Labour motion for full council on Friday 20th May

 

This council notes in relation to the Serco contract for the delivery of back office services that

  • since 1st April 2015 because of the failure of Serco to deliver services as specified in the contract there have been serious operational difficulties which have caused problems for the citizens of Lincolnshire, our Local Authority schools, organisations we trade with and which supply us with vital services,  and our staff
  • as a consequence the reputation of the County Council has suffered severely because we as the local authority and as a fair trader and as a good employer have to take responsibility for the failures of our contractors
  • at the end of February 2016 when the last report was received by the Value for Money Committee, 9 of the 43 Key Performance Indicators which measure the delivery of services under the contract were still not being met by Serco
  • as a consequence of Serco’s failure to meet the terms of the contract, service credits amounting to just under £1.2m have been repaid by Serco since April 2015
  • at the present date there is no clear indication when all Key Performance Indicators and other projects not being met, will be met.

Accordingly this council expresses its serious dissatisfaction with the delivery of the back office services contract by Serco and resolves

  • to ask the Chief Executive to begin at once a review using independent specialists to examine all aspects of the drawing up and implementation of the contract between Serco and the County Council. Three particular areas to include
  • whether it was reasonable to expect there to be a smooth transfer of responsibilities from Mouchel to Serco and a shift from one IT system, SAP to Agresso, at the same time – 1 April 2015 – and
  • whether the contract as drawn up was too large for the County Council to exit from without very serious ongoing difficulties thereby restricting the council’s freedom of movement and
  • whether Serco and the County Council had sufficient specialist staff in place in the right numbers to handle their respective responsibilities during the run-up to and from 1 April 2015
  • to ask the Chief Executive to explore all options available to the County Council to bring an end to the contractual relationship between Serco and the County Council within the terms of the contract
  • to bring a report back to the next full council meeting in September to enable the council to make recommendations to the Executive.

Proposed by Councillor R B Parker

Seconded by Councillor P M Dilks

Labour Councillors Call for a Debate on the Future of the Serco Contract

 

At the full council meeting of Lincolnshire County Council of Friday (20 May), Labour councillors will be calling for a review of the Serco contact for the provision of ‘back office’ services which has been running since April 2015.

The motion to council will ask the Chief Executive to start a review using independent specialists to examine all aspects of the drawing up and implementation of the contract between Serco and the County Council.

What is also being called for is that the Chief Executive should explore all options available to the County Council to bring an end to the contractual relationship between Serco and the County Council within the terms of the contract and to report back to council in September.

Commenting on the proposals Councillor Robert Parker (Deputy Leader of the Labour Group) said

“For some time now there has been serious public disquiet about the operation of the contract between Serco and the County Council. Contract failures have  affected council tax payers, schools, staff and businesses we trade with. Yes, matters are improving but from a low base. We are now over a year into the contract and still many Key Performance Indicators, which measure how well Serco are performing, are still not being met. That’s why Serco have had to repay £1.2 million to the council for failing to meet targets.

“We think the time is right for

  • a full review to be undertaken by independent specialists of the award and implementation of the contract to date and
  • a report to be produced by the Chief Executive assessing whether it is in the council tax payer’s interest for the County Council to end the contract within the terms of the original contract.

That’s what Labour councillors want to see happen”.

For more contact Councillor Robert Parker on 07739 007086 or 01522 535086

It’s lights out for Lincolnshire

 

38,000 street lights are now being turned off by the Tory led administration on Lincolnshire County Council.
Liberal Democrats, Independents and Conservatives have joined together to turn off 38,000 street lights at night as part of their cuts to public services in Lincolnshire.
Some are going out now at 10.00pm, those at the end of roads or in cul de sacs. The rest of the side streets will cut out at midnight.
“This is outrageous” said Councillor Robin Renshaw, Labour Shadow Executive Member for Highways. “There is a lot of research showing burglary and break ins increase in dark streets let alone the difficulties for the old and disabled when walking at night. Now that the Tories have started switching off the lights, they will be responsible if there is an increase in crime and fear of crime.
And it’s not just the effect on residents and crime – it is costing a fortune. The average cost in terms of equipment and labour to turn off one light is £58. A total cost of over £2 million. What a waste. This money should have been used to improve community safety not make it more dangerous. This cash could have been used to upgrade the lights to LED which would save energy costs in future and improve quality of lighting as evidenced by main roads in Lincoln.
Labour is calling for an immediate end to the 10 PM switch off and a rethink on the 12.00 turn off.
The new Police Commissioner came up with these cuts when he was executive member for finance. He ignored the impact on local residents in terms of their safety and the increase in criminal activity which this is likely to cause.
I will be challenging Councillor Richard Davies on Friday at the County Council meeting to change the plans so that people across Lincolnshire can feel safe and secure at night.”

