Allowances modernisation

Wednesday 25 September 2013

We will be introducing a new set of allowances and expenses from 1 October.

GMB and Unison have been fully involved in negotiations with the council and our original offer has been significantly amended as a result of discussion, feedback and a consultation exercise with the staff involved. The final offer was published on 12 August.

The new allowances package means that pay will be fair, affordable, consistently paid across the council, and will comply with our legal obligations as an employer.

All staff, whether they will be affected by the changes or not, have been sent a letter to fully explain the changes. 

Thursday 15 August 2013

Yesterday Unison rejected the current allowances modernisation offer. 

Brighton & Hove City Council Chief Executive Penny Thompson said:
"I am of course disappointed that Unison have rejected the current offer. Under the proposals the vast majority of employees (87%) will see no change, in some areas such as front line care staff there will be increases in pay. 3% of staff will see some loss of pay for which they will be offered financial compensation. We will continue to meet with our union colleagues to seek a resolution."

Monday 12 August 2013

The 90 day formal consultation on allowances is complete and the final offer has been presented to both unions. The council has listened carefully to the feedback received and made some important changes to the original proposals.

Through this process of negotiation we have produced a proposed set of allowances which minimises any potential loss for individual staff whilst ensuring fairness and consistency on allowances across the workforce.

The vast majority (87%) of employees will see no change. In some areas for example frontline care staff, there will be increases in pay as a result of the changes to allowances.

During the consultation process we continued to meet regularly with both GMB and Unison. Managers held over 600 one to one meetings with staff to help individuals work out the impact the proposed changes to the allowances would have on their pay. As a result of this there have been significant opportunities to reduce potential losses by reviewing working patterns and rotas and in some areas services have been or are in the process of being redesigned to provide an improved service to customers. For example after negotiation we have signed a city clean service re-design agreement which will mean an improved service for residents. We are committed to continuing these conversations with other services over the coming weeks.

3% of staff will see some loss of pay for which they will be offered financial compensation. This is significantly fewer than were affected by the original proposals and shows the council is listening and acting wherever possible on the feedback it has received.

Brighton & Hove chief Executive Penny Thompson said; “This is a significant moment in the work we have undertaken to ensure the council’s allowance system is fit for purpose and ensures fairness and consistency across the work force. It has not been easy and I fully appreciate the time staff have taken to engage with the consultation process and the patience of residents across the city. We will continue to work with our Union colleagues to ensure we can move forward with the progress made so far.”

The unions will now talk to their members and will respond formally to the Council on the allowances offer. We will also continue to talk to staff and managers about how the new system of allowances can best be implemented in individual service areas. 

Background

We have been in negotiation with our unions since February over proposals to introduce a single set of allowances and expenses. This began at the January 2013 meeting of Policy and Resources when the Chief Executive of Brighton & Hove City Council was authorised to begin work on behalf of members.

We have negotiated with a clear aim of achieving the best and most affordable offer while keeping any losses to a minimum. This is a long overdue step towards modernising our council and is not about saving money.