Wednesday 2 March, 7pm, 79 The Burroughs, NW4 4AX
Capita contract review: Public evidence collection session
Labour councillors will be holding their first public evidence session on the performance of the Capita Customer and Support Group contract on Wednesday 2 March at 7pm at 79 The Burroughs, NW4 4AX. The Labour group have decided to hold these public evidence sessions after Conservative Barnet Council refused to hold in public working group meetings to review the ten year £320 million Capita contract that runs customer care and back-office services.
The session will be hearing evidence from Keith Nason, Secretary of Barnet National Union of Teachers, Mary Goodson, Barnet GMB Convenor and John Dix (aka Mr Reasonable) who writes a blog about value for money in Barnet Council services.
All members of the public are welcome to attend and listen to the evidence. The Labour group would also like to invite any members of the public to speak who would like to share their experience of any of the following Capita-run council services: Customer Services, council tax collection, housing benefit, IT, HR, finance, procurement or estates. If you would like to give evidence or speak at the meeting about any of these council services please let us know by booking a 3 minute slot here.
If you would like to give evidence or make any comments about the Capita run-services in writing or confidentially please email us at email@example.com.
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CORRECTION – 1 March, Full Council re Budget; 4 April Full Council re Libraries
In the last newsletter we mistakenly gave wrong dates for upcoming important council meetings. To clarify:
The Budget meeting (including decision about the Council Tax setting) will be in Full Council, Tuesday 1st March, 7 pm.
The final decision on the libraries' strategy is expected on Full Council, Monday 4th April 7 pm. There will be a lobby outside the Hendon Town Hall from 6.
For Your Information:
The Residents Forums planned for 30th March have been cancelled, so far without an explanation. We approached the council to ask for clarification.
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Thursday 3 March from 3:30-4:30 pm, East Finchley library
No library for me? How Can That Be?
Celebrate World Book Day and protest against Barnet Council’s plans for “unstaffed” libraries which mean that children under 16 will not be allowed to visit on their own.
The East Finchley library will be unstaffed most weekdays after school.
The Council is making a final decision on the proposals in a few weeks’ time.
Join us outside East Finchley library on Thursday 3 March from 3:30pm until 4:30pm
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CONSULTATIONS – Have Your Say
Parks and Open Spaces consultation / until 13 March 2016
The council's website says: 'We want to ensure that parks and open spaces meet the needs of Barnet residents now and in the future. [read more here]...'
Barnet is fortunate to have many parks and open spaces. However, the Green Belt and other open lands in and around Barnet are now possibly under greater threat due to pressure to build and the government’s relaxation of planning legislation. What are the council's plans for them? Is Barnet council considering a sale or significant change of use of our parks and open spaces? If so, how will that affect the quality of life of current and future residents of Barnet? Have your say.
Recycling and Waste Strategy and Future Delivery until 13 March 2016
The council's website says: 'To help us manage recycling and waste over the next 14 years, we have created a draft recycling and waste strategy, and are looking at how we will deliver our services up to 2030. We want everyone in Barnet to play their part in keeping our local environment clean and protecting our wider environment ... '
Customer Access Strategy until 14 March 2016
The council's website says: 'We want to improve our customer services and make it easier for our residents to transact with us. Our vision is that by 2020, over 80% of contact with the council will be online or via other digital means such as automated telephone solutions ... '
The council's website says: 'Barnet is currently investing in new school places to meet the unprecedented growth in pupil numbers. Alongside the substantial growth in overall pupil numbers, we are also anticipating that the next decade will see considerably higher levels of demand for specialist places for children with Special Educational Needs...'
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This is an all encompassing threat, and therefore pressure on the local as well as the national and international authorities is of vital importance. We wrote a lot about TTIP in previous newsletters and on our website. If you need fresh reminder about the danger of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment 'Partnership' (TTIP), here is an article about the Three Ways in which TTIP Will Violate Your Human Rights. And here is an article about the ICS (the special courts in which corporations can sue governments over loss of profits). Or you an watch this 15 min Spanish (English subtitles) video, or you can find numerous other sources of information about it on the internet.
BAPS has initiated and is supporting a campaign calling Barnet council to declare the borough of Barnet a TTIP-free zone, as did many other council in the UK and other European countries. To support it please sign the petition: Barnet/raising concerns on TTIP
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WE OWN IT!
Stop bankers selling off our stations
Network Rail has asked Citigroup bankers to help them sell off 18 public railway stations across the country: Birmingham New Street, Bristol Temple Meads, Edinburgh Waverley, Glasgow Central, Leeds, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Reading and the London stations.
If stations are sold off for a quick buck, we'll lose future profits and we'll lose control over these public spaces. Tell Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, to stop taking advice from bankers and listen to passengers instead. We want a public railway - trains and tracks - and we want to keep our stations. No more privatisation, no more fragmentation.
[See We Own It for more info]
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Tuesday 15 March 2016, 10 – 3.30pm
Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS
Crisis in Care and Caring – SERTUC Pensioners Network Seminar
An open invitation to union and non-union participants
Every week we hear about failures in the care services: neglect and ill treatment in residential homes, limited care times and poor service in users' own homes. This is aggravated by the bad working conditions and low pay of carers.
What can we do to support and improve conditions both for service users and service providers? This Seminar will outline the problems of the system, point to new ways forward and give participants the opportunity to express their own views.
This event is FREE, and Congress House is a fully accessible building.
Lunch will be provided
Guest speakers include:
Barbara Keeley MP, Shadow Minister for Older People, Social Care and Carers
Jan Shortt, Vice President, National Pensioners Convention
If interested in attending please call 020 7467 1220 or email Dlewis@tuc.org.uk. More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/southern-and-eastern/events