Call-In of Council plans for Enablement Service could throw them out

At the Cabinet meeting on 22 January the Corporate Director Adult Social Care & Health presented ‘Enablement Public Report v10’ which gives full details of the Council’s new offer to the Enablement Service workers. But the day after Councillors Robson and Trickett Called-In the Council’s plans.

The Council’s report states:

Cabinet approved a business case for the reorganisation and improvement of the enablement service in July 2018. However, following subsequent extensive negotiations with trades unions, a revised and improved proposal is now recommended. This includes increased working hours, improved mitigations and changes to break times and travel arrangements, in response to BCC and union concerns regarding the impact on staff.

It lists the Appendices accompanying the Report:

  1. BCC final rota offer features
  2. Mitigation offer
  3. Chronology of key events
  4. Unison Demands
  5. Staffing data and indicative impact
  6. Indicative implementation timeline

However, an accompanying document says this:

Decision Subject To Call In

Title Enablement Service – PUBLIC

On 22 January 2019, Cabinet:-

Approved the final revised proposals for an improved Enablement service set out in the report;

Noted the agreement by Unison and the City Council to continue with ACAS talks.


On Wednesday 23 January 2019, a request for call-in was submitted by Councillors Lou Robson and Lisa Trickett.  No action on the decision can be taken until the request for call-in has been considered by the Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday 5 February 2019, at 1000 hours…

This is potentially a breakthrough that could result in the Council having to give up its proposals to restructure the Enablement Service workers’ contracts.

But that depends on the members of the Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee – and five of its seven members are in the Labour Party – deciding to support Unison’s position and demanding that the Council abandons its plans and comes to a new agreement. Labour Party members should urge them to do so.

Why wasn’t the Call In made by Scrutiny Committee members?

The request for Call In was made by two Councillors – Lou Robson and Lisa Trickett – who are not members of the Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee. You might ask (as BATC did in our previous post) why it wasn’t made by Labour members of the Committee themselves. The answer is this: it is so that members of the Committee are free to interrogate the plans and vote on them. Apparently, and bizarrely, if members of the Committee presented the Call In they would no longer be regarded as impartial and consequently would be prevented from acting and voting as members of the Committee. That is why the Call In had to come from two external Councillors.

So the constitution says that Scrutiny Committee members can Call In something but doesn’t mention that if they do so they then disbar themselves from pursuing it!

You might also ask how it is that a report dated 22 January of the Cabinet meeting  on that date contains a report of the Call In that took place on the 23rd, the following day!

Don’t forget…

 Solidarity rally for the Birmingham Homecare Workers Tue 29 Jan 6.30 BMI


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