The proposal for the move for Children’s Services from Carrow to Vantage House came from management on the 9th April 2016.
UNISON Stewards at Carrow House immediately went into action, pointing out that this would be foolish. There were no safe spaces at Vantage House, there were no toilets accessible to visitors, no safe reception area and no parking which was being offered at a variety of public car parks in the City. This was in contrast to the facilities available at Carrow House which had been set up with a safe system and crucially had parking. Social workers, staff and visitors could enter and leave safely and importantly for this service, access their cars on site.
A risk assessment was completed with UNISON, care staff and health and safety staff input which highlighted how unsafe the Vantage House move would be.
Despite this there was and remains to this day little engagement with staff about the proposed move. A staff and visitors petition was set up by Stewards and sent to senior management. Even as late as 27 October 2016, staff were still waiting for answers.
To this day, the only response has been in the 15 November 2016 Children’s Services Committee paper,” Locality Accommodation Strategy” which confirms the future locality base at the North Wing County Hall once it has been refurbished, whenever that may be. This is a success for staff and UNISON stewards who have opposed the move to Vantage House from the start and will now remain at Carrow house until County Hall accommodation is ready.
The new proposal to bring staff to the Tower (County Hall, first floor) when it was refurbished but SCCE and the Access Service moved from Vantage House to take this floor.
UNISON Stewards in Children’s Services have been at the forefront of opposing this and their team should move (safely) to the North Wing in 2018/19.