ECSG updates from the frontline: February 2020

ECSG updates from the frontline: February 2020

Prospect negotiators for the education and children's services group give their updates from the last month.



Claire Dent – Negotiations officer for London and the South East

Chris Manning – Negotiations executive for the Midlands and South

Daniel Maney – Negotiations Officer for Wales

Angela Moffatt – Negotiations Officer for Northern Ireland

Stuart Anderson – Negotiations Executive for Scotland, North and North west

Claire Dent

It has continued to be a relatively quiet period in Education and Children’s Services in relation to collective issues and restructures. However I have continued to support individual members and consult on various changes within areas.

Medway

Medway Council are forecasting a spending gap of £6m this year. This is in line with many other councils I cover. It is hoped that this will not result in job losses. They have also been awarded an inadequate score on the latest Ofsted inspection on their Children Services. The report also highlighted concerns around the Early Help service. They have a plan for improvement and feel positive that this situation can be rectified with support from the DfE.

Croydon

Octavo continue to consult around the move of their services back into the control of the Council. There are no expected redundancies from this move and staff will be transferred with effect from the 1/4/20. I have not received any concerns from members concerning this move.

Early Years

On behalf of the ECS GEC I have recently submitted Prospect’s response to the Early Years Reform Consultation. Prospect continue to ensure our professional views are submitted to all consultations that affect our members in education.

Personal cases

As previously reported, the member challenging her Soulbury pay in Central Bedfordshire had lodged a grievance. The outcome is not what we hoped for so we will continue to challenge this, if necessary through the National Soulbury Committee.

I am currently supporting a member in a Local Authority who has been accused of harassment. This arose when the student she was supervising was challenged on her capability. The LA has failed to follow a robust process, completely ignoring its own policies when addressing concerns. The member had voiced her concerns but it was only when Prospect challenged the process that that this was reviewed.

Recruitment 

Recruitment has been steady over the last few months, peaking during Prospect’s Union Week in November. This demonstrates that encouraging members to talk to their colleagues about the benefits of union membership really makes a difference. You are the best advocates for why union membership is so important.

As you can see from the above personal cases having someone to speak up for you when there is an issue is so important. Please think about how you can make our voice stronger. You could act as a local rep, there’s plenty of training for that role. Alternatively agreeing to be my point of contact in your area, arranging member meetings or just putting some posters up on a board, everything helps. Please contact my office at WakefieldOffice@prospect.org.uk if you think you can help.

Chris Manning

Things have been extremely quiet across the ECS Group in the South and South West regions. I have supported nine ECS Group members since the beginning of November with individual cases involving various workplace issues.

I have had continuing involvement supporting members through restructures in Dorset and Northamptonshire and I have been attending regular consultation meetings with Hampshire County Council.

The week of 10th to 16th February is Prospect’s annual “Heart Unions Week” and we are encouraging branches and members to get involved by organising events or activities to help showcase what we do and recruit more members.

We will be running our three months' free membership offer during the week and if you think that there could be an opportunity to recruit some of your colleagues into Prospect, or if you would like someone from Prospect to visit your workplace and talk to non-members about the benefits of joining, please email wakefield@prospect.org.uk to let us know and we will work with you to arrange the appropriate recruitment activity.

Daniel Maney

I have only taken over recently the education front here in Wales but already there’s been a new curriculum for Wales published!

The new Curriculum for Wales marks a change of culture from one of telling schools what to do and what to teach, to one which gives the responsibility to schools for developing a curriculum that works best for all their children and young people, within a national framework.

The new curriculum will be taught in all schools and funded non-maintained settings up to Year 7 from September 2022. It will then roll out year by year until it includes Year 11 by 2026.

Angela Moffatt

Your Education Authority Northern Ireland workplace representatives are:

  • Glenn Walsh
  • Peter McAlister 

Collective Issues and meetings with management

A heavy schedule of meetings with EANI has taken place, and we have a calendar of meetings for 2020 including HR, JNC, Policy development, NJC grading and the Joint Directorate Forum meetings for Education, CYPS, Finance/ICT, Ops & Estates.

If you would like any updates or info on these meetings, let us know – or if you have any group issues you think should be raised in these forums.

Member cases: group & individual issues

We continue to be kept busy with individual and small group issues for EA members on an ongoing basis. If you need help or advice, please get in touch ni@prospect.org.uk

Stuart Anderson

A number of restructures across the local authorities that I deal with concluded, either just before Christmas or in the New Year. This means that members will have changed job roles and will be facing new challenges often with diminished resources.
 
It would be Prospect's advice to raise any issues from a restructure at an early stage with an appropriate manager, so they can be dealt with as soon as possible and at the lowest possible level.  However, the full time ECS office will be happy to support with these conversations, should problems persist.
 
I have become aware of increased pressures on our members working for local authorities on elective home education  This is both in a structural sense at Ofsted comments on home educated children in their inspection reports and where parents of home educated children have brought collective complaints regarding local authority workers.  We are keen to gauge if this is a trend as well as support individuals involved, so please get in touch if you work with elective home education and have any concerns.