REVIEW OF COMMUNITY SCHOOL NETWORK, TECHNICAL,
ICT AND JANITORIAL PROVISION : CONSULTATION REPORT UNISON Aberdeenshire
1.1 UNISON Aberdeenshire welcomes the opportunity to comment on
these proposals. The views expressed by members reflect 2 phases
of consultations with Phase 1, being in the Summer of 2007 and Phase
2 in November 2007. The need for the suspension of the original
consultation was based on 2 grounds. a) The proximity of the Summer
Holiday break. b) The possibility of confusion caused by Single
1.2 UNISON members have submitted their comments directly to Edwin
Duncan, Support Service Manager as well as well as to their Union.
It is not the purpose of this report to repeat all the points made
but to draw from these the main themes. At the same time we expect
that the detailed comments made by individuals or staff groups will
be considered fully.
1.3 As with most Review Proposals employees naturally want to know,
if this proposal comes in, what happens to me (my post)? These of
course are matters covered by the "Matching" process (Allocating
People to Posts) but this particular review has coincided with a
time when the Council has no clear policy on what happens if a post
is downgraded as a result of the review. This has added to anxiety
1.4 It is a fact that Technical and Janitorial Staff across the
Council have indicated despair that their Employer does not understand
what they do, or how important they are as members of the workplace
in delivering a quality service within schools.
UNISON welcomed the meetings which latterly took place across the
area to allow discussions and comments about the proposal and while
some of these meetings were livelier than others, after every one
UNISON received feedback that morale has never been so low, with
employees feeling demeaned, ignored, undervalued or dismissed as
It has been pointed out by UNISON before, and is worth repeating
here, that when facing a room full of employees to present a proposal,
Management should never take their silence or lack of questions/challenge
to indicate their agreement/acceptance.
1.5 UNISON shares the Council view, reflected in Personnel Policies
that consultation has to be real and meaningful and with the possibility
of amending the proposals. Throughout the consultation we have shared
that understanding with our members to be met with the reply that,
"minds are closed", "this is a done deal", "they are not listening
and don't care".
2 COMMENTS ON CONSULTATION DOCUMENT
2.1 Paragraph 2.3 is challenged, it refers to the variety of management
arrangement in relation to support staff in schools. While this
reflects reality, there is no assessment of why these developed
or which model is better or more efficient than any other. To leap
straight to a core model without some of these answers is not justified
or explained. Paragraph 2.3 also notes that "This will enhance personal
development etc. Technical and Secretarial staff cannot see how
any aspect of this will enhance their development opportunities.
2.2 Paragraph 2.4 talks about flexibility in staff deployment by
the CSN Support Services Co-ordinator to manage staff on a holistic
basis. This statement is not supported by any detail of what this
means on the ground and does not explain how it will be carried
out. Our members require clear and practical outcomes and feels
that the use of jargon is a smokescreen to cover the lack of knowledge
of how a school operates day to day.
2.3 In paragraph 2.7 the CSN Support Service Working Group is described.
It is seen as a major flaw that membership did not include representation
from Support Staff in Schools. It is also noted that at a late stage
when some employee involvement was sought on Job Descriptions, those
involved were from smaller secondary schools. Our members are clear
that the roles and demands on support staff change and increase
in the bigger schools.
2.4 In 2.8 there is a reference to a future review covering Admin/Clerical
Support. It is evident to UNISON that there are no hard boundaries
at present between tasks which in some settings are done by Admin
Staff while in others Technical Staff fulfil the same role. An example
of this would be reprographics which ranges for straightforward
printing and copying to detailed Technical Support of both pupils
2.5 In 3.2 and 3.3 the concept of a core provision and addition
by formula is stated. It needs to be stated that the current and
proposed staffing figures set out in Appendix 3 are seen by some
as confusing and others as plain wrong. The Trade Unions had asked
for this information to be included to see if the assertion that
there will be no reduction in the provision of Technical Support
in a school. Members are seeing only reductions as the reality.
The report refers to some provisional funding outwith core budget.
Will that remain in place? Our members have one employer, Aberdeenshire
Council and they need to know, from whatever source, funding comes
that their job (and hours of work) are secure.
It has also been pointed out that by the use of the core team of
ICT Analysts, ICT Technician, Science Technicians and whole School
Technicians you will reduce the service available to other departments
It is stressed that many staff are long serving employees who have
developed specialities and on a day to day basis work directly to
a Principal Teacher(Subject or Faculty). They cannot see how this
vital link which has been developed to meet the needs of the school
can be continued under the proposal.
2.6 At 3.5 and 3.6 changes to the Line Management of Janitorial
Staff are described. There is concern that by moving to Management
by the CSN Support Service Co-ordinator, there could be as many
as 17 different practices/ways of working rather than 1 Aberdeenshire
way. This could be to the detriment to the staff, job security and
terms and conditions
2.7 At 3.9 the reference that, "this day to day management and
workload allocation of the ICT Analyst will be jointly managed with
the CSN Support Service Co-ordinator (and the ICT Support leader
within PICT) is made It goes on to say that there will be benefits
from this but without any detail of how such an arrangement may
work. Those members who may find themselves in the role seek that
2.8 At 3.10 reference is made to the support of the PHTC to these
proposals. As a gainer of some level of service they would, but
as stated in our earlier comments, our members see this only being
achieved at a loss of service in the Secondary sector. Some have
made reference to the support of these views from the Management
Team and Teaching Staff in their school.
2.9 The statement in 3.11 that there will be a fully integrated
support service technical and janitorial team within a CSN in rejected.
Putting these functions under the CSN Support Service Co-ordinator
does not integrate them. It has also been stated, and accepted by
Management that the role of Technical Staff and Janitorial Staff
are NOT interchangeable.