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Assurances Sought For Brighton Outsourced Services

Monday, December 1, 2014

GMB Seek Assurances On Brighton & Hove’s Integrated Community Equipment Services (Ices) After Vote To Outsource To Nottingham Rehab Supplies (NRS)

The aim now must be to ensure NRS don’t decimate the service and to safeguard the terms and conditions, pay and pensions of staff transferring to the private sector says GMB.

GMB are seeking assurances that when the ICES service in Brighton is outsourced to NRS that there will not be any downgrading of the service or detrimental changes to staff terms and working conditions.

Last month Brighton and Hove City Council councillors on the policy and resources committee voted to outsource the service with 6 voting in favour against 4 abstentions. This was after a union campaign to keep it in house. See notes to editors for previous GMB release.

The service is currently provided jointly by Brighton & Hove City Council and Sussex Community Trust. The service provides daily living and nursing equipment to people being cared for in the community within the Brighton and Hove area. It helps to increase patient safety and/or independence at home. The dedicated team support team are held in high regard by members of the public

Gary Palmer GMB Organiser said “Despite a hard fought campaign by staff, services users and unions to halt outsourcing the council has voted to outsource this service. This was not a surprise to staff in the end considering all that had gone before. However this is still an upsetting time for employees, who have worked tirelessly to make the service as efficient, effective and well thought of as it is now, to find themselves discarded by uncaring public employers.

The aim now must now not only look to ensure NRS don’t decimate the City’s service in an attempt to increase profitability once they begin to provide the service. Another aim has to be to safeguard the terms and conditions, pay and pensions of transferring staff from both Brighton & Hove City Council and Sussex Community Trust to an employer in the private sector.

Brighton & Hove Council Green administration seem happy to selectively privatise and outsource as many community services as possible in their remaining time in power in the City. They can be assured that GMB will not let any of the city's public services go into private profiteers hands without a fight. GMB call for greater responsibility by them in ensuring that when they leave in May next year they leave a legacy of services provided by the city for the city.”

End

Contact: Gary Palmer GMB Organiser 07552165950, Mark Turner GMB Branch Secretary 07860 787973, Charles Harrity GMB Senior Organiser on 07977 518042 or GMB press office 07921 289880

Notes to editors

Copy of GMB press release Sept 2014

GMB TO OPPOSE MOVE BY BRIGHTON AND HOVE CITY COUNCIL OFFICERS TO PRIVATISE INTEGRATED COMMUNITY EQUIPMENT SERVICES IN THE CITY

Options that the services are tendered locally or that the council continue the in house provision were both discounted and excluded out of hand by officers says GMB

GMB has launched a campaign to oppose Brighton & Hove City Council officers progressing with proposals to the Health and Well-Being Board to place Integrated Community Equipment Services (ICES) into the private sector.

The service is currently provided jointly by Brighton & Hove City Council and Sussex Community Trust. The service provides daily living and nursing equipment to people being cared for in the community within the Brighton and Hove area. It helps to increase patient safety and/or independence at home. The dedicated team support team are held in high regard by members of the public

Council officers were asked to consider all possibilities in regard to the future of the Equipment Service Provision. They were asked to base those recommendations upon both the increasing usage and activity within the service against being able to submit the most advantageous cuts to funding.

Four options were initially discussed with the unions. However the proposals now being submitted to Health and Well-Being Board contains only two options both of which are generated from and by private providers.

Gary Palmer, GMB Organiser, said “The report by the officers is disgracefully biased in content in an attempt to manipulate and scare the Health & Well-being Board members into recommending the privatisation of the current service.

Two options that the services were tendered locally or that the council look to continue the in house provision were both discounted and excluded out of hand by officers of the council.

The joint unions have written to board members asking them to refer the report back to their officers with a view to undertaking proper discussions with our members, their representatives and other stakeholders to fully explore all options fairly and openly, before returning with a more balanced proposal and recommendations.

The report lays out a host of negative figures in the costs for any in-house provision, whilst painting a picture of the ease for board members to choose private service provision and the ability therefore for the council to discharge themselves of any responsibility to current or future service users, stakeholders and staff. We find that reprehensible to say the least.

Once again the reputation of the council and its inability to commit itself to delivering full long term adult social care is impacting upon the residents and our members and staff.

The council’s record on the way staff who have been TUPE’d into the private sector and how ultimately they end up being treated isn’t encouraging, if we take recent events and issues that unions and our members had with Mytime Active and Mears into account.

So rightly our members are very concerned that service users will see a decline in the overall package of support they receive and that they themselves will end up potentially with changes to their terms and conditions, working environment and of course the inevitable pay detriment from any potential financial cuts.

The joint unions will do everything we can to robustly defend the current in house service by all means at our disposal.”

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