Children’s Centres Proposal Update – Nov 2016

Dear colleagues

As you know, in July 2016 there was a legal challenge to the Cabinet’s decision on the redesign of children’s services. The High Court held that the claim lacked any merit and the council went ahead with the implementation of the changes.

In October 2016 an application for permission to appeal the High Court decision was made and the hearing for that application was heard yesterday afternoon, in the Court of Appeal.

The outcome of the hearing was that the claimants have been granted permission to appeal, with the appeal itself to be heard on 7 and 8 December.

As part of this process the Court has directed that the council must not take certain actions pending the appeal hearing. The actions are that the council cannot provide staff with letters on 28 November detailing the outcomes of the selection process for the integrated children’s service. Unfortunately this direction means we will not be able to issue these letters until soon after the hearing, at the earliest.

The council believes it has a strong case and considers the appeal unlikely to succeed. We would hope therefore to be in a position to issue the letters as soon as possible after 8 December, though this will of course be dependent on the Court’s decision.

I am aware that some staff have already received notification of voluntary redundancy and this process will not impact that decision.

Discussions have taken place with Action for Children and the Sunshine Centre to ensure that our partners are aware of the appeal, but at this stage there are no implications for these commissioned services.

I am sorry for this further delay in what is already a stressful process for staff and will of course keep you fully updated as to how the appeal process progresses. The council would not wish to be in this position but does of course respect the court ruling.

If there are any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact the integration team (eiservicereview@oxfordshire.gov.uk).

If you do require support please do speak to your line manager. The Employee Assistance Programme is also available 24 hours / 7 day a week. This free, confidential personal service offers expert advice and information on matters such as financial issues, benefits and tax credits as well as specialist counselling on family or personal issues. It can be accessed online or by phone on 0800 882 4102. You will need to provide the following information: Username “Directorates”, Password “Oxfordshire”.

I do want to apologise for sending this information out on a Friday afternoon but we have only been made aware of the position today and we wanted to make you aware of the situation before you read about it in the press

I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank you for your professionalism and continuing support to the children and families of Oxfordshire

Lucy Butler, Deputy Director, Children’s Social Care & Early Intervention

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Stars In Our Schools 2016

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Celebrate support staff on 25 November 2016 – Visit the Stars in our schools website

Stars in our Schools is a celebration of school support staff. UNISON has organised the day to celebrate the wonderful work they do every day and to make sure the world knows just how vital they are to children’s education.  Schools across the UK hold awards ceremonies, put on special assemblies and some staff even dress up as super heroes.

School support staff keep children safe and healthy

Children need to be in a safe and healthy environment to flourish. There are many people who work together to make this happen: supervisors; crossing patrol officers; child protection officers; cleaners; caretakers; janitors; catering staff; and parent support advisers.

School support staff help children learn

Great teachers combined with great support staff equals students who excel. There are many types of support staff that help children learn: teaching and classroom assistants; learning support assistants; learning mentors; librarians; science technicians; ICT technicians; food technicians; and design and technology technicians.

School support staff keep schools running smoothly

Schools are complex organisations that need to be managed with the upmost precision. School support staff do this, they are the: School business managers; cover supervisors; examination officers; school attendance officers; admin assistants; finance officers; and secretaries.

Nominate A Star Online — Stars in Our Schools

Do you know a school support staff worker who is an absolute star and deserves recognition?  If so, nominate them for this year’s Stars in our schools competition and you could both win a £25 M&S voucher each

We have 24 £25 M&S vouchers to give away – one for a Star in each region and one for the person who nominates them.

The deadline for entering is Friday 2 December

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UNISON In Support Of Refugee Action’s ‘Let Them Learn’

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UNISON has posted 5 ways Branches can help refugees this Christmas, you can read about it here.

Refugees who have found safety in the UK want to rebuild their lives and be part of  their new communities. Sadly, they have a huge obstacle to restarting their lives, because there aren’t enough English classes.  In recent years, the UK government has cut funding to English language classes by over 50%. These funding cuts have resulted in shortages of availability, long-waiting lists, and other barriers to participation.

The hurdles can be even higher for women as classes with childcare facilities are rare. This means they are at greater risk of becoming further isolated at home, rather than being able to get involved in their new communities and make friends.

UNISON is supporting Refugee Action’s campaign to ensure proper funding for English language classes for ALL refugees. Throughout October and November, we are asking those interested in supporting the campaign to go and see their MP – talk to them, invite them to an event, email or write – and outline why refugees should be given access to English language teaching.

Branches, activists and members who would like to get involved in this work can find information, a template letter for use with MPs and a briefing by visiting Let Refugees Learn

For further information about this work, please contact n.thiranagama@unison.co.uk

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Save Our Services Event At Parliament 16th November

As you will know, social care services that support older people (aged over 65) – mainly homecare, residential care and, day care services – are vital for them to live independent and happier lives at home and in their communities. Age UK has estimated that £1.95bn has been lost from social care budgets over the past 10 years due to central government cuts. It is clear that these cuts are having a detrimental impact on older people’s services.

As part of research UNISON is currently compiling, we carried out a survey of social care workers on their experience of the impact of budget cuts over the past six years. 64% of the 1,075 respondents said that they had found there was a higher number of patients with more intensive care needs. At the same time, 65% of the responders said there fewer staff and 63% of the respondents said that they had less time to spend with patients. So as demand for services has increased, there are fewer staff, spending less time with patients.

On 16th November UNISON will be holding an event at parliament for MPs to show their support for the SOS campaign and to raise awareness of the impact of cuts to social care services for older people.

Parliamentary drop-in session on Wednesday 16 November to raise awareness of the devastating impact of cuts to older people’s social care services. There will also be the opportunity to have your photo taken in support of the campaign day and sign a pledge board that will read:

“I call on the government to increase funding to older people’s social care services.”

We will be asking MPs to come to our event, pick up a copy of UNISON’s latest report on the impact of cuts The Damage: Care in Crisis and talk to our members and activists about their experiences of cuts and the SOS campaign’s call for increased funding to social care services that support older people. We will also be asking MPs to take a photo and sign a pledge board to show their support for the campaign.

Please write to your MP and tell them about the SOS campaign using the key messages in the briefing attached. Ask him/her to show their support for the SOS campaign by attending our parliamentary event (please see the event page on the UNISON website for more details).

We are also looking for activists who are available to attend this event on Wednesday 16th November and are happy to talk to MPs about their experiences of working in social care services – particularly homecare, residential care and day care services.

If you would like to attend this event, please contact us at SOS@unison.co.uk , with your contact details and your constituency (so that we can encourage your MP to attend the event).

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Oxford UNISON LGBT Group

LGBT Oxford Meeting

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