Barnet councillors approve new body to administer social care for adults

PLANS to start a new body to manage adult social services and Barnet Homes were given the go-ahead last night. Councillors claim the new local authority trading company is necessary because of a change in the way cash is allocated to people.

Residents now have the choice to administer their own social care budgets through direct payments, but the rules mean they are not allowed to pay cash directly to the council.

Instead, the new group will administer services and also have control over Barnet Homes.

At last night’s cabinet resources committee, Councillor Sachin Rajput, who heads the department, promised it would save £3.8million per year.

Stand-in leader Councillor Andrew Harper welcomed the move, but warned ”better services are part of the expectation” for the new service.

The move has been questioned by trade union Unison, which fears staff moved over to the new body will miss out on benefits and conditions they currently enjoy.

However, Cllr Rajput said: “All staff will be transferred on their existing terms and conditions and will be eligible for local government pensions.

“Frontline staff numbers will also be protected, but this will drive down costs by sharing some functions with other services.”

Last night’s approval means a shadow board will now be formed for the trading company, which will start negotiations with the council over contracts.

Two members of the public asked questions highlighting concerns around the viability of the service and how officers think it will be able to make a profit.

Cllr Rajput said the service would run longer opening hours for people who are self-funding and from other boroughs, which would increase revenue.

Councillor Richard Cornellius urged officers to keep looking at the tax implications of setting up such a body and asked them to continue to take advice to protect the council.