The Other Staff Survey on the JV

I said in a previous post, Unison had commissioned an independent research company* to survey staff in parallel to the Cornwall Council staff survey. This survey has been taken from 238 Unison members of shared services, procurement and information services. And out of those 238, 100 undertook telephone interviews**. Furthermore, this survey did not just ask the basic question of which option staff preferred, but a series of other questions, too.

The results more or less agreed with the Cornwall Council survey, with the majority (61%) would prefer services to stay in-house, and 22% would prefer the BT proposal. A further 11% were undecided, 3% wanted no change and 2% wanted (alternative) outsourcing.  In making that decision on which proposal is better, 67% feel that they have sufficient information to form an opinion about the potential options and proposed changes to delivering support services.

However, if the strategic partnership is formed after Councillors vote in favour on Tuesday, those surveyed are divided on their employment contract options: 41% would prefer TUPE, 35% would prefer secondment. 10% are indifferent. This is interesting as the majority of staff prefer becoming BT employees if the deal goes ahead.  Though nearly a half (49%) believe their employment would be safer as a Cornwall Council employee than as an employee of a new organisation.

The survey asked the question on whether any of the staff have felt pressurised during the process. One in five (22%) have experienced some pressure from departmental or line management to support proposals for strategic partnership; and one in ten (11%) have experienced some pressure from non-management colleagues to support proposals for strategic partnership. Though a majority of 71%, agree that they can speak openly and share views at work about the proposals for changing the way support services are delivered with 12% disagreeing.

A few questions were also asked on the way Cornwall Council has engaged with staff during the process with 37% support what Cornwall Council is doing in its review of how it delivers support services. Then again you could say 63% do not, but lets not look at the negative figures.  45% also agree that information provided by Cornwall Council at a corporate level, about the proposals for changing the way support services are delivered, has been fair and unbiased (29% disagree).

So there you go, two surveys that support the in-house option from staff. Will Councillors take this into consideration when they decide on Tuesday? I believe they should, but a decision also has to be made on what is best for service delivery, value to the tax payer and a whole host of other information. Sadly, in saying this, there is still a lot of information and actual detail missing in some of the proposals.


*PFA Research Ltd,** All interviews and research conducted in accordance with the Market Research Society Code of Conduct. Thanks also to Unison for use of material


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