Wednesday, 16 November 2011

An open letter to Cllr Rajput, Cabinet member for Adult Social Services from Janet Leifer

Dear Cll. Rajput,

On 24 October, only 3 weeks ago, you sent a letter to voluntary sector organisations in Barnet, asking them to collect from their networks of users ideas for the borough's first Local Account. In your letter you wrote:

'Please help us to create our Local Account by telling us:

1.      Which social care services you would like us to particularly focus on in our Local Account

2.      What information in particular about these services you would find interesting to know, and what would help you to judge how successful they are

3.      How we could best present and publish this information

We need your ideas by Friday 19 November 2011. '

As a group of people who have used Barnet adults social care over the past year, we have experienced a lot of cuts to our services and have been seriously affected by the changes to social care policies. We have been talking with carers and people who use various services up and down the borough, most of who experience deteriorating quality of life, growing risk to their health and well-being, frustration and feeling of abandonment in the face of these changes.

Therefore we are puzzled about your motives in asking for service-users and carers' help in producing this Local Account. Can you please explain what is a local account and what will it be used for?

However, since you ask which services we would like information about, and
as a result of our conversations with service-users and carers, the following are the areas we are concerned about:
1.    The effects of the Fairer Contribution policy of charging for support services on service-users and carers; how many service-users have cut down their use of services?
2.    Barnet's use of outside contractors to provide care services - how does the council monitor and evaluate them?
3.    The involvement of carers in Needs Assessments and reviews of the people they care for – how fully is it implemented?
4.    Services for people with learning disabilities – how are they addressing these service-users' full needs and dignity?
5.    Older people's services
6.    Services for people suffering mental ill health

While we would have welcomed a genuine attempt to evaluate services for the sake of serving the best interests of users and carers, we have concerns that gathering the information you appeal for is impossible with such a short notice. Is it really possible to collect objective and valid data, which will represent accurately the state of affairs of adults social services, including hard-to-reach groups of users, in such a short space of time? The requested date of 19th November for replies from services does not allow for a reliable and valid response either from voluntary sector organisations or service users. 

In these circumstances the overall concern is that the survey results will be unreliable and invalid, and will be used as an appearance of a democratic public consultation, and a whitewash of the harsh reality many social services' users and carers face.  We are concerned that since you, Cllr Rajput, are responsible both for the cuts in adults social services and for a self-assessment of them, this Local Account cannot be genuine and objective.

Janet Liefer, on behalf of
CADDSS – Campaign Against Destruction of Disabled Support Services

Janet Leifer is a guest blogger for the Barnet Eye and a local resident of the London Borough of Barnet

1 comment:

Mr Mustard said...

What about the soi-disant Insight department at Barnet Council . What are they doing?