Unwelcome distraction for voluntary action groups

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UNISON West Sussex is disappointed that Adur and Worthing Councils (AWC) have repeated the erroneous claim that Adur Voluntary Action (AVA) and Voluntary Action Worthing (VAW) should serve our members notice of redundancy (‘New Voluntary Contract Delays’, Worthing Herald, April p7).

We wrote to AWC on March 24, to set out that in these circumstances our members’ contracts would simply transfer to Brighton Community Works (BCW) as the chosen provider of these services in Worthing and Adur. We also expressed the view that, given the delays, AWC should immediately provide bridging funding to the current providers to ensure the continuity of the important services they provide.

UNISON is relieved that our advice was followed. The anonymous council spokesman quoted in the Herald is mistaken that the AVA or VAW staff are at risk. The council has every intention of coming to agreement with BCW for what is an ongoing contract for services.

To be clear, the delay in signing contracts with BCW is entirely a result of a fudged procurement process by Adur and Worthing councils.

UNISON believes this episode should be a lesson to ACW that competitive tendering practices are expensive and ill-suited to getting good value for tax payers.

AVA and VAW are rooted in their communities providing vital services to some of the most important charities in the Worthing and Adur areas. This has been an unwelcome and wholly unnecessary distraction to that work.

James Ellis

Branch Negotiations Officer

UNISON West Sussex

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