Sunday, 31 March 2013

Time for our local councillors to start acting like adults

I have been forwarded an email exchange between Tirza Waisel (local co-ordinator of the Barnet Alliance for Public Service) and Councillor Sachin Rajput, the holder of the social care portfolio in the Barnet Cabinet. Councillor is one of more ambitious of the Barnet Conservatives and also one of the more sensible ones, having displayed a degree of scepticisim about the One Barnet program way above and beyond that of his colleagues.

Councillor Rajput was asked to attend a meeting to explain his views on how the council should provide social care to parents and carers of people, who have concerns with the current policy. I have to say I'm a little disappointed with the response of Councillor Rajput. Whilst I fully understand that his diary may be full and a prearranged meeting should take precidence, the offer to meet parents one to one to discuss the issues does not seem to me to be an appropriate response. The whole purpose of a group meeting is to inform as many people as possible. Not everyone is confident enough to have an individual discussion, but many people are highly interested. It seems to me crazy to spend the time having the discussion and not inform as many people as possible who may be interested.  Councillor Rajput should recognise this and embrace the chance to get such excellent feedback from people at the coalface of social care.

I'd like to remind Councillor Rajput that the parents and other family carers save Barnet Council millions of pounds. Supporting care at home is a far more cost effective solution to care than institutional care. Councillor Rajput should recognise this and fully support such people as best as he can. Last year Council Leader Richard Cornelius attended such a meeting organised by BAPS and confirmed to me that he was surprised at how well organised the meeting was and how much effort was made for a civil discussion of issues. I am sure that, like councillor Cornelius, Councillor Rajput is a big boy and can look after himself.

I strongly ask him to reconsider his response. I am more than happy to host such a meeting at my business premises at any time which is convenient. I'd also personally guarantee that Councillor Rajput would be treated in a respectful and civil manner. These issues are important and many people have concerns. The council must learn how to properly engage with the people it serves and how to treat them as adults. I'd also urge them to recognise the huge contribution they make to the London Borough of Barnet.

 Subject: RE: Invitation to speak on a panel discussion Thursday 11 April
        Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2013 15:31:52 +0100
        From: Rajput, Cllr Sachin Conservative
        To: Barnet Alliance

Dear Ms. Waisel,
Thank you for your email and the kind invitation therein to attend the meeting on 11th April 2013 at 7pm.   Unfortunately I, like every other Councillor in the Borough, will be required to be at Hendon Town Hall for the Group Meetings that take place about a week before each Full-Council meetings and which happen to be on the same date as your meeting.  Please therefore accept my apologies.
If you and indeed a handful of parent-carers you refer to would like to speak to me on a one-to-one basis after your meeting has taken place I am happy to arrange a time for that to take place at North London Business Park.  Please let me know if you would like to do so and I will arrange for some dates and times to be considered.
Best regards,
Cllr. Sachin Rajput
Cabinet Member for Adult Services
Councillor for Oakleigh Ward

From: Barnet Alliance []
Sent: 27 March 2013 16:19
To: Rajput, Cllr Sachin Conservative
Subject: Fwd: Invitation to speak on a panel discussion Thursday 11 April
Dear Cllr Rajput,

Following a couple of meetings with parents-carers to adults with learning disabilities I can now testify that the level of anxiety among these voters regarding the proposed changes to Your Choice Barnet is increasing. I know that people will seek reassurance and the opportunity to talk about their concerns with their elected representative in charge of adults social care policy.

We are looking forward to hearing back from you regarding our invitation, below.

Tirza Waisel,
Barnet Alliance for Public Services

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Invitation to speak on a panel discussion Thursday 11 April
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2013 06:49:19 +0000
From: Barnet Alliance
To: Rajput, Cllr Sachin Conservative

Dear Cllr Rajput,

We would like to invite you, as the Cabinet member responsible for Adults Social Services, to participate in a panel discussion about the proposed changes to Your Choice Barnet, part of the newly formed LATC.

As you will be aware, the proposed policy changes in services to adults with learning and physical disabilities as a result of the financial difficulties of YCB, is quite alarming for service users, parents-carers and staff alike.

Whilst still awaiting an official consultation with the family carers of those using Your Choice Barnet's services, and while remembering the clause in the LATC Business Case that promised to bring those services back in-house in case of a failure, we are facilitating an open community information and discussion meeting about it.

We would like to offer you the opportunity to address the people affected as well as others in the community and to hear their concerns first hand.

The meeting will take place on Thursday 11th April at 7 pm at the Greek Cypriot Centre, Britannia Road N12 9RU.

Looking forward to your confirmation by reply,

Tirza Waisel, Coordinator
Barnet Alliance for Public Services

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