Here's an extract of a report from North Lanarkshire's Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) which met on 13 September 2016.
Now I said recently that if I were a Home Support worker in NLC I would be taking a very close interest in what the HSCP is saying and doing, not least when you read words like:
"This will necessitate an increased contribution from the independent and third sectors.."
"The current contracts will expire in March 2017. These contracts need to be re-negotiated via the approved procurement routes in order to maintain the current workforce levels"
".....it is proposed that this skilled workforce supports more complex needs as part of a multi-disciplinary team."
"A commission work team will evaluate new models of care and give consideration to remodelling processes and redesigning the workforce to introduce greater choice and flexibility for service users."
"The impact of increased costs (on the Home Support service) on the current funding envelope will need to be reviewed."
Now the local trade unions in North Lanarkshire are attending the HSCP partnership meetings, but as far as I know there has been little if anything, in the way of reporting back to members on the ground.
Even though the implications for Home Support jobs are clearly enormous.
North Lanarkshire Update (18/08/16)
I understand that a potentially crucial meeting of the Joint Integration Board (JIB) of North Lanarkshire's Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) is taking place on 12 September 2016 I believe.
As regular readers know this JIB/HSCP body is responsible for devising a detailed strategy to bring council-run care services and NHS services together, possibly under single service provider.
But as far as I can tell the ordinary rank-and-file members in North Lanarkshire Council know very little of what is going and how these discussions might affect their future interests.
So what I'd be interested to find out is whether there are any plans to brief members such as Home Care workers on what the JIB/HSCP has been discussing including options for the future os the service which have been the subject of speculation in the press.
Now if I were a member in NLC I would certainly expect a detailed report back from the union reps involved in these discussions, so that members can have their say and influence important meetings such as the one coming up on 12 September 2016.
If any readers have useful information or thoughts to pass on, drop me a note and I'll share the details on the blog site - in confidence, of course.
A kind reader has sent me a copy of a confidential report from a body known as the Joint Integration Board (JIB) of North Lanarkshire's Health and Social Care Partnership.
The JIB is just a fancy name for a big committee made up of very senior officials from North Lanarkshire Council and Lanarkshire NHS who have been charged with the task of getting social care (council-run) services and NHS services to work more closely together and more effectively, with a view to reducing 'bed-blocking' for example.
The report is dated 4 May 2016 which is important because the article below from The Motherwell Times with the banner headline "Home support staff are staying in-house" is dated 29 April 2016.
Yet the JIB report (dated a week later) says in Appendix 3:
4. Home Support
"Currently, around 77% of this service is provided in house, with 23% purchased from commissioned providers. The savings option was based on increasing the proportion the service purchased to 60%, although it would have remained the Service's intention to provide as much re-ablement and complex care as possible in-house whilst buying in more support overall."
Now the JIB statement directly contradicts a previous decision of North Lanarkshire Council and I find it hard to believe that such senior officials were not aware of the Council's new policy stance.
So why is the Health and Social Care Partnership still pressing head with plans to out-source much of North Lanarkshire Council's home care service?
If you ask me, the Home Care workforce deserves some urgent answers because this JIB business just doesn't sound right.
Home support staff are staying in-house
Friday 29 April 2016
Home support workers sent a clear message they wanted to remain as council employees
Home support workers employed by North Lanarkshire Council will not see their contracts being transferred to the private sector.
The council currently employs around 1,400 care staff who provide vital services to local people.
Following budget cuts, one of the proposals to save £3.6 million being considered was to ‘TUPE transfer’ around 400 staff to a third party private provider.
During a public consultation about potential savings the public told the council this was the sixth least palatable option of the 98 listed.
The workers themselves also submitted over 15,000 letters they had collected from the public calling on the council not to take this action.
At the Housing and Social Work Services Committee yesterday (Thursday) convener Barry McCulloch announced this proposal will not be going ahead.
Councillor McCulloch said: “I am glad to announce our home care support will be remaining in-house. This was always our preferred option.
“Everyone knows what a vital job these people do to support those in need in our local communities, and I’m glad this has now been dropped.
“This has been made possible by relocating people in some of our care facilities and by vacancies arising within the service.
“We look forward to our home support staff continuing to provide an excellent service in our communities.”
His Master's Voice (18/06/16)
The trade unions in North Lanarkshire have shown their willingness in recent weeks to act as a mouthpiece for the Council, as this post on the future of the Home Care services demonstrates only too well.
Days later the unions issue a joint press release with North Lanarkshire extolling the virtues of the late-running job evaluation (JE) review, yet the full details of this review have still not been released and the workforce remains firmly in the dark.
Strange days indeed and ordinary union members could be forgiven for asking what they are paying their union dues for, especially when the level of service and support is so poor.
NLC Update (27/05/16)
HOME SUPPORT MEMBERS
"in light of recent concerns over the future of home support, the bench asked the council to clarify its position on privatisation and TUPE transfer of home support workers.
"the council have assured UNISON that there are NO PLANS to privatise and TUPE transfer home support and that Cllr McCulloch's statement earlier this month where he said that privatisation was off the table still stands."
Now I think's it's a good thing that the union has been stirred into action, but why is Unison speaking on the Council's behalf?
Surely a senior figure from North Lanarkshire Council should be seeking these words 'on the record' was it were, otherwise they're not worth the paper they're not written on - as an old friend of mine was fond of saying.
Not only that, a clear statement of the Council's position should be sent to the Joint Integration Board of Lanarkshire's Health and Social Care Partnership so that the record can be set straight at its next meeting.