26 May 2011

Barnet Council's LATC press release in full

New trading company set to provide greater choice

Mr Mustard's comments in red as usual 

Barnet Council is to become one of the first local authorities in the country to establish a ‘trading company’ to help deliver adult social services. ( you forgot to mention that this is a Government initiative - not more One Barnet nonsense )

Last night (24 May 2011) Cabinet Resources Committee agreed that the council should look to set up a Local Authority Trading Company (LATC) in conjunction with Barnet Homes. ( please take a very good look and have due regard to Mr Reasonable's blog on the subject of huge potential tax liabilities )

The move is a key step as adults with disabilities are transferred to a system of direct payments which they can use to pay for their care. ( I am all in favour of giving control to individuals but how will they cope with the complexities of the system. I have worked with money all of my adult life and sorting out my uncle's income support, disability living allowance, care allowances, care home fees etc was a heck of a job )

These cash payments are intended to give residents greater choice and control over how their needs are met and where money is spent – but the system does not allow residents to buy the services they need directly from the council. ( That is the system that the Government has chosen - it seems a rather artificial way of doing things. All that is happening is another layer of administration is being added )

Once set up, the new trading company will provide a point from which to purchase those services. ( If you wish presumably. The Council will end up in competition with Hays, and others, who supply the staff and who effectively control the staff resource. Who will win; why Hays of course ).

In the process more people will benefit from greater choice and control over their care. ( Sounds like a fine theory but the practical will be much different )
The LATC will be wholly owned by Barnet Council but will have its own board of directors and manage its own operations. ( And possibly its own plush offices, vehicles, a new SAP system - £20m spare anyone, £100,000 a year employees, probably a battery of consultants and so on )

The staff who will run the new LATC will be drawn from both the council and Barnet Homes, the organisation responsible for managing the borough’s social housing stock. ( Will they move for less money ? - I don't think so. Why not look for the best available people from the wider pool of Barnet residents ? )

In future, other local authorities or individuals outside the borough could approach the trading company to purchase services, helping generate income. ( If I suffered from migraines - one would be coming on at this prospect. Barnet Council has already lashed up Council tax billing this year ; more change = more mess )

Cllr Sachin Rajput, Cabinet Member for Adults, said: “I appreciate that it may not be obvious to residents how this relates to them, but it is an important change to the way the council works and will make sure that we can continue to meet the needs of disabled people. ( Well perhaps you should explain yourself more clearly then Cllr Rajput. I will leave readers to say how well Barnet council meets the needs of disabled people as I don't have enough first hand experience to comment )

“This is about forging a new relationship with citizens by giving people greater control over the services they use.” ( Barnet One Speak for "Aren't we wonderful" - No. )

Tracey Lees, Barnet Homes’ Chief Executive, added: “I’m delighted that we could now have the opportunity to extend our expertise to support the delivery of adult social care services. ( A good time to vote myself a salary increase and a new limousine )

“We are determined to build on our success as a social landlord while offering excellent support to drive service quality and efficiency within adult social services.”  ( Is this the social landlord that needed expensive help from consultants Habanero to change the waiting list points system; and the Barnet Homes which in their March 2011 newsletter  contained the following satisfaction rating 
Satisfaction with the quality of major works – then: 34% now: 19.1%
19.1% -No further comment
Tread very carefully Barnet Council - bloggers are everywhere and they are watching you.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard 

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