Published: 22/07/2004, Volume II4, No. 5915 Page 23

I was baffled by your news story on Agenda for Change (page 5, 8 July) as I was not aware that Sunderland had 'pulled out'.

Second, an accurate quote from myself is linked to a suggestion around delays in the implementation date. I certainly said that 'progress is slower than expected' but I did not say that the implementation date may have to be moved back again.

Indeed at the time of talking to your reporter we were finalising the date for our special health conference, which has now been confirmed as 7 October.

This will be followed by a ballot, with a result to be announced by mid November. This timetable fits with the proposed implementation date of 1 December.

Jon Richards Senior national officer Unison