Your Choice Barnet was set up as a Local Authority Trading Company (LATC) to provide adult social care for some of the most vulnerable people residents in Barnet. The purpose of the "arms length" organisation is to separate out the delivery of services from the funding of services. In so doing it has very neatly allowed Barnet Council to wash its hands regarding the provision of care services and to find a very underhand way to cut social care budgets.
John Sullivan wrote on Friday that a friend of his had seen their monthly charges from Your Choice Barnet (YCB) rise from £672/month to £1,120/month since April - a 66.6% increase. This is not because the person was having more service or because wage costs have risen 66.6% but because the business plan that was written when YCB was being suggested was fundamentally flawed. They assumed at the time that they would be generating income from lots of new customers something which anyone with an ounce of common sense would have challenged as high implausible. Indeed Barnet Unison analysed the report in detail and found serious shortcomings which undermined the credibility of the entire scheme. But as ever in Barnet, a few political dogmatists ignored the obvious and pressed ahead with YCB.
Two years on and the entire scheme is falling apart. Staff are being made redundant meaning worse care will be given to service users, and charges are rocketing. And very neatly Barnet Council are standing on the sidelines saying "Not us Guv. Take it up with YCB". Well on Wednesday evening it is every residents opportunity to show your disgust with YCB as there is a lobby organised of their quarterly board meeting.
Wednesday 29 May, Committee Room 2, 1st Floor, Barnet House. The meeting starts at 6.00pm so get there at 5.30pm to make sure you get a seat.