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Carillion Slammed By Swindon NHS Trust Report

Thursday, September 25, 2014

GMB Call For Talks To End Long Running Dispute In Swindon Hospital As Carillion Slammed By NHS Trust In Damning Report

NHS Trust report completely vindicates what GMB has said about Carillion since we were first approached by staff in 2011 and throughout the subsequent dispute says GMB.

GMB, the union for staff at Carillion at Great Western PFI Hospital in Swindon, commented on the report considered on 25th September by the Board of the NHS Foundation Trust which details significant concerns about the one star food hygiene rating, the cleanliness issues identified by the CQC last year and ongoing employee relations issues.  See notes to editors 1 for extract from the papers on Carillion to the board. The full papers are set out as a pdf at the foot of this release on GMB website at www.gmb.org.uk .

Kevin Brandstatter, GMB Regional Officer, said "This report completely vindicates everything GMB has said about Carillion since we were first approached by staff seeking our support in 2011 and throughout the subsequent long running dispute. See notes to editors 2  for latest GMB press release of 5th September 2014 on progress of this dispute.

GMB call on Carillion to heed this chorus of criticism from the NHS Trust and to talk to us to settle the dispute and get on with delivering the service they are paid to provide.

The Trust is well aware of the industrial relations issues on site and must be concerned by the high number of discrimination claims lodged with the Employment Tribunal, which are damaging to the reputation of the Trust.

The report drives a coach and horses through the notion that private companies such as Carillion should have any role to play in the health service and is a damning indictment of the Private Finance Initiative.

Great Western Hospital in Swindon is just one of 150,000 properties around the world where Carillion provide facilities management and support services. Even if the top managers are very good they cannot properly look after that vast number of buildings. Carillion's main aim from the very start has been to line their pockets with cash from Swindon Hospital.

As soon as it can, the Trust should end its relationship with Carillion and take these services in house to be run by directly employed and properly accountable staff in the interests of patients and not in the interests of profit.

Swindon GMB branch and GMB representatives working for Carillion have stuck with the campaign to alert the public of Swindon to the appalling service provided by Carillion, in the face of corporate bullying of the highest order.

What we are seeing in Swindon is the same high-handed arrogance that gave rise to 224 construction workers from around the UK being blacklisted by Carillion. They have yet to apologise for this or compensate their victims."

Contact: Kevin Brandstatter 07813 207 374 or Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary on 07801 343839 or Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin GMB National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs on 07956 632 657 or GMB Press Office: 07921 289880 or 07974 251823.

Notes to Editors

1 Extract from papers to board meeting

BOARD OF DIRECTORS A meeting of the Board of Directors will take place on Thursday, 25 September 2014 at 9.30 am in Lecture Hall 1, The Academy, Great Western Hospital, Swindon

Item 7 Chief Executive's Report - ongoing concerns with Carillion (Pages 23 - 28)

Nerissa Vaughan, Chief Executive

Text of Report on pages 23 to 28

Meeting and date: BOARD OF DIRECTORS – 25 SEPTEMBER 2014

Title: Chief Executives Report - ongoing concerns with Carillion

Summary of paper:

This paper outlines a range of ongoing issues with Carillion which the Trust is increasingly concerned about in terms of the potential impact on patients, visitors and our staff.

Whilst the paper details significant concerns about the one star food hygiene rating, the cleanliness issues identified by the CQC last year and ongoing employee relations issues, there are also a range of ‘hard FM’ issue the Trust continues to push Carillion to resolve.

The paper sets out the key concerns the Trust has about Carillion’s ability to tackle these issues to ensure our patients, visitors and staff are receiving the highest quality service.

Due to the nature of the issues, the Trust has lost confidence in Carillion’s ability to resolve these issues and the Trust continues to pursue all means necessary to ensure they remain focussed on addressing them.

Recommendations/ decisions required:

1. Support the work taking place to use any contractual means available to push Carillion and Semperian to resolve these issues once and for all for our patients.

2. Endorse the establishment of a small project group chaired by Steve Nowell to report to the Board providing a clear plan and timetable and in identifying risks and mitigations for any transition.

3. Request the most senior representation from Semperian and Carillion to present to the full Trust Board meeting to detail their plans for resolving these issues including clear, unambiguous timescales so the Board can hold them to account.

