7 June 2012

One Barnet is bad for your Heart

Over the jubilee holiday Mr Mustard relaxed and had plenty of time to read the paper and there was an article about heart attacks which is of relevance in the light of One Barnet.

One Barnet is the umbrella name for just about every change going on at Barnet Council whereby a vast number of jobs are being outsourced (the council will use other more vague terminology like provider or partner) to BT or Capita or some other huge monster of a company.

Barnet Council also now has a lead role in improving the health of residents. One of its targets is to "increase the number of smoking quitters in people aged 18 and over to 2,200". You can see this target in the following document.
Adult Social Care and Health

Now it is Mr Mustard's hypothesis that the One Barnet programme will lead to less opportunities for staff to even hold on their jobs, never mind get promoted. In a shrinking organisation, how can there be increased opportunities? The council will claim that one of the benefits of One Barnet outsourcing is better opportunities for staff within the new organisation. Look, here is an example from February in relation to the huge NSCSO ( New Support & Customer Services Organisation) project.
NSCSO Staff Briefings Feb 2012
That is clear, is it not? Isn't outsourcing a wonderful thing for staff?

Now let us look at the reality of outsourcing in the real world, not the fluffy world of One Barnet. On 1 May 2012 NSL took over parking enforcement. There were about 75 staff involved. 50 of those are traffic wardens. Their work has to be done locally. It simply cannot take place outside of Barnet. Mr Mustard saw the same familiar faces in May (he chats to all of the wardens when he sees them) as he did in April. The 25 back office staff had their jobs transferred to Worthing (it was Croydon at first, see how flexible the labour market is!) which really isn't commutable from Barnet. On the day they were officially TUPE transferred to NSL they got "at risk" letters and on 31 May they were all made redundant. So much for protecting their terms and conditions. Are you noting this councillors? 25 of your staff made redundant because of a decision that you made.

If you work in DRS and NSCSO you can't trust the fancy powerpoint presentations, can you?

Now having established that promotion opportunities are reduced Mr Mustard will tell you about you some research that was the subject of an article in the Guardian at the weekend "Job promotions reduce the risk of a heart attack". You can get a digest of the research here or by clicking on the word "article" above and then on the link within the article itself. It is very interesting and worrying research. Here is a potted summary.

Michael Anderson, assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Michael Marmot, professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London, tracked the employment histories and health outcomes of 4,700 civil servants in the London area.

They found that those civil servants in departments with high rates of promotion were approximately 20% less likely to develop heart disease than their counterparts in departments with low rates of promotion.

Reducing smoking rates is all about decreasing smoking related illnesses such as heart attacks, and Mr Mustard doesn't want to worry council employees, but it looks like the One Barnet programme will increase them. That was something no-one thought of for the One Barnet risk register (unless it is one of the many redacted entries) and they had better add an entry for now.

The following report (to December 11) shows that the number of smoking quitters is on target but that mortality from cardiovascular disease is still too high.

Barnet Council performance indicators q3 11-12

If you work for the council and want promotion you should join a more sensible council, or a private sector employer with a good reputation for looking after their staff, or start your own business. You will also help yourself if you don't smoke, if you drink less ( OK; pot, kettle!) and if you take exercise but hey it's your body so do as you please.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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