Hands off our homes – consultative ballot result

  • Unite members have voted to accept Labour led Southampton Council’s recommendation to keep Holcroft House open with the guarantee of Council jobs for all and other conditions
  • UNISON members narrowly reject the revised proposals on the future of Glen Lee
  • Southampton City Council plans a centre of excellence in dementia services
  • Public Services recommended to remain in public hands, delivered by the Local Authority
  • Permanent residents of Glen Lee will be offered places at Holcroft House

Southampton, 19 February 2019 – After a consultative Ballot of union members working in Glen Lee and Holcroft House, Unite Southampton and West Hampshire Local Authorities branch has voted to accept the Labour administration’s recommendation to continue to have Residential Dementia Care Services delivered by the Local Authority. The outcome of the consultative ballot of UNISON Southampton District branch was, by a small majority, to disagree with the closure of Glen Lee.

In light of the response from its members UNISON will be considering next steps, if any. However, both unions are clear that any agreement to the final decision (to be made on 18 June) is very much dependant on the Council delivering on its assurances made by Council leaders. For example: no compulsory redundancies, exploring the possibility of a Council home care team and a minimum period of protection for staff and facilities at Holcroft House.

The Council’s recommendations for the future of Glen Lee and Holcroft House (Council owned residential dementia care homes) have been revised based on the response to the public consultation held between October 2018 and January 2019. In October 2018 the Council was recommending to close both homes. New recommendations published earlier this month guarantee staff will keep Council jobs and Holcroft House would remain open with plans to become a centre of excellence in dementia services.

The Council will make a decision “in principle” about the future of the homes at Full Council on 20 February 2019 and, after a trade union and staff consultation, will finalise its decision on 18 June 2019.

Employees from the affected Care Homes have said the following about the new recommendation:

“I am absolutely elated by the decision to keep Holcroft House open… it ensures the Residents at Holcroft House can remain in a home that is honest, transparent, person centred and gives excellent quality care but also that the Residents who choose to come to Holcroft House from Glen lee will be supported with the upmost Dignity helping them to settle and to feel at home.”

“The consultation and decision to close Glen Lee has been traumatic and upsetting for our team but the future for Southampton people living with dementia is much brighter than we expected.”

 “We are happy that the councillors have listened to us, the unions and the families through a very intense consultation… although we would have preferred for both homes to stay open…”

 “The staff at Glen Lee feel truly heartbroken by the Council’s recommendation to close Glen Lee. We have always had an amazing and close team here and have worked together as great friends and not just colleagues. We have supported each other for many years… the thought of splitting us all up feels like a bereavement and a terrible loss.”

“Dementia is challenging for the person living with dementia as well as the people caring for them.  At times these people need a safety net… someone to take the pressure off for a while and a place where people listen and understand.  Southampton will be providing a valuable service to these people, bringing together the expert care and knowledge from staff in their two care homes into one new dementia service.”

 Employees have also said:

“We are incredibly grateful to everyone that helped with the campaign against the closures of both homes.”

“Thank you to the Unions for their support and recognition for the hard work our staff do every day.”

Claire Ransom, Deputy Branch Secretary of UNISON Southampton District Branch, said:

“The loss of any Public Service is a disappointment to UNISON, however we understand that Local Government is grossly underfunded and Labour Councils like Southampton are suffering the consequences of the Tory Central Government’s austerity agenda.

 Our members have indicated through the consultative ballot that they are unhappy with proposal to close Glen Lee, however other members have indicated acceptance of the Labour administration’s revised recommendations on the future of the care homes, meaning affected members will retain Council jobs with decent terms and conditions. We also understand need to the review and develop of the services that will be delivered at Holcroft House in order to ensure a sustainable future for Holcroft House and the on-going fulfilment of care needs for the local community.”

Mark Wood, Branch Secretary for Unite’s Southampton and West Hampshire Local Authorities Branch said:

“Unite members working in both homes have voted to accept the Council’s ‘in principle’ proposals to keep Holcroft House open. Whilst Unite is saddened to see yet another care home close, we are relieved that Council leaders have listened to the consultation feedback and taken a step back from their original preferred option to close both.

In addition the Council has promised there will be no compulsory redundancies of care home staff and will offer current permanent residents in Glen Lee a place in the retained facility at Holcroft House.

Those very positive assurances, along with providing a sustainable future to Holcroft House, were absolutely pivotal to Unite’s ballot result and therefore any agreement moving forward will require them to be honoured in full.

We of course remain committed to working with our sister union UNISON in whichever direction they choose to take.”