Link to Trust Priorities

(a) We will make the patient the centre of everything we do.

(b) We will build capacity and capability by investing in our staff, infrastructure and partnerships.

Link to Quality

(1) Safety (staffing, falls, never events, handover, SI, safeguarding, infection control, environment, medicines, equipment)

(2) Effectiveness(HMSR, SHMI, Mortality, Clinical audits, care bundles, deteriorating patient)

(3) Well led (staff survey, staffing levels, sickness rates, flu vaccinations rates, board/ward interactions, staff reports, governance and reporting, risk management, financial control)

Risk issues:

The information contained in this paper relates to a range of risks currently detailed in the Risk Register - risks which impact on quality, safety and/or reputation. Failure to adequately resolve the ongoing issues with Carillion will have a negative impact on patients, staff and the Trust.

Agenda Item 7 Page 23

Resource Implications: (financial / human / other resources)

Any additional resource implications will need to be considered, at present legal expenses are being incurred.

Regulations and legal considerations: (CQC considerations / Monitor requirements / link to NHS Constitution rights and pledges as necessary / Trust Constitution / legislative requirements)

Failing to meet key standards impacts directly on regulation i.e. CQC cleaning standards, Environmental Health food hygiene ratings.

Quality consideration and impact on patient and carers:

The risks identified in this paper pose a potential risk to patient care and staff wellbeing.

Consultation/ Communication:

Ongoing communication is maintained with Carillion and The Hospital Company through a Joint Management Board. The issue contained in this paper have been raised through the Board but have not yet been adequately resolved to our satisfaction.

Confidentiality: This report does not contain confidential information, publicity of which would be prejudicial to the public interest.

Equality Impact Assessment:

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation wants its services and opportunities to be as accessible as possible, to as many people as possible, at the first attempt.

This report has been assessed against the Trust’s Equality Impact Assessment Tool and there are no proposals or matters which affect any persons with protected characteristics.

Name of Lead Executive Director:

Maria Moore, Deputy Chief Executive, Director of Finance and Performance

Name of Author: Kevin Mcnamara, Director of Strategy Maria Moore, Deputy Chief Executive

Page 24

Ongoing concerns regarding the quality of Carillion provision

Background

Board members will be aware of the ongoing problems being experienced in relation to Carillion, the quality of the services they provide together with the management of the services they provide to patients, visitors and the Trust. These issues have been a frequent topic for Board discussions and debate for some time.

The concerns the Trust has regarding Carillion and the quality of their provision, relate to three key areas:

• Soft facilities management – cleaning, catering.

• Hard facilities management - estate maintenance and infrastructure

• General management – focus to deliver substantive improvements and change

Some of these ongoing issues have the potential for significant impact on patients, visitors and staff whilst some are an indication of the management effort required by the Trust to ensure a focus on delivery is maintained. The primary areas of concern, amongst a much longer list, are follows:

Environmental Health inspection

In April this year, the local Environmental Health Team inspected the kitchens and food preparation areas under Carillion’s responsibility. The EHO identified a number of issues, including:

• Chillers for sandwiches kept at the wrong temperatures outside of DH/EHO guidance

• Inadequate calibration of temperature probes meaning inadequate assurance around food safety

• Unclear date labelling on food

• Food storage equipment recording the wrong temperatures with no attempt to resolve

• Uncovered food in freezers and an example of out of date food

• Sanitising solution in ward kitchens not always available

As a result Carillion have been given a one star environmental health rating (out of five) and received an Improvement Notice.

The Improvement Notice was lifted on the 27th June 2014 however the one star rating remains.

Carillion have been working on a plan to improve standards to achieve a three star rating in the next inspection (due October/November) which will leave the Trust at a satisfactory level only.

The Trust is unaware of any other Trust being given a one star rating in relation to food hygiene and is something that is completely unacceptable to Board. Immediate action was taken at that time and the Trust placed Carillion under significant pressure to address the concerns immediately.

Cleanliness

In October 2013, an unannounced inspection by the CQC highlighted concerns and lack of compliance with regards to the standards of cleanliness on the wards.

