Local Government/Health Interface

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2008 Local Government Service Group Conference
22 February 2008
Carried as Amended

Conference notes continuing moves toward towards increasing integration between health and social care in government policy in England Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland health and social care are integrated but are undergoing the upheaval of the ‘super-Trust’ restructuring.

The implications of integration are widespread and include the threat of a combined push towards the commissioning-only model, which could see more of our members’ jobs privatised.

It is also becoming apparent that the depth and quality of integration varies widely and in many cases is being implemented in a ‘top-down’ manner with insufficient attention to key workforce issues including pay and conditions, job security and the profound cultural differences which exist between health and social care.

Conference notes that many Local Government based members see these initiatives as a deliberate attempt by central government to undermine and weaken viable local government institutions

Conference notes that there has been little in the way of serious evaluation of what the effects of integration initiatives have been on ways of working and no the services delivered to service users and patients.

UNISON is uniquely placed to deal with these challenges but the difficulties should not be under-estimated.

This Conference calls on the Service Group Executive to work closely with the Health Service Group

1)develop an effective recruitment and organisation strategy that takes into account the specific needs of integrated settings;

2)develop an effective bargaining agenda to deal with key issues such as pay, conditions and pensions, pay disparities between the two services, management structures that give all members adequate redress in terms of grievances and similar procedures;

3)provide guidance and training to branches on the integration process to enable them to deal effectively with members’ concerns both before and after integration;

4)support further moves at regional and national level to encourage joint working between health and local government branches.