Plan targets value for money for disabled people
North London adult social care organisation Your Choice Barnet
has announced new plans to offer disabled people better value for
money and more flexible services.
The plans aim to reduce costs for specialist support and care
for people with learning and physical disabilities, as increasing
numbers take control over their social care by choosing personal
Your Choice Barnet was created by Barnet Council in February
2012 as a sister organisation to social landlord Barnet Homes. It
provides services to hundreds of people with a wide range of
learning and physical disabilities.
As it enters its second year, it is seeking to make substantial
efficiencies to ensure that it can offer competitive prices for its
specialist services in comparison with other social care
The new plans also include the possible introduction of more
evening and weekend services at some schemes, giving disabled
people and their parents or carers more flexibility to choose
sessions that suit their lifestyles.
Your Choice Barnet hopes the plans will also attract additional
customers to its services, which include specialist support for
people with autism and profound disabilities, a supported living
scheme to help people with learning disabilities to live
independently in their own home, and a respite service offering a
break to both service users and their parents or carers.
The efficiency proposals include a restructure of the Your
Choice Barnet management team and some restructuring of individual
teams. The plans would lead to an overall reduction of 6.8
full-time equivalent posts.
The plans would also see the Barnet Independent Living Service
(BILS) move out of current premises at the former 'Flightways'
building at Grahame Park, which is in a poor state of repair and
requires major modernisation. The service would merge with Your
Choice Barnet's CommunitySpace service, and disabled people needing
centre-based support would be able to use the Space building in
Other proposed changes include:
- the end of weekend and night-time pay enhancements for staff,
to be replaced by a flat pay rate
- the introduction of schemes to encourage greater use of
volunteers for non-specialist tasks and a social care
apprenticeship scheme to support more Barnet residents into
- the introduction of more Assistant Support Workers to provide
non-complex support, such as personal care, so freeing up a smaller
group of Support Workers to carry out more specialist work.
Your Choice Barnet is today (Friday 1 March) launching a 90-day
consultation with staff and trade unions on the proposals, with a
final decision on the proposals expected in late May 2013.
Your Choice Barnet Chief Executive, Tracey Lees, said: "We're
very proud of the quality of the Your Choice Barnet services, but
the move to personal budgets and direct payments means we have to
look increasingly at combining quality with value.
"We have to ensure that our services remain affordable to the
increasing numbers of disabled people who are electing to take
control over how they spend money on their care and support. We are
operating in a market and our costs need to be competitive. This
will also help us to meet our targets of attracting new customers
and new business.
"We've demonstrated at our sister organisation Barnet Homes that
it's possible to combine efficiency with quality. We've stripped
away more than 20 per cent of Barnet Homes' operating costs since
its creation but our tenant satisfaction is at record levels. We're
confident we can repeat this at Your Choice Barnet.
"There's no doubt this will be a difficult period for many staff
in Your Choice Barnet, but these plans are absolutely necessary if
we are to achieve our objective of providing excellent services at
good value to disabled people."