Since that time significant effort has gone into raising standards and ensuring the audit and assurance processes are robust enough to identify any cleanliness issues. However, whilst standards have improved, there is intensive nursing and management input required by the Trust to ensure standards do not slip and concerns remain regarding Carillion’s ability to deliver cleaning services to the required standard detracting vital Trust resources from other priority areas.

Page 25

Industrial relations dispute impacting on quality of service

Since December 2011, Carillion have been in an industrial relations dispute with a Trade Union following concerns raised by housekeeping staff about holiday entitlement, working practices and other allegations. This dispute has resulted in a large number (circa 50) employment tribunal claims lodged against Carillion by their own staff. This process is still ongoing with currently no timescale for resolution and it is clear distraction from the day to day service we require and pay for.

Current situation

The Trust does not hold a contract with Carillion. Instead, through the PFI, Carillion are contracted to provide these services by Semperian effectively the ‘owners’ of the building under the PFI agreement.

This therefore means that Carillion’s failings are an issue not only for the Trust in how we protect patients and maintain the quality of patient care, but also for Semperian PPP Investment Partners who we pay for the hospital and to sub-contract the hard and soft FM services.

The ongoing problems we have experienced with Carillion and their inability to resolve some of the more long running issues therefore reflect poorly on both Carillion itself and Semperian.

The important point for the Board to focus on, is not simply this being a contractual issue between companies, but this is a fundamental issue of ensuring the quality of care and treatment we provide to patients is the best it can be. It is also a reputational issue for the Trust in so far as the continual issues with poor quality are adversely impacting on our reputation amongst patients and key stakeholders.

Concerns about food hygiene and cleanliness, have posed a potential risk to patients, visitors and staff which is completely unacceptable. It is the view of the Executive Team that issues have not been taken as seriously as they should be by Carillion as resolving these outstanding issues is slow and any improvements made are not being consistently maintained.

Despite senior meetings between the three main parties on these and other issues (the Trust, Carillion and Semperian PPP Investment Partners who contract Carillion) there remain serious concerns about Carillion’s ability to deliver services to the required standard.

It is therefore increasingly frustrating and disappointing that serious issues regularly arise and the Trust now lacks the confidence in Carillion neither in being able to resolve these issues once and for all, nor in their ability to foresee and prevent other, as yet unknown issues, from impacting on patient services.

For us, the absolute priority is patient care and we are unapologetic about expecting the highest standards of service from Carillion and swift action from Semperian – our patients expect it and the Board demands it.

Our position in the contract

There is clearly a risk to quality and safety which needs to be addressed and Carillion have not demonstrated the ability to adequately resolve any one of these major issues to the required standard, let alone all of them together.

The Board will be aware that the Trust periodically undertakes a formal benchmarking exercise which provides an opportunity to market test the service, however the benchmarking is due to take place in 2018 and therefore does not provide a more immediate solution.

Page 26

At the last meeting of the Board, it was resolved that legal advice would be taken to detail what options are available to us as a Trust. The Chief Executive of the Trust has also written to Semperian to ask what plans they have to rectify the situation but as yet we have not received an adequate response.

It is acknowledged that as a PFI hospital, the contract for provision is extremely complicated. Good legal advice is therefore crucial and this work which is ongoing. To ensure that impetus is maintained and this course of action is well planned and executed, a project group is being established, Chaired by Steve Nowell as Non-executive Director to oversee this work and also consider the wider implications and planning about potential future provision of the service and to continue to explore the potential for alternative service provisions. There will be risks that need to be managed and mitigated through any potential transition, and this group will report to the Board on plans and progress. In the interim, Carillion is still expected to deliver the services under the contract and we need to ensure they are identifying and addressing issues swiftly and putting in place processes and actions

to ensure similar issues do not arise. At the last Board meeting the Board endorsed a review of the Joint Management Board – the group which bring the three parties together to ensure the focus on quality and safety is maintained.

The scope of this review is being agreed with the Auditors and our new Director of Estates and Facilities.

The Trust will continue to push both Carillion and Semperian to double their efforts on achieving a minimum of a three star rating at the next EHO inspection.

Recommendations

The Board is asked to:

1. Support the work taking place to use any contractual means available to push Carillion and Semperian to resolve these issues once and for all for our patients.

2. Endorse the establishment of a small project group chaired by Steve Nowell to report to the Board providing a clear plan and timetable and in identifying risks and mitigations for any transition.

