Easy Council! – Special offer all council services on offer for One Penny closing date 27th August!

“Tories adopt budget airline service model”(Guardian 28April 2009)

Today Barnet Council was Front Page news in the Guardian newspaper see link


For those staff still not registering the implications of the Future Shape consultation, perhaps this will mark the beginning of discussions in team meetings across Council.  

Further links to EasyCouncil story can be found here  

·         http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/aug/27/tory-borough-barnet-budget-airline 

·         http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/aug/27/barnet-council-conservative-party 

·         http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/aug/27/barnet-ryanair-pricing-model 

·         http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/27/localgovernment-conservatives 

·         http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/conservative/6102167/Barnet-council-adopts-easyJet-and-Ryanair-business-model.html  

Phoney War

Since the 6th July 09 when Cabinet approved the move to Phase Three there has been a ‘Phoney war’ feel about Future Shape. There has been no details on the next Phase, no meetings in which we can begin to try to understand and consult over proposals for services.  

Then this!

Comparisons with Easy Jet and Ryan Air I believe are dangerous & unhelpful in that they play to residents & staff fears that services are going to sold off to the lowest bidder. Using a low cost airline as benchmark for public services does not feel right when you are talking about public services.  

What do you think?  

The last four weeks I have had the privilege of going back into social work teams in both adults & children’s services. I can report now that from the little I have seen staff are doing a brilliant job; working under incredible pressure & public scrutiny.   

I saw first hand the need for some of the Future Shape ideas such as avoiding duplication of tasks (form filling) using an IT system which all social workers and their fellow professionals can access. To address this issue we will need investment and pooling of budgets across other public sector bodies. There is nothing ‘Easy Jet’ about sorting this important issue for social services!  

I understand that this project has been dubbed ‘Easy Council’ catchy, good newspaper headlines but sending out the wrong message for the thousands of hard working staff trying to deliver efficient, quality services across the borough.  

In one of the links above a Barnet Councillor is quoted saying  

“With council tenants, and I’ll admit I am putting it crudely it has been a lot of ‘my arse needs wiping, and somebody from the council can come and do it for me.’ That attitude is dying out now.”

I am concerned that an elected councillor in Barnet has this view. The increasing pressure on spending on Social Care has led to ever more stringent criteria to access services. According to the Council’s Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) you need to meet substantial/critical criteria to get a service which will involve lengthy & detailed assessments.

What next?

Early next week we should be receiving details on the implementation plan for Future Shape. We will be discussing the plan with our members at our branch meeting on

Monday 12 October 12 – 2pm. Conference Room, NLBP

Make sure you come along