Decisions by the Cleveland CC reorganisation appeals panel, which hears complaints from county staff about transfers to unitary councils, were questioned by the commission. Members now have to explain their rulings to the area's four unitary councils.
The panel has upheld appeals from more than 70 staff fighting to be transferred directly to the area's four unitaries. Staff eligible for transfer are those whose work means they are in direct contact with the public more than half the time.
The panel has rejected only two appeals so far. The Cleveland councillors have assumed their decisions are final and successful appellants should be put on the transfer list. But next week the commission will issue a circular allowing unitary councils to object to appeal rulings.
Another 110 appeals, which include the whole of the property services department, have yet to be heard, but these have been postponed until all four unitaries agree to the first batch of decisions.
Meanwhile time is running out to finalise the transfer lists, which have to be submitted to the DoE in early November.
Commission chairman Alan Atherton has written to Cleveland CC warning that the commission could override the panel's rulings if the unitaries don't agree to them. The commission will advise the DoE on whether to accept the transfer lists before they are made law.
- Employers' secretary Charles Nolda has written to Cleveland unitary personnel directors urging them to 'proceed on a fair basis' in recruiting staff.
The four councils succeeding Cleveland CC are supposed to consult unions and the Staff Commission on jobs before advertising them. But by last week's deadline for the unitaries to submit their second-tier structures for comment, Middlesbrough UA and Hartlepool UA had already advertised posts. Redcar & Cleveland UA had not completed its structure.
Unison regional officer John Slater said that unless he received fresh assurances from chief executives of the four unitaries that they intended to honour the consultation plan, the union would consider industrial action.