3. Request the most senior representation from Semperian and Carillion to present to the full Trust Board meeting to detail their plans for resolving these issues including clear, unambiguous timescales so the Board can hold them to account.

Page 27

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2  GMB press release 5th September

EMPLOYMENT APPEAL TRIBUNAL RULES THAT CLAIMS BY GMB MEMBERS AT SWINDON HOSPITAL FOR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CARILLION CAN BE HEARD AT EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL

This is a great result for these hospital workers involved in this long running dispute and gives an opportunity to expose Carillion’s scandal at Swindon to proper legal scrutiny says GMB

A decision in favour of GMB members employed by Carillion at the Great Western PFI Hospital in Swindon has now been handed down by Mr Justice Wilkie of Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).

The decision arises from hearing that took place on 1st July at the EAT before Mr Justice Wilkie in the long running dispute between GMB and Carillion at the Great Western PFI Hospital in Swindon. See notes to editors 1 for progress in the dispute to date.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal hearing following an employment tribunal judge’s finding in early 2013 that 51 Swindon hospital workers could not amend their employment tribunal claims against Carillion to include allegations of harassment and indirect race discrimination, and further allegations of direct race discrimination.

On 1st September 2014 Judgement was handed down. Mr Justice Wilkie found the employment tribunal judge had erred in law by not allowing claims of harassment and indirect race discrimination to proceed.  He further remitted the cases back to the employment tribunal judge to decide whether allegations post-dating the original claims should be included.

This means 51 GMB members at the hospital will now be able to pursue their claims before the employment tribunal and hold Carillion to account for race discrimination, bullying and harassment and victimisation.

GMB members work as porters and housekeepers in catering and cleaning and other support roles at the Swindon PFI hospital. GMB members originally voted overwhelmingly in December 2011 for strike action in protest against bullying and discrimination at the hospital. GMB members demanded that Carillion management act to stop the culture of bullying on the contract and for an end to discrimination in the application of pay and conditions on the contract.

GMB members took 21 days of strike action but the company was not prepared to uphold any of the grievances of the staff. As a consequence GMB filed discrimination claims on behalf of the members at the Employment Tribunal (ET). There was a preliminary hearing in ET which was held on during December 2012 and January 2013. GMB launched an appeal against the ET decision on 13 March 2013. 

In a separate dispute GMB is taking Carillion to the High Court seeking compensation and is calling for them  and others firms to be excluded from tendering for any further public sector contracts until they compensate workers that they blacklisted. See notes to editors 2 for details of Carillion blacklisting.

Shazia Khan, Partner at law firm Bindmans LLP, said "This is a group of workers who allege to have been subjected to prolonged extortion and debasing treatment by their multinational employer.   It is absolutely right that Carillion should be held to account for its alleged unlawful discriminatory conduct before the Employment Tribunal. "

Maria Ludkin, GMB National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs, said “This is a great result for the Swindon hospital workers, which will now allow their claims for discrimination to proceed to trial. We are looking forward to the opportunity to expose Carillion scandal at Swindon to proper legal scrutiny”.

End

Notes to Editors:

1 Progress of GMB dispute with Carillion in Swindon from December 2011 up to September 2014.

The GMB members work as porters and housekeepers in catering and cleaning and other support roles at the Swindon PFI hospital. The industrial action only involves GMB members who work for Carillion. It does not involve the more than 200 GMB members who work for the NHS Trust or the ambulance service at the Great Western Hospital.

GMB members originally voted overwhelmingly in December 2011 for strike action in protest against bullying and discrimination at the hospital. GMB members demanded that Carillion management act to stop the culture of bullying on the contract and for an end to discrimination in the application of pay and conditions on the contract.

GMB submitted a formal complaint by 109 staff over allegations of bullying in December 2011. During the early months of 2012 90 staff members gave evidence of terrible bullying.
In total GMB members have taken 21 days of strike action so far. They took part in 24 hour stoppages on 14th, 21st and 23rd Feb over bullying, harassment and discrimination by local Carillion management. These were followed by 3 further days of strike action on 27th, 28th and 29th February. There were five days of strike action between 8th & 12th March. A further seven days strike took place between March 17th and March 23rd. There was a march and rally in Swindon on March 17th. The 19th day of strike action took place on May 16th. There was also a public meeting in Swindon on that date. The 20th day of strike action was on June 11th when the strikers visited GMB Congress in Brighton. These members took part in a further one day stoppage on Sunday 15th July. This was the twenty first day of strike action by these workers who took part in the march and rally at Tolpuddle that day.
In June 2012 these GMB members learned that a second investigation by Carillion into complaints by members found evidence of bribery and shakedowns on the contract. Written reports of the second investigation into GMB members’ grievances was circulated to members also admitted to racism, bullying and intimidation.

