Local Government Reorganisation
Trade union / Management Joint Meeting
10th August 2009
Mike Mullen – Head of HR (NCC)
Nick Cook – Director of Corporate Services (NCC)
Janice Barclay – HR Manager (NCC)
Ray Ashman – Head of Financial Management (NCC)
Joyce Guthrie (UNISON)
Alan Douglas (Unite)
Ian Fleming (UNISON)
Mark Wilson – GMB, Regional Organiser
Bill Thornton (GMB)
Kevin Crosby (GMB)
Andrew Gibson (GMB)
Tony Martin (Unison)
Jill Dixon - Executive Director, Performance (NCC)
Graham Eastwood (UNITE)
George Baker (GMB)
2 Minutes and matters arising
3 Update on staffing/redundancy etc
Nick confirmed that there are 2 colleagues (1.5fte) who are compulsory redundant in
relation to the LGR process.
Bill Thornton suggested that the HAVS cases may be resolved soon.
4 Voluntary Redundancy Expressions of Interest
A letter asking for expressions of interest for volunteers for redundancy will be sent to
employees shortly. There is c£33m savings to be made next year and inevitably this
will impact on jobs. Volunteers will be sought in the first instance, without obligation
on either side. At this point it there is no information on where staffing reductions can
be made but having information on volunteers will inform the debate.
Ian suggested that any volunteers should be updated on the progress/status of their
application and Janice agreed that more will be done to try and keep people updated.
However, many of the decisions lie with Heads of Service/Line Managers so it is
difficult for HR to know the status of each and every application.
Ian asked if those who had volunteered recently in Adult Care could be contacted
and updated on the position. Janice to follow up with Daljit. (Subsequently followed
up: a letter updating staff was sent on 18th September following the Executive
meeting – the draft letter was shared with the unions. Colleagues in Residential
Homes will be updated asap).
Ray Ashman provided an update on the budget position. He confirmed that c£33m is
the planned savings target for 2010/11. This will obviously be a challenge and is a
different order of magnitude from the level of savings that have been experienced in
previous years. Ray outlined the timetable:
Settlement announcement end November/ beginning December; thereafter advice to
the Executive which will trigger consultation with stakeholders, staff etc;
consideration by scrutiny and area committees between Dec and mid Feb;
consideration by a Special Executive meeting in January 2010; consideration by full
Council in mid-February 2010; set Council tax in Mid-February 2010.
Tony asked what the strategy was re: Council Tax rises and Ray commented that the
former NCC's policy in recent years had been to track inflation as measured by the
consumer price index. This is something that will be considered during the
Mark asked for clarification on whether the £33m included the LGR related savings
and Ray confirmed that that was the case.
Ian asked if it was correct that the Council is to make contact with the DCLG about
the budgetary position and Ray confirmed that all avenues are being pursued,
including contacting the DCLG, although in past years there had been little track
record of success for Northumberland and other Councils following contact with the
Tony asked if there could be presentations regarding the budget process. Ray to
follow up when appropriate.
5 Post Entry Training
Mike confirmed that most of the employees who had been jointly funded via the TUC
to do degree type courses would continue to be funded for the 2009/10 academic
year via the central training budget. Managers have been encouraged to allow study
release and any individual cases are being pursued. Ian thanked Mike for resolving
this matter and asked that managers would continue to be encouraged to support
6 Severance Scheme
Mark had raised this issue with Nick before the meeting and had received a response
via e-mail. Essentially, a request was put forward to extend the pre-October 09
scheme to certain groups of employees. Nick had not agreed this request.
Mark highlighted the Union’s contention that some employees have contractual rights
to their previous employer’s severance scheme.
Tony raised the issue of review of SLA’s. Mike confirmed that the general
position is that SLA’s transferred to the new Council on 1 st April 09 and
services would continue to be provided. However, most SLA’s will be
reviewed – Stuart Lawson’s team is looking at this. Janice to follow up with
Sarah Lowes. (Subsequent follow up: Sarah has collected information about
the Council’s current SLA’s and SMT is to consider the way forward/any
Bill asked about the number of agency workers continuing to be engaged by
the Council. Janice to follow up with John Harrison in the first instance. In
relation to Highways staff, this has been raised, via Sarah Kirk, with Richard
Robson at his union meetings.
It was confirmed that the recent S188 letters were not being sent to
employees, only to unions for consultation at this stage.
5 Dates of next meeting – confirmed below
It was agreed that LGR TU meetings are no longer necessary and the scheduled
dates would be more appropriately used for extended Single Status meetings.
Date 9.30 - 11 11 - 12.30 1.30 – 3 3 – 4.30
6th November Single Status Single Status
7th December Single Status Single Status