding interview processes and timescales.

I’ve suggested that a FAQ page is set up to further inform staff.

Holiday Pay

The responsibility for this has been given to Mick McCracken (Assistant Director)

We had included this within the Agenda for last DJC however he was unable to attend but did discuss that he was picking this up with me beforehand.


Another agenda item at DJC Karen Simmons is to arrange a meeting with staff to discuss some concerns raised.


Item at DJC work is ongoing in relation to the decisions within the last IIA.

Social Work Event

We are still intending to put this together for 1st June with two guest speakers and then a round table discussion. Further information to follow.


Naming of Social Workers within Family Court Judgements

UNISON Branch Officers met with the Assistant Director of Children’s Social Care to discuss a protocol regarding the guidance issued by Sir James Munby. Since this guidance was introduced a number of Unison’s social work members nationally have been named in what is selective coverage of cases, causing enormous stress and exposing them and their families to public hostility. They are unable to defend themselves because of confidentiality obligations placed upon them, while senior managers are often not named.

The Assistant Director has agreed to discuss a protocol with legal and will update us as soon as possible.


WCL (Children) Report to Branch Committee,  February 2015

Family Service Review

Following requests for VR being approved by Scrutiny some posts were able to be ‘lift and drop’.

This applied to the Sure Start Lead position and also the Sure Start Teachers.

Interviews have been taking place for some of the posts within the new structure and there are still some which are at the point of EOI as JE had to take place on new JD’s which were then taken to Moderation Panel for sign off.

We had asked for information regarding Commissioned Services as we have some members within these areas.

We have been informed that within Barnardo’s that staff have come forward and asked for hours to be reduced rather than posts lost and that this has been agreed.

We still do not full information on how many families may be affected who fall out of the Community Hub areas – they would still be entitled to Universal Services but not the full Sure Start offer.  Although it has been stated that no buildings will close, we are unclear on which buildings will provide which services.

The Sure Start Contact Group met to discuss concerns and to put forward ideas on the way forward with our campaign around this.

We are looking at contacting Councillors about the effect on their particular wards and the fact that some parents may still not know the full effect of the changes in relation to the services that they now access.

Management are busy working on a communication to parents regarding this which should go out in February, but until then staff have been approached about concerns parents and families have in relation to this.

There has been quite a lot of press coverage on the Family Service Review and this has helped keep our Campaign in the public eye, it would appear that some Councillors also have concerns about full information according to latest news articles.

Community Nurseries

As part of the savings target Flexible Term Time Working was offered to staff with a total of 19 positions available.

It has now been confirmed that 18 individual requests have been received which equates to 15.44 FTE. The next steps are that staff should receive formal confirmation of acceptance of this – this was due w/c 19th January.

Management will also meet to explore how the positions would be populated across the five settings as some staff may be moved to accommodate this. Preferences and personal circumstances will be considered as well as service needs. Timescale for this would be 2 – 3 weeks.

A programme for transition would be put in place to avoid disruption to service delivery.

The other areas of savings are still being worked on; this was marketing to ensure full places and running costs.

Early Years Social Care

Corporate parenting team – Fostering

Staff were briefed on saving targets of £104,000. The re-aligning of budgets between Fostering and Adoption and the deletion of vacant hours (posts) and the lift and drop of 1 Full time and 1 Part time post from Fostering to Adoption.

EOI have been asked for from staff who would like to be considered, if more staff come forward it will be discussed with HR and TU’s how selection will be made. If there are no EOI put forward this will have to be re-considered.

The other savings would be met through lean working and income generation.

Concerns regarding the briefing information have been forwarded to Management and their response shared with the staff group.

DfE Innovation Programme       

Briefing sessions were held w/c 12th January to inform staff of the successful bid for funding (£2.7 million) and what that would mean in the context of teams to be set up and posts available.

The programme is called Family Insights and the funding is for a period of 16 initially.

There are 4 elements to Family Insights:

A new structure has been devised around this with a time limited Assistant Director post a service manager and 4 Consultant Social worker posts with 4 teams below this consisting of 2 Progressed Social workers, 2 Unprogressed SW and 1 Family Support Worker in each team.

All posts are to be permanent contracts in order to attract and retain staff. Adverts for posts will be both internal and external. Staff on redeployment who meet the essentials and the person spec. will be given preferential consideration.


Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare

Sure Start Leads were notified to inform staff that the budget proposals are part of the larger service review and are therefore effective from 31.08.13 and not 31.03.13.
Communications will continue throughout the review process.


Family services Review

This review is still being scoped out.



There will need to be further discussion regarding the impact of the Admin budget reduction proposals and how this may affect proposals to reduce an IRO and increase admin support.