Carillion did not invite GMB to discuss the outcome of the second investigation. Instead the company issued disciplinary proceedings against 10 GMB members who were the whistleblowers and the victims of the bullying and ‘gold for employment rights’. These members have now been found guilty of being “shaken down”. GMB is appealing these guilty verdicts.

The manager at the heart of the bullying allegations left Carillion in February 2012. At talks with GMB in February 2012 Carillion said that they had reluctantly accepted the resignation of the manager at the centre of the dispute but that they were not prepared to uphold any of the grievances of the staff. As a consequence GMB filed discrimination claims on behalf of the members at the Employment Tribunal.

There was a preliminary hearing in ET which was held on 12, 13 December 2012 and 18 January. The ET decision appealed was 13 March 2013 to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT). The EAT hearing took place on 1 July 2014 and a decision was handed down on 1st September 2014. 

2 Carillion and blacklisting.

In a separate dispute GMB is calling for Carillion and others firms to be excluded from tendering for any further public sector contracts until they compensate workers that they blacklisted.

224 construction workers from around the UK were victims of blacklisting by Carillion. The names, on the files of the blacklisting body The Consulting Association, were released in the course of an Employment Tribunal in early 2012 when Carillion was accused of blacklisting a construction worker in London.

The 224 people blacklisted by Carillion were either based in or tried to obtain work in the following areas ( with numbers in the area  listed in brackets): Barnsley (1), Birkenhead (2), Blackburn (5), Brentwood (1), Bristol (1), Caernarfon (2), Canvey Island in Essex (1), Chatham in Kent (3), Cheshire (1), Chester (1), Cleator Moor in Cumbria (1), Clwyd (5), Croydon (1), Derby (1), Dundee (1), Edinburgh (2), Ellesmere Port (3), Essex (1), Folkestone (1), Gateshead (1), Glasgow (1), Gravesend (1), Grimsby (1), Hartlepool (2), Hillingdon (1), Irvine (1), Isle of Man (10), Kent (58), Kirkby (1), Leeds (2), Liverpool (14), Livingston (3), Llandudno (1), London (39), Lowestoft (1), Manchester (13), Merseyside (5), Mold (1), North Wales (1), Oldham (1), Plymouth (1), Rayleigh (1), Romford (2), Rotherham (4), Scunthorpe (1), Sheffield (1), Sherburn in Elmet in North Yorkshire (1), Stanford-le-Hope in Essex (2), Sunderland (1), Surrey (1), Thatcham in Berkshire (1), Uxbridge (3), Warrington (1), West Wickham (1), Wirral (5) and Woodbridge in Suffolk (1). See map for aggregated details. Some areas are listed more than once as the addresses on the blacklist are not complete.

This information is contained in a GMB report “BLACKLISTING - illegal corporate bullying endemic, systemic and deep-rooted in Carillion and other companies” which is published at GMB Congress in  Brighton in 2012. The report is available as a pdf on the GMB website at www.gmb.org.uk .

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. See notes to editors 2 for the 97 areas in Scotland listed alphabetically where workers blacklisted are from with numbers.

In July 2014, Leigh Day, acting for GMB, began action in the High Court in London seeking compensation for 122 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and other firms. GMB’s claims are joined with a further 449 claims by other unions and parties.

In June 2014 talks between GMB and lawyers representing eight construction employers on a compensation scheme for 3,213 blacklisted workers broke down in June over the amount of money being put into the scheme by the employers. The eight construction employers are Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC.

Following the breakdown of talks these employers announced that they are unilaterally going ahead with a scheme GMB estimates will cost these employers between £15m and £20m. This is less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms in the talks.

 

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Additional Resources

Great Western Hospital Carillion Report

download pdf2912Kb (pdf) - 25 September 2014

Full report