You would think that at my time of life and my experience of cuts that I would become immune to the brutality of Austerity cuts.
But today, my head exploded as I attended a statutory consultation meeting which is proposing to delete the only two welfare benefits advisors we have left in the Council.
I will post greater details about this proposal but needless to say the two staff concerned are highly skilled, motivated and totally committed to advocating for some of the most vulnerable families in our community.
Welfare Benefits is a nightmare to navigate even social workers refer to our welfare benefits advisors as do the few remaining voluntary organisations that are left after a series of cuts to the voluntary sector.
Our two members are providing service to vulnerable families with complex mental health problems. Mental Health appears to be attracting a lot of attention, a lot of warms words, but it is this sort of cut that exposes the words are empty.
The proposals to replace these vital two posts with a ‘Financial Inclusion Coordinator”.
I kid you not that the service is going and this post will sign post vulnerable to services, but the thing is there are no equivalent services for these families.
When Ken Loach refers to “conscious managed cruelty” I think I can understand what he means, who in their right mind in social services would want to do this or even think this is a good idea.
What makes me even angrier is the amount of money this proposal will save is negligible when compared with the amount of money Barnet Council is spending on agency and consultants. Since 2012, spend has risen incrementally from £7.73 million to just under £20 million by 2017.
Read it for yourself here http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/is-anyone-monitoring-capita.html
What about the damage to the families who will no longer receive the support they are currently being provided.
Before anyone says there are other agencies that can provide the same services. No there are not.
This proposal is appalling and must be stopped.
Barnet UNISON and our members will do our utmost to stop this from happening. The benefit system is too complex, there is no other provider we can’t let this cut destroy more peoples lives.
We need to save this service.
You can send messages of support to Barnet UNISON office at firstname.lastname@example.org