Children’s prevention: branch at Select Committee

West Sussex County Council is finalising a major restructure exercise which will impact on over 500 staff who provide support to vulnerable children and families. Such staff include those working in Children & Family Centres, Youth Services, Think Family teams, and so on.

The Council aims to save £6million whilst maintaining outputs through a more integrated system. £2.75million is to come from cuts to the Healthy Child Programme contract currently delivered by the NHS (school nurses and health visitors). £3.2million is still left to find from council services by 2020, including £1.8million next year.

The branch lobbied Councillors on potential outsourcing at their Select Committee in September. On December 8th, Branch Secretary Dan Sartin went back to the Committee to put over staff concerns about the impending restructure.

You can watch Dan’s comments and responses to Councillors’ questions online:

A commitment was given by managers at the Select Committee that the change could be achieved largely without redundancies. UNISON welcomes this, but it does not mean that staff should be forced to take unsuitable alternative roles they do not want.

We have concerns also about increased workload passing to staff if the new structure does not provide the efficiencies hoped for. UNISON therefore has secured commitments that the current staff experience – how you are coping – will be baselined in March and then monitored going forward. We also secured a commitment from the Select Committee that it would review progress of the new structure after six months and again at one year in.

The consultation goes live on 11th January. We will be in touch with members affected then, and would urge UNISON members to give their feedback to the branch office rather than direct to management as non-members have to do.