There are no further budget details at this point.


Cheviot View and Thomas Bewick

A meeting took place at Thomas Bewick on 9th December with staff, Mick McCracken and Diane Scott (head teacher), to discuss the proposals and listen to the concerns of the staff group. It was explained that Thomas Bewick residential is based on Hadrian School site and Hadrian as an expanding school require the accommodation back. Funding for Thomas Bewick is also proposed to end.

A meeting took place at Cheviot View on 16th December with management and staff group, the meeting at Thomas Bewick was discussed and it was agreed that Workstream meetings will be set up in the near future. Some of the TB staff had visited Cheviot View to look at the facilities.

An architect has visited Cheviot View to look at providing plans for an apartment which was to be a studio apartment but is now to be considered as a two bedroom apartment. This is to provide a concept of ‘individual living’.

It has been agreed that this proposal will work to an academic calendar, due to the staff at TB being school based staff, rather than a financial one and so will be implemented from 1st September.

TB staff are also part of the Compass Special schools Foundation Trust and are therefore employed by the school governing body and not by the Local Authority. They therefore are subject to different terms and conditions.


Report to Branch Committee, December 2013


Briefings have taken place outlining the following areas of new or significant changed proposals-

IIA’s are available on the Council’s website.


The immediate proposal is the deletion of the NSCB Co-ordinator post and the LADO post and the creation of one post combining the core responsibilities. This would attract a budget saving of £51,000.

There are other areas which will be considered and given further analysis in the medium term.

Caseload Review

Savings to be met are £273,000. The proposal for this is to meet this saving through the deletion of vacant posts, reduction in hours and other working practice (already agreed), 1% turnover etc.

16 plus

Savings of £100,000 to be met through efficiencies.

Sure Start

Savings to be met are £1,000,000 with workforce reduction FTE figure @ 14.

We have no further detail at this point. These figures relate only to City Council staff reductions and not staffing reductions within commissioned services.

Family Services Review

Savings to be met - £500,000. Efficient and effective use of programmed monies and services. No further details.

Workforce Management Review

This review covers both ‘Children’s and Adult’s’ with the projected savings figure at £45,000 and possible job reduction of 14. No further details at this point.

Cheviot View and Thomas Bewick

Meeting with management November 27th to discuss the progress in extending the education offer at Cheviot View and the impact this may have on staffing figures.

Thomas Walling School

Meeting with staff November 21st to discuss TUPE arrangements, looks likely that this will convert to Academy status in April 2014.


Report to Branch Committee, November 2013

Children’s Residential Care Staff

Back pay issues still on-going, there have been various options outlined to staff which have not been acceptable. The latest letter from management was issued w/c 14th October.
We have asked that each home elect a member to contact us directly with the views of the staff, we will then meet with staff to discuss. Legal advice is also being sought regarding the issue.

Cheviot View

The next meeting of the Options Feasibility Group is scheduled for 4th November there should be more detail on the proposals regarding Thomas Bewick School at this point.

Travel Issues

Social Workers who were recently transferred to the Civic Centre have expressed concerns regarding the parking site etc. they have been allocated. We are currently having further discussion to look at any alternative options etc.


Outlined last Branch Committee that there had been a delay on the Academy Order for Thomas Walling – this has now come through and a meeting is scheduled for staff with HR and Trade Unions on 21st November to discuss TUPE arrangements. We have already met with staff when this was first under discussion and we will be attending on 21st.

Children’s Services DJC

This was held on 16th October. A lot of input from Teaching Unions regarding Strike Action on 17th October, Teaching Pay Policy and Appraisal/Performance.

Bump Redundancies were discussed for Teaching and Support Staff. Work has been on-going on this with HR.

Facility Time in schools and the DfE Consultation were discussed with a positive response from Local Authority to the benefit of facility time.

Mick McCracken gave an update on Residential Care Back Pay – see above.

Unison raised the availability of vaccination for flu for Support staff. A presentation had been given within Adults DJC by Dr Dawn Scott – Acting Director of Public Health.

Children’s Services Shop Stewards Meeting

This was held on 22nd October, minutes will be going out soon and the next meeting is due 19th November.


Report to Branch Committee, October 2013


Services currently under review are:

Cheviot View

Options for the future of Cheviot View are being considered alongside ideas to reduce running costs and seek income opportunities.


Academies and Foundation Trusts proposals are identified in Lynda Hardie's report along with proposed implementation dates.

A list of current Academies, Foundation Trusts and Free Schools was also presented to the October Branch Committee.

Current Academies, Foundation Trusts and Free Schools



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