Monday, April 21, 2008

Individualised Budgets in Barnet

Dear Colleagues,

Everyone working in Adult Social Services (ASS) will have heard of Individualised Budgets, and the Choice Agenda.

But how many of you are clear about what it will mean for you, our service users and their carers?

Barnet UNISON early last year recognised that massive change was coming, which is why we established early contact with the Director of Adult Social Services and her senior management team.

Just before Christmas 2007, UNISON sponsored a successful Public meeting with a number of speakers. It was clear from discussions at that meeting that delivering the Choice agenda is going to be challenging for staff, service users, carers, service providers, and the Council.

ASS appointed Project Manager (Ed Gowan) was charged with the task of delivering the Choice Agenda. A number of managers from the Care groups have taken on roles of ‘Service Champions’ to look at issues and processes. Regular communication on progress has been cascaded across Adult Social Services.

UNISON has responded by identifying UNISON champions for each Care group; Helen Davies (Older Adults), Peter Wright (Sensory impairment/Physical disabilities) Maggie Guy ( Back office), Liz Thomasson (Learning Difficulties), Tom Mahoney (Mental Health), and Maggi Myland (Social Services Convenor).

Two meetings with Service Champions and UNISON have taken place with more to follow. UNISON recognised that the level of engagement with our members needs to increase. Helen Davies will be the Lead UNISON rep. for Choice Agenda. We are in the process of negotiating some release time for Helen, in the interim you can contact Helen at or

Clearly there will be significant changes if the Choice Agenda is to be successful. UNISON will be looking to set up UNISON meetings across Adult Social Services. It is important that all staff take an active part in this consultation. You have the expertise and the local knowledge, without you the change process will not work.

All change can bring uncertainty, fear, stress and confusion; however it can also bring more creative and better ways of working and delivering services. This is why we need to be talking to all our members across ASS.

Everyone working in ASS wants to deliver better services for service users and carers. UNISON supports increasing choice and independence for service users. We want to take an active role to ensure the structure is able to deliver.

One thing for certain these changes are going to affect the way you work, the services available to service users, your grade, you future career development.

We are circulating this short letter to all of our members. Over the next four weeks we will be looking to set up meetings with UNISON members across Barnet.

But don’t wait…. .......... if you have any ideas, suggestions or questions…… Helen at or

Yours sincerely

John Burgess
Branch Secretary

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