UNISON Budget Suggestions

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In view of ongoing budget cuts within the Council, UNISON have been engaging with both the Council and the Councillors to bring forward our own list of money-saving or income-generating suggestions. We are fully committed to minimizing the negative impacts of this current austerity on employees. We appreciate the contribution of our members to some of these suggestions.

  1. Blue Badge Dumfries & Galloway Council have the power to charge up to £20 for the issue of a Blue Badge (parking badge) but at the present this remains free for applicants. With around 3000 badges being issued each year by the council, this could potentially generate some much-needed revenue for the council.
  2. Manage Major Events – £250k pa. The events supported in this strategy are for the majority all profit making before any public funding is provided. Many of the events companies are from out the region and the events themselves tend to be ring-fenced for businesses from outwith the region. Any events strategy needs to be managed more.
  3. Roadworks Charge the utility companies for digging up roads and fine them for not properly relaying them after the work has been completed. Income generated would be based on how many roads are dug up.
  4. Business Rates Double the business rates for empty units that have been empty for over 12mths. The empty units at the Midsteeple are all owned by large insurance companies who own them for tax write off purposes.
  5. Pest Control and Dog Warden Service Discussions with the staff directly involved in delivering this service provision have identified that within current budgets and given a more commercial direction, the existing staff resources could be restructured to be more efficient, effective and encourage a higher income level than that previously achieved.
  6. Parking Charges; Charges could be introduced for on-street and off-street parking. We understand that previous Council papers have indicated generating income of over £1 million.
  7. Area Committee Discretionary Grant Funding; Reduce this by 100% saving about £1 million.
  8. ERVS If it is extended and there is clear guidance on service priorities, possible savings in excess of £1 million could be made.
  9. Gull Control Project; Introduce a charge to householders. Income in excess of £35k.
  10. Third Sector Grant Funding; Consider areas of duplication of funding from both the Council and external partners. Possible savings in excess of £200k.
  11. Leisure & Sport; Consider all options to generate savings and avoid compulsory redundancies. Possible savings in excess of £1 million & opportunities for income generation.
  12. Fees & Charges; Review these across all Departments to maximise income by, increasing to full cost recover or reduce others to increase use of facilities generating more income as appropriate.
  13. HR Policy & Procedures; Improve training to ensure consistent and efficient staffing practices. To add to already identified attendance maximisation savings and workplace efficiency.
  14. Consultancy Fees; Remove consultancy fees to the minimum possible. Saving £1mil
  15. Review payments to external organisations, commissions, grants, events; to avoid duplication or unnecessary service delivery.
  16. Pool cars; Review the cost and efficiency of the current provision.
  17. Redeployment income-generating opportunities The redeployment pool staff could be seconded to other organisations in the third or independent sectors thereby replacing the grants being awarded to these groups. This would help the Council engage with local Community groups and provide job enrichment and experience to the redeployed staff.
  18. Sale of Property Assets The Council’s properties are being sold off without any considered commercial review of the potential to add value ie with planning permissions.
  19. Service Reviews The ongoing reviews are being conducted at the same time, however separately, as the re-shaping of the Council and the ERVS campaign. This leaves the outcomes difficult to understand and implement.
  20. Review of PPI contracts Our recommendation would be for the Council to review the existing contracts and consider whether the public is receiving best value. For example, Hexam Hospital PPI contract was bought out with funds from Northumbria Council loaned to Northumbria NHS. This saved £3mil a year to taxpayers
  21. Returning the provision of Social Care – at present the Council underwrites all external contracts with Social Care Providers including all the non-profitable rural contracts. The Council commissions these services for twice the cost these providers actually pays their staff. Where is the rest of the money going? We believe taxpayers, the Council, the staff and the service users would benefit from taking back the Social Care inhouse and create considerable savings.

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We still have spaces on our education course - Basic IT (SQA Workplace Core Skills Unit ) - (5 Mondays ) which is taking plave on 6th 13th 20th 27th November at 4th December at Cargen Towers Dumfries .

If you are a Dumfries and Galloway Council employee you are entitled to time off to attend subject to line manager approval .

Based outside Dumfries and want to attend? You will be allowed access to a pool car if available to attend.

For more information or an application form please email - info@unisondumfries.org.uk.

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Always take a Union Steward.....

Trade union members have big issues to address and fight on at the moment including resisting cuts to public services, opposing government austerity , battling overwork, fighting for equal pay and demanding a fair wage rise for all public services workers in 2018. These issues have a huge affect on our working lives and set the context for everything else.

In the middle of all that members still face the day to day matters of individual absence management, grievances, investigations, disciplinary hearings, etc.

So remember....always take a union steward!

Free Dementia Awareness course

Through out new lifelong learning partnership we are able to offer this course which is is taking place on 14/11/2017 09:00 -16:30 at CDU Cargen Towers, Dumfries.

If you are an employee of Dumfries and Galloway Council you are entitled subject to availblity a pool car to attend the course if required and paid time off to attend subject to line managers approval .

Should you have difficulty getting approval fron your line please let us know and we can see what we can do .

The course is an interactive & practical workshop and delegates will gain an understanding of dementia and how it affects people.

The course is aimed at everyone and suitable for anyone regardless of their job role .

Finally should you wish to attend this course please message this page or email sean.skelton@dumgal.gov.uk .

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As an organisation and as a branch we support #WorldMentalHealthDay

Mental health issues are not something that people should be ashamed to speak about .

UNISON nationally is campaigning for more funding for mental health services so people can get the support they need when they need it .

Locally as a branch we are about to start engaging with our members and the wider work force to conduct a large scale mental health survey so that we can highlight issues to our employers and start working with them to improve support available to people suffering with mental health issues .

#breakthesigma #mentalhealthmatters