Friday, 13 December 2013

Your Choice Barnet Week - Outraged at being misrepreseneted - Guest blog by Tony Solomons

By Tony Solomons,

"We are parents of a severely learning-disabled son who uses the Rosa Morison day centre. We have always been impressed with the high quality of its management and staff, as well as the range of activities made available to the service users. So far we have seen no evident impact since Your Choice Barnet took over the running of the centre, and it remains an excellent model of how such a facility should operate. However, we are not complacent. In fact we are seriously concerned about possible changes to the salaries and terms and conditions of the support workers, including the risk of future downgrading. If this were to happen, it would have a hugely detrimental effect on staff morale, and a potentially devastating impact on the quality of service offered by the centre. Rosa Morison must be allowed to maintain its position as a first-class resource, with skilled, highly-motivated staff and happy users."

Having attended the Safeguarding Scrutiny Committee meeting on 27 November, we were outraged that some our words were taken out of context, so that a favourable comment about Rosa Morison was cynically used to imply great satisfaction with YCB as a whole. In addition, our concerns about the future, which accounted for 50% of our remarks, were wholly ignored,  as they didn't fit neatly into the Tory councillors' agenda.
A recent annual review of our son's daily life at Rosa Morison brought home to us the sheer dedication and professionalism of their staff. Our concerns about their future treatment by YCB are therefore even more acute as time passes. Our son's wellbeing and happiness at the Centre is inextricably bound up with the relationships he has formed over many years with Rosa Morison's support workers. It is therefore vital that skilled and experienced staff are retained, so that these relationships can continue to prosper. Agency staff, whatever the particular merits of any one individual, are not the answer.

Conversely, any action by YCB that results in worse conditions for support workers, or causes reductions in numbers or status must not be allowed to happen.

As YCB continue to attempt to balance their financial plan, which makes George Osborne's job look easy, personnel costs will clearly be a major factor. Find a way, YCB, without destroying what we have and what we need for the future of our loved ones.
Tony Solomons is a Barnet resident - Guest blogs are always welcome at the Barnet Eye

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