PAST EVENT Boris Johnson protest, Tuesday 17 January

London mayor Boris Johnson is holding one of his “TalkLondon” events in Barnet on Tuesday 17 January.

We will be there to protest against his policies for London and also against Barnet council who will be represented at the event by council leader Richard Cornelius.

The venue is the Peel Centre, Aerodrome Road, Hendon, nearest tube station is Colindale on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line. Protest is from 5.30-7pm.

The TalkLondon event starts at 7pm but doors open at 6pm and you are advised to come early if you want a ticket.

More details of the TalkLondon event: http://www.london.gov.uk/​talklondon/event

More details of the protest as we have them.

REPORT: Barnet residents challenge Travers at the Capita conference

Half a dozen Barnet residents from the Barnet Alliance went along on Tuesday 29 November to the Capita sponsored conference on outsourcing. Andrew Travers, Barnet Council’s deputy chief exec, was due to speak about the One Barnet outsourcing programme. We went to challenge the version of truth given by Travers.

  • Would he, we wondered, mention the fact that the One Barnet Programme has never been put before residents for their approval?
  • Would he mention the fact that the council workforce is taking industrial action over the terms of any eventual transfer to the private sector?
  • Would he mention the fact that residents have been banned from speaking about One Barnet at the council-run residents’ forums?
  • Would he mention the fact that Capita, who were hosting the conference, are also bidding for £750 million worth of business from Barnet Council?

If he were not going to mention it, we thought we must. We gave out leaflets to people attending the conference. We were not allowed to go inside, or even to cross the forecourt. The security guards would not deliver our request to meet with Andrew Travers to discuss our concerns.

The conference was a travesty of democracy. Is it right that the chiefs of outsourcing companies should have such privileged and unimpeded access to those at the top of local authorities who make the decisions about whether to outsource or not? We don’t think so!

The local Times series has written a report of our protest. Read it here.

Barnet Alliance supports pensions strikes on 30 November!

Barnet Alliance supports the public sector unions’ strike to defend their pensions on 30 November. We also want good occupational pensions in the private sector. And how about a decent state pension! Everyone deserves a decent old age, and the country CAN afford it!

Here is a list of picket lines tomorrow that we know about: there will be more. Please go and support the strikers. If their pensions are attacked we will all suffer; workers will work longer and services will decline. The Government’s attack on pensions is also a part of making the public sector more attractive to private sector companies bidding to run services. It is part of the outsourcing agenda!

If you are striking, have a successful day!

The picket lines start in the morning; some last all day. Many strikers and supporters will head to central London around midday for a march organised by the South East Region of the TUC. Barnet folk are meeting at the Cochrane Theatre, Southampton Row, WC1 at noon. The march assembles in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, from 12 and sets off at 1pm. It goes to Victoria Embankment for a rally at 2pm.

Picket lines in Barnet on 30 November

Barnet council sites:
North London Business Park N11 1NP (from 7am)
Barnet House N20 0EJ (from 7am)
Mill Hill Depot NW7 1BL (from 6am)
Hendon Library NW4 4BQ (from 9am)
Chipping Barnet Library EN5 4QT (from 9am)

Barnet College:
Wood Street EN5 4AZ and Grahame Park NW9 5RA (from 7.30am)

Middlesex University:
Hendon campus, The Burroughs

Civil service:
Barnet County Court, Regent’s Park Road, N3 1BQ
Berkeley House, 302-304 Regents Park Road N3 2JY

Please send strike reports, pictures, etc, to [email protected] We hope to feature some of them in the next issue of our newspaper Our Barnet, or use them on the blog.

Barnet residents protest against “One Barnet” claptrap at Capita conference, 29 November

Protest against “One Barnet” outsourcing, Tuesday 29 November, central London

On Tuesday morning 29 November Barnet residents will leaflet outside a conference organised by Capita - “New Models of Service Delivery - Opening Up Local Government Services to New Providers” - in protest against the proposed outsourcing of Barnet council services.

The protest is from 9am at Lancaster Hotel, Lancaster Terrace London W2 2TY (next to Lancaster Gate tube station).

The particular interest for Barnet residents is that “our” deputy chief exec Andrew Travers (a consultant earning £1,000 a day) will be speaking about the “One Barnet” Transformation Programme.

Capita is one of the big companies currently bidding for a £750 million, 10-year contract at Barnet to provide a New Support and Customer Services Organisation (call centre) to replace a lot of the existing admin functions at the council.

Not only do Capita have a disastrous record in providing such services, but Barnet Council has a disastrous record in both writing contracts and in ensuring that contractors keep to agreements.

We will be at the conference to expose Barnet council who want to pretend that their outsourcing programme has the support of staff and residents. It doesn’t. Council staff morale is at rock-bottom and they are involved in industrial action; residents have never been consulted about the privatisation programme.

It is particularly obscene that outsourcing companies and council chief execs should gather at a plush central London hotel opposite Hyde Park to cook up their plans, plans that will degrade public services and end in job cuts for thousands of council workers.

If you can join us and need to get in touch tel. 07719 283132.

Notice: Wednesday 30th November

There will not be a Barnet Alliance meeting at the Greek Cypriot Centre this Wednesday.  The next meeting will be on Wednesday 7th December.

Our Barnet issue no.3 out now: We want good pensions for all!

Issue 3 of our newspaper Our Barnet is back from the printers, and available soon on a street stall near you! If you would like copies to distribute - or one copy to read all for yourself - please email [email protected]

The front page headline is “We want good pensions for all!” Other main articles are:
- Barnet 2012: what lies ahead?
- Bring back EMA!
- Disabled people deserve better
- Housing: defend secure tenancies!
- Save Our Support Services (guest column by Campaign Against Destruction of Disabled Support Services)
- “Our Barnet” residents’ forums
- Young people demand a future - with jobs!

