Thursday, 1 November 2012

Barnet Council entering an "informal agreement" to provide financial advice for elderly residents

I am rather disturbed a by a delegated powers report which has turned up on the Barnet Council website. It seems that in a bid to save a few bob, the council has entered into an "informal arrangement" with a My Care My Home (MCMH) to provide advice to people who self fund care. My Care My Home is a private company (It is now 100% owned by Shaw healthcare (Group) Limited, which provides £100 million of care services every year to people in the community), which makes it's money by charging for its services. According to its website  it says:

How is it now financed?

  • By the charges which it makes on its chargeable services
What does Barnet Council want fromn MCMH? They say
The establishment of an informal relationship and a pathway with My Care, My Home (MCMH) will provide readily accessible information and advice at an early stage. MCMH are an established national provider of information and advice, already successfully working with a number of other county councils. Through the pathway residents of Barnet will be able to access information and advice supporting them to plan care options for the future, including financial planning and options available to remain independent and living
at home.
Why does it want to do this?
Better services with less money – Increasing demand for social care is placing significant pressure on council budgets, this pressure is exacerbated by self funders (people who have savings/capital above the nationally set threshold, currently £23,250) who apply for local authority support following the depletion of
their savings/capital.
So what concerns me? In the risk management issues it says the following:
As the Memorandum of Understanding between Barnet and MCMH will be a noncontractual, non-binding arrangement, the Council will have no entitlement to enforce the arrangement at any point. Consequently, if MCMH fails to comply with the terms of the arrangement and decides not to continue with the arrangement, Barnet would be obliged to accept the, relevant, position.

So Barnet Council are introducing elderly and potentially vulnerable elderly people to a private company, who charge for advice and with whom the council have no contract and no way of regulating the arrangement. Of all the crazy DPR's I've ever read, this is perhaps the most worrying and most ill thought out. I am sure that MHMC are a decent and reputable company, but to engage a company in such a role with no formal agreement and no checks and balances, to my mind, verges on insane.

If you were wondering who authorised this agreement
This Memorandum of Understanding is signed but does not establish a contractual
relationship on the day and year first written
Acting by Kate Kennally
Director, Adult Social Care & Health
Here is the full details

1821 - Independent Ageing Improving Information and Advice for People Who Fund Their Own Care FINAL

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