For years disabled people have fought for and won huge changes in our expectations as to how people with disabilities should be seen and treated. Discrimination is still a prominent feature in our society but the way provisions are discussed have meant we are now more familiar with notions of empowerment and with disabled people having more direct control over how their care or assistance to play an active and independent part in society should be delivered. Towards the end of the nineties Direct Payments were introduced which meant that people could get cash from the Council and employ someone of their choosing to assist them with their activities of daily living. This was viewed positively by movements representing disabled people.
The same cannot be said entirely of Individualised Budgets. There is a feeling that whereas the move to Direct Payments was driven by the Disabled Movement, the move to Individualised Budgets is being driven by the Government. Voices of caution wanting to wait for the full evaluation of the pilot schemes are being ignored as the Government has given the green light for wholesale implementation of the scheme irrespective of the evaluations.
LB Barnet is moving to wholesale provision of care/ assistance through Individualised Budgets now. Through this scheme it is hoping to increase independence, choice and wellbeing for disabled people and save money. No one can be against increasing independence, choice and wellbeing and schemes which seek to develop and promote this should be supported. Barnet UNISON is heavily involved in the discussions and negotiations around the implementation of Individualised Budgets for this reason and because such a radical change will impact massively on the way we work within the council. We have already organised one successful public meeting and we intend to organise more. There will also be workplace based meetings with groups of workers affected.
From Adult Social Services Barnet UNISON has a team of people who will be playing a leading role in the negotiations for our members. The team consists of:
These people welcome your thoughts and ideas relating to what you hear about how Individualised Budgets is being implemented/ proposed in your workplace. What will its effects be on workers and service users? We want to contribute to make sure everyone ends up a winner!