View the pages by clicking on the link:
Front page
Centre pages
Back page

Next ‘Our Barnet’ Residents’ Forum

This is the forum where you can have your say on any subject, ask a question on any subject, express an opinion on any subject. You will not be shouted down nor sidelined.

The date: Tuesday 29th November, the time: 7 - 9 p.m., the place: Larches House, 1 Rectory Lane, Edgware, HA8 7LF.

Council Residents’ Forums

Don’t forget to submit your questions for Wednesday’s Finchley & Golders Green forum at Avenue House, East End Road, N3 3QE and Thursday’s Chipping Barnet Forum at Barnet House, 1255 High Road, N20 0EJ. Even if you don’t ask a question, it’s important to be there to insist on answers to other people’s questions. Don’t let the Councillors or council Officers brush the issue aside.

It’s your council, accountable to you.

Councillor Rajput’s “Local Account” - Barnet council adult social services

Statement by Barnet Alliance for Public Services

A letter from Councillor Rajput, the Cabinet Member for Adult Services, was sent to voluntary sector organisations on 24 October, aimed at ‘all Barnet residents who have an interest in social care services’, asking ‘for their thoughts about what we should include in our first local report on adult social care services.’ He asked for replies by 19 November!

A ‘Local Account’ is actually a non-statutory self-assessment of the council’s performance, according to guidelines dictated by the national Department of Health. If the Council is indeed so serious about this exercise, why do they not explain that this is its purpose? And why do they give us so little notice? Sutton council, for example, have published their Local Account back in June…

Indeed, Cllr Rajput’s letter would have the appearance of democracy, if only the deadline for response was not so short – less than 4 weeks for responses that need to be collected through the organisations’ own networks, publications and focus groups. This time scale is certainly unrealistic if one has genuine intentions to listen to the public, including hard-to-reach communities.

However, when there is such a strong sense of deep discontent as evidence is accumulated to the deteriorating quality of life of users of social services and their carers following the cuts, the charging for and reduction of services; and when these are brought about by the same people who appeal to the public ideas for the Local Account, we may be right to suspect the motives of this box-ticking exercise. We may be right to feel this is disingenuous and aims to simply APPEAR democratic. We may be excused if we suspect that the Local Account report which will come out of such a rushed exercise will look much rosier than the reality that people with disabilities suffer lately. It may even aim to seek the public’s confirmation for further budget cuts to children’s and adults’ social services and preventative care.

That is why we, BAPS, decided we would not collude with this empty gesture.

Instead we asked the following questions at the Barnet Council cabinet’s budget meeting on 3rd November:

Public Questions relating to Appendix 4 para 9.2.4 of the report to the cabinet:
About the statement -
‘Investing in early intervention and prevention to reduce the number of children and families experiencing complex problems.’

• How will you implement this objective with less children centres, as we are aware of 8 children centres to be closed or their services reduced or outsourced?
• How many families are using the children centres now and how many will be able to access them after the change?
• How many staff members council employees are currently employed in them?
• Will any of these be made redundant if children’s centres closed or privatised?
• What will be the implications on the range of services and accessibility if children’s centres be outsourced?
• Are you going to consult the parents who are using early intervention and prevention facilities about the changes? If you are, how will you ensure you hear the opinions of hard-to-reach families?

About the statement -
‘Promoting greater independence, and a positive experience of care and support for carers.’
1. How will this be achieved when there are less services available to service-users, thus putting more pressure on family carers, when people cannot afford the same level of service as before now that they are being charged for services?
2. What support do carers get at the moment to make their experience of care positive?
3. At the moment there is only one carers’ nurse in the borough. Is her post guaranteed?
4. What other provisions are planned in order to ‘promote the positive experience of care and support for carers’?

About the statement -
‘Improving health and well-being, providing better outcomes for service users.’
1. How will the improvement of service-users’ well-being be achieved when people are forced to give up services due to Fairer Contribution policy, or to give up other elements of their quality of life in order to retain the level of services suitable for their health needs?

About the statement -
‘Promoting personalisation of services and enhanced quality of life for social service users.’
• How do you monitor the quality of life of social service-users?
• How do you monitor the impact of recent changes in social care policies on service-users quality of life?
• You previously promised that service-users will not suffer reduction in how their care needs are met; are you monitoring this? What are the figures for service users using services (home care and day services) before the changes of the last year and now?
• What will be the implications of the planned redundancies of social workers on the quality of life of service-users, their chance to be assessed for services and their ability to access them?
• What is the time scale for Care Needs Assessments, Carers’ Assessment and Contingency Plans now, and what will be the time scale with reduced numbers of social workers following this proposed redundancies plan and following the transfer of LD to the LATC?

Defend Our Pensions! Public meeting, Wednesday 16 November

Defend Our Pensions! - A joint public meeting of Barnet Alliance and Barnet TUC

The government’s pension proposals will leave public workers paying more, working for longer, getting less in retirement. This government’s pension plan is less about saving money, but rather to make privatisation more profitable for the private bidders. The reform, says public sector outsourcing specialists Lane Clark & Peacock, would lead to “more opportunities for a wider range of organisations to become involved in providing public services”.

With the anticipated numbers of people taking part in industrial action on 30th November, this has the potential to be the biggest day of industrial action ever seen in this country. The Government needs to get the message about how many people are opposed to their solution for the banking crisis – collecting the money from the poorest, who did nothing to create the problem.

If you are unclear what you think about the issue – come to the meeting and find out what we are saying.

Greek Cypriot Centre, Britannia Road, N12

Wednesday 16th November, 7pm-9pm

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 424 other followers