For further information contact Councillor Robin Renshaw on 01522 823730.

Labour Councillors Call For A Halt To The Lincolnshire Fire Service Consultation

 

Labour County Councillors are calling for the consultation on the slashing of the Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue Service to be halted at the eleventh hour following the news that Lincolnshire County Council will receive extra Central Government funds for potholes.Labour lead Councillor on Fire/Rescue, Kev Clarke stated ‘The Labour group have previously asked for funding for the fire service to be ring fenced which would have saved the emergency service from the unnecessary and life threatening cuts. This was ignored by the Tory led authority.’

During the budget it was stated there was a short fall in the settlement for Lincolnshire, however, now only a few weeks later £1.8 million has been given to the authority for pothole repairs. Labour County Councillors are calling for some of the  funds originally allocated for potholes in the budget to be moved across to the Fire Service to give the emergency service the funds they need to operate at the correct level.

Councillor Clarke says ‘The response I’ve received from the public about the proposed cuts in the Integrated Risk Management Plan clearly backs the logic of Labour’s call to act. The public are against the cuts and we hope the Lincolnshire County Council will act according to the wishes of people of Lincolnshire

The three main objections to the consultation are:

  • Lincoln South Fire station switching to day crewed and retention fire fighters used from 6pm which will mean increased response times
  • The loss of 1 rescue support unit based centrally at a station which will mean a less effective service and increased response times
  • The move from Skegness to Boston of the Aerial Ladder Platform, meaning travelling time of around 40 minutes to Skegness at the height of holiday season

The Labour Group are calling for the proposed cuts to be shelved.

County Councillor Kev Clarke

Contact mob 07969471191

You judge whether or not we are safe in the hands of Mr Cameron

 

The Conservative Government would like us all to believe that they can deliver personal independence and still be ‘safe’ in their hands.

Yet reality is proving this to be untrue with worrying potential consequences.

Under the Conservatives our Gross Domestic Productivity (GDP) has consistently fallen. Public debt has significantly increased from 60% of GDP under Labour to 80% now under the Conservatives. This equates to a current public debt of approximately £1.48 trillion and is expected to rise.

We will be paying £1 billion a week in interest by 2018.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the loss of British manufacturing jobs, which plummeted under Margaret Thatcher, has continued. So has investment in research and development, which is lower than in other EU nations. Whilst the Government slashed public sector funding it failed to create alternative jobs.

British industry and scientists need investment. A plea to the UK Government by Tata steelworkers, made in September 2015 should have resulted in a prompt reaction but did not.

Ill conceived planning and social housing policies are not only failing to deliver the homes we need but the impact on our younger generation, paying the price is unacceptable.

Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation highlighted how Osborne sought to save over £5m from disabled people whilst handing out a comparable amount to those earning more than £40k a year. Whilst this plan was thwarted, Osborne is not giving up his attack. In 2015 between 58% and 60% of appeals over ESA and PIP were won by claimants. Rather than consider a fairer taxation system that tackles a world record level of inequality, in response Osborne has given £22m to the DWP to recruit Presenting Officers with the objective of undermining claimants during tribunals. Yet I am aware of three local men forced to appeal and who subsequently died.

Other evidence is also mounting. Cameron is playing Russian roulette. Our membership of the EU and possible fragmentation of the United Kingdom are at stake. Our energy policy is a shambles. With North Sea gas at risk, a failure to invest in renewable energy has left us reliant on nuclear power and fracking.

As availability of qualified teachers falls, our entire school education system is to be uprooted with school academies being forced through.

Our NHS is at a crisis point with record A&E waiting times, junior doctors facing a return to dangerous long hour shift patterns, GP numbers reaching crisis levels, there is an unsustainable dependency on agency staff and local authority social care budgets are underfunded.

The underfunding of flood defences and leaked cuts to our Border Force also leave us more at risk.

‘Safe’ in their hands? You be the judge.

by Charmaine Morgan

Originally posted in the Grantham Journal: http://www.granthamjournal.co.uk/mobile/news/local/charmaine-morgan-s-column-you-judge-whether-or-not-we-are-safe-in-the-hands-of-mr-cameron-1-7307805#ixzz44wXbXXx5

Reinstate Whisby waste facility

Lincolnshire County Council : Save Lincoln South Fire Station

 

Whisby Waste Facility is closing on Thursday 31st March 2016. The facility provides an essential service to a very large number of people in the City of Lincoln, the surrounding villages and countryside, thus keeping homes and gardens clear of rubbish and waste materials. It is an easily accessible site, very well organised and its closure will have adverse effects and put enormous pressure on the remaining waste disposal site in a very busy part of the City of Lincoln, causing disruption on the approach roads and surrounding main roads, which in turn could deter its use resulting in fly tipping and rubbish elsewhere. The decision to close Whisby Waste facility is a false economy and will be detrimental to the environment. We the undersigned want Lincolnshire County Council to reconsider its decision and reinstate Whisby Waste Facility

click to sign the petition

Lincolnshire Labour Conference

 

