Aberdeenshire UNISON




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 Status implementation.

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 amongst members.

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 worthless.
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".




2.1 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 and curriculum.

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 and faculties.
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 detail.

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.