Trust Admin Services Review 2014 onwards

This was not a campaign, but was posted in this section on our former website, when there was nowhere else to place it. The content below was live at the time, but we are please to report that the review was eventually abandoned by the Trust.

Please note the most current updates are at the top of this article

4. 14th September 2015: In response to Colm Donaghy, Chief Executive, announcing that the Admin Services Review has been paused, UNISON has written an open letter outlining our views:

Dear Colleagues,

Re: Trust Decision to Pause Work on the Admin Services Review

We welcome the recent decision by the Trust to pause their  work on the Admin Services Review. We believe this to be a sensible decision which will allow for a period of reflection and less pressured feedback.

Unlike many previous Trust wide reviews and consultations where there have been diverging opinion amongst staff, the feedback and concerns we have received and passed on have been universally consistent. This isn’t the criticism of a few UNISON members in pockets around the Trust, this is the workforce saying as one that the current plans for clinical administration systems and processes do not feel right and will not work. Latterly, the admin staff have been joined by clinicians in providing this feedback, after feeling they had been left in the dark about the plans.

Furthermore, some of the decisions, actions and communications made by the Trust pushed staff into feeling that the review was fairly irrelevant and that that the outcome of the consultation, when it came, was fait accompli.

We now have to be fair and recognise that by pausing the work, the Trust has demonstrated it has treated the review seriously. This is an important shift in the culture of our Trust and one that deserves credit.

In UNISON we recognise that the Trust has a right to review its services and suggest changes to improve quality, safety and efficiency in a drive to always better our service users’ outcomes. However, we feel that the vision for services was too ambitious, too corporate, too convenient and felt like an off the peg solution more attuned to a private commercial company than a complex NHS provider.

Instead we feel that the Trust should back itself and its staff to finding solutions in an organisation of large geography, multiple services and challenging and rewarding clinical work and relationships. The Trust has already made moves through its Listening into Action initiative and Care Delivery Services to devolve decision making to those nearest their stakeholders. UNISON believes that these mechanisms - already at the Trust’s disposal – can be utilised, rather than the bought in, top down approach that seemed to drive the Admin Review.

We are pleased that the key resource and experts in this stage of the Review, the administration staff, have been given a voice and listened to. This is valuable in meeting the 20/20 vision goal of being ‘the employer of choice’.

UNISON will be pleased to continue its role alongside the other staff side unions in being a critical friend in this process now and when it restarts.

3. 11th September 2015: We are ware of the recent communication from Trust Chief Executive Colm Donaghy, who has announced that the project has been paused to give the executicve team  time to rethink how best to take their review forward. This is in light of a huge amount of critical feedback from staff, individual members and of course UNISON and staff side. There is now acknowledgement of the widespread concern about the rationale for and implementation of the review.

We will be realeasing a more thourough reponse soon.

2. 25th June 2015: Questions and answers on role of Staff Side in the Admin Services Review

What is Staff Side?
Staff Side is made up of a number of unions that have a recognition agreement with Sussex Partnership. They are: BAOT, BMA, GMB, RCN, Unite and UNISON.

The Trust recognises the unions’ role in representing the interests of their members and working for improved conditions for all staff. The Trust also recognises the need for its employees to express their views and concerns in relation to conditions of employment and service delivery and that it is of the mutual benefit of the Trust and its employees that the unions should play an active part in representing them.

How does Staff Side represent employees?
During a review such as this, and in any consultation, Staff Side can be another avenue to feedback questions, comments and concerns to management. You do not need to be in a union to use this route. We are currently attending as many meetings as we can and are already passing on much of your feedback to management.

If we move into a consultation, we can continue to be the voice of all staff, passing on feedback and attending group meetings. However, it is during the 1:1 stage when unions only represent their own members. If you require or request a 1:1 you have to be in a union in order to have union representation. Any other employee can either attend alone or have a colleague attend for emotional support only.

Where are we currently?
We are aware that the current process can be anxiety provoking and worrying for some staff and we are receiving many questions that Staff Side simply cannot answer at this time. The reason for this is that until a formal consultation paper is produced (once it is seen and approved by the Board) we cannot take a definitive position. However, rest assured we are aware of the many issues and ideas being discussed and we are feeding your concerns and comments back to Trust management.

If there is a consultation, what we will do?
During a consultation the role of Staff Side is to be both a critical friend to the Trust and a robust representative of its employees. Stewards of individually recognised unions will consult with their members and will both advise and take direction from them. It is the employees that are affected by the change that are often best placed to give feedback and it is, therefore, only right that stewards take the lead from their members. A stewards role is to guide their members through workforce policies and make sure they understand the options available to them.

If you are interested in joining a union please speak to a local work based steward or check out their individual websites.

If you wish to give feedback on the admin review please contact:

Alternatively, please contact a local steward or a divisional staff side lead:

Peter Atkinson: West Sussex and Hampshire
John Ottley: East Sussex and Kent
Nick McMaster: Brighton and Hove

1. 18th June 2015: The Trust is currently engaging in a comprehensive Admin Services Review. Senior Trust management wish to make a significant change into how administration function is carried out. Currently the Trust is facilitating drop in sessions for staff potentially affected by the changes and is preparing the business case to present to the Trust Board.

This is naturally a period of great anxiety to many of our admin members and we have recently received requests for more info from UNISON.

Firstly, let me reassure you that UNISON through the three divisional staff side leads (Peter Atkinson, John Ottley and Nick McMaster) has representation at the highest level of the Trust and is working on your behalf. We attend a number of meetings where the Admin Service review is discussed. We also have a UNISON staff side admin rep, Shan Orr-Ewing, attending many of the actual staff meetings/project meetings and doing invaluable work both in feeding back to us and raising issues.

We are aware of a number of concerns already raised by staff including:

  • Where are the new job descriptions?
  • Which admin staff are included?
  • Where will admin functions will be based?
  • Why are admin jobs still being advertised?
  • Why are there admin jobs being advertised as permananet rather than fixed term?
  • Will anyone be down banded?

These have all been fed back. However, please note that until the review turns into a consultation we cannot give a definitive view or response on the proposals. Also remember that UNISON is a member led organisation and we will need to know the views of members, which again will be sought when the consultation is launched sometime in September. We see our admin staff as the experts in this situation and so your contribution during the consultation will be vital for us in representing the views not only of our members, but all staff.

If you have any further concerns please contact your local UNISON steward or your divisional UNISON lead.

Please also check your work emails for messages from Branch as well as this website and our other social media outlets.