Lincolnshire Labour Conference – Saturday 19 March – Grafton House – 10.00-16.30

The Annual Lincolnshire Labour Conference is taking place on Saturday 19 March. This year the conference is being held at Grafton house. Confirmed speakers so far are Melissa Benn and Stewart Wood. There will also be breakout sessions and a panel discussion. A provisional programme and registration form is attached. The delegate cost is £5 which includes lunch. Places are limited so book early.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Motion for County Council Meeting on 18.12.2015

 

This council is seriously dismayed about the problems that have occurred and continue to happen with the new back office outsourcing being delivered – or not delivered – by Serco.

Since April 1st when the new contract began there have been thousands of delays, errors and mistakes in wages paid or not paid to employees, in unpaid bills to suppliers and in the provision of information and new systems.

This disastrous performance has

  • affected the ability of the County Council to carry out its own functions
  • had a major impact on the county’s schools trying to use the Agresso system
  • failed to deliver new IT systems for front line services.

The council notes that a great deal of work has been done both by the council and by the supplier to try and sort out the shambles that has been created and Serco has made a commitment that the problems will be sorted in the next few months.

However there have been numerous reports of teachers still not being paid properly and schools having problems with non – payment of bills.

Schools have been unable to access reliable information about their spending for this year and at a time of financial strain this means they can’t plan for next year either. Their reputation in their own communities as a good employer and purchaser of local goods and services will take years to regain.

The failures of the new system are also preventing the implementation of improvements in the front line for social workers who instead of having an IT system fit for purpose from 1st April this year will have to wait at least a year before having it up and running.

Overall, the handling of the new contract has been a disaster for both schools and the council. The combination of a new contractor together with a new IT system that Serco had no experience of setting up was always going to be high risk, it could be argued foolhardy.

This is another failure of proper scrutiny of a major new contract and a dash for outsourcing at the cheapest price regardless of quality and the likely impact on the council, its services and on schools. The council notes that what happened could have been prevented if those councillors on scrutiny who expressed concerns had been listened to.

The Council therefore calls on the executive to:

  1. Issue a public apology to all the schools, to all the employees, and to all the suppliers who have been affected by this,

 

  1. Ensure that a full investigation is carried out into
  2. a) what went wrong with the awarding of the contract and
  3. b) why eight and a half months after Serco was supposed to take over these functions the contract as agreed is still not being properly implemented as expected,
  4. Set up a task force to work with all the local authority schools to support them in their dealings with Serco,
  5. Ensure that schools and staff are properly and fully compensated for stress suffered and for the additional work that they have had to do. While waiting for the level of compensation for schools to be agreed by Serco, the first call on the money the Council has already received from Serco due to contract failures should be to provide funds to schools to ensure none of them or their staff are out of pocket due to this disaster.

 

Moved by Councillor John Hough

Seconded by Councillor Phil Dilks

Outsourcing Disaster Hits Lincolshire Schools And County Council

 

On April 1st this year Serco started work at Lincolnshire County Council. It had been awarded a new contract to deliver back office functions.

Since then it has been a nightmare for schools, for teachers, for county council employees and for frontline services with thousands of delays, errors and mistakes in wages paid or not paid to employees, in unpaid bills to suppliers and in the failure to provide proper financial information.

On Monday 7th December Serco issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange with a profits warning in which the chief executive, Rupert Soames, Winston Churchill’s grandson, said “Serco has achieved a great deal in 2015 …..and improved the position on several of our largest loss making contracts.”

Councillor John Hough, Leader of the Labour Opposition on Lincolnshire County Council, in challenging Rupert Soames statement said, “Our experience in Lincolnshire has been very different from the one described in his statement.”

“All Serco has achieved since it started work in Lincolnshire has been to bring about misery and mayhem to thousands of teachers, schools and council employees.

“On Friday 18th December at the County Council meeting Labour will be calling on the Conservative dominated Executive to do four things: –

  • give a public apology to all the schools, teachers, employees and suppliers who have been affected by the delays, errors and mistakes made by Serco
  • carry out a full investigation into what has gone wrong and what is continuing to go wrong
  • set up a task force to work with the local authority schools to support them in dealing with Serco
  • ensure that schools are properly compensated for the extra costs they have incurred. “

 

END

Note. Attached to this release is a full copy of the resolution to be considered by the County Council on Friday 18th December.

For further information please contact Councillor John Hough on 01507 358650, 01507 602411(work) or his PA Danielle Crooks on 01522 552066