Sheltered Housing – More Choice or Budget Saving?

Residential Options for Older People in Barnet with 24hr cover – a summary

At home with Life Line or Telecare

Lifeline is a pendant alarm. The alarm is worn round the neck. The wearer presses the pendant to raise the alarm. The control centre takes the call and can communicate with the wearer and/ or contact relatives, friends or the emergency services. For someone to have a lifeline they must be able to understand what an emergency is and they must be able to know they press the button in an emergency. They must also be able to physically able to activate the pendant.

For people who have difficulty using a Lifeline there is telecare alarms. The person must wear the equipment which may be an alarm attached to a belt or may be a pendant. The alarm is merely dependent on the wearer radically changing position from vertical to horizontal to be activated. The change in position could indicate the wearer has fallen. This alarm also connects to the control centre. Once the alarm has been raised a similar procedure follows as with the Lifeline.

People can have these systems and be in warden controlled or sheltered housing.

Care packages can also supplement these forms of support.

Warden Controlled.

The warden does not live on site and so is not accessible 24/7. In all other respects this form operates the same as sheltered housing. The resident should not expect the warden to carry out aspects of care, and certainly not routinely. Nonetheless the warden contributes to a very smooth support network for the resident e.g. helping the resident settle back in home following a stay in hospital. The warden has contact with each resident at least once/ day to make sure they are ok. Referrals are dealt with by Housing department (except where privately owned).

Care packages can also supplement this form of support.

Sheltered Housing

The warden is lives in the sheltered accommodation or is accessible 24/7. The warden can provide valuable information on the habits and background of residents which also contribute massively to OT and social work assessments – probably health-led assessments also. Again the warden is not expected to contribute to provision of individual care routinely but definitely contributes in many ways to the smooth support for a resident to remain in an independent setting. The warden has contact with each resident at least once/ day to make sure they are ok. Referrals are dealt with by Housing department (except where privately owned).

Care packages can also supplement these forms of support.

Extra Care Housing

This form of support is new. Residents have flats within the unit as with sheltered housing. As a minimum they have 24hr support available similar to that provided by wardens. However, there are care workers who can be used to provide care and personal care support day and night. The idea being to enable someone to remain in a home setting as long as possible. The need for care during the night does not place someone at risk of having to move to residential care in this setting. Referrals come through social services or are made direct to the scheme.

The care package would be assessed by a social worker but is provided within the extra care housing.

Residential Care

The resident would have a private room possibly with ensuite shower and toilet. This is 24hr care. All residents in this setting would be very dependent on care workers for most aspects of their daily living and be at risk at night. Increasingly the referrals to these units are for adults with dementia or high risk of falls. Referrals are through social services unless someone makes a private arrangement. Extra Care Housing is promoted as being a superior form to Residential Care which is why residential care will increasingly have the “heavier end” of the care spectrum.

Nursing Care

The resident here would have a private room possibly with ensuite shower and toilet. This is 24hr care. The staffing ratios are higher here than for residential homes and there are more nurses available throughout the day and night. Residents here have complex and intense care needs 24/7. An element of the care provided is nursing care e.g.: people needing 24hr oxygen and not being able to operate it independently; people requiring assistance of 2 to mobilise and/ or needing a hoist to get in or out of bed; people who are at high risk of developing pressure sores due to their dependence on others for moving at all.

End of jargon? –YES PLEASE!

End of jargon? –YES PLEASE!

This Press release from the Local Government Association is to be welcomed to those of us who sometimes feel that we need to have one of those United Nations translators when reading public sector reports.

To view the press release click on link here 

Join the G20 march – Put People First


On 28 March thousands will march through London as part of a global campaign to challenge the G20 ahead of their summit on 2 April.


Even before the banking collapse, the world suffered poverty, inequality and the threat of climate chaos. The world has followed a financial model that has created an economy fuelled by ever-increasing debt, both financial and environmental.

Our future depends on creating an economy based on fair distribution of wealth, decent jobs for all and a low carbon future.

There can be no going back to business as usual.

People from all over the country will join the march on March 28.

Be one of them. 

Listen to UNISON General Secretary on why members need to turn up and support the rally on Saturday 28 March.

click here 

For more information on the march go to Put People First website


The ASSEMBLY point for the march is now confirmed. Barnet UNISON members should gather (look out for our banner) from 11am on Victoria Embankment by Temple tube station on March 28th. The postcode is WC2R 2 PP. This is a link to a google map.

The nearest tube is Temple, but Embankment, Blackfriars and Waterloo are short walks away.

Future Shape – How YOU can get involved?

What we need from you?

We understand that our members have busy lives and unable to make time to attend more meetings. So we are conducting consultation through the internet and ‘traditional’ (by post).

We have devised Four Groups

1. Strengthening democratic government and community participation

2. Community need for public services

3. Improved coordination and shared services

4. Harnessing technology to improve service delivery

We have Common questions for all groups

1. What are your ideas for the future of your service or group of services, taking account that you will not have access to significant additional resources in the near future?

2. What is the key change which will get your proposals implemented – is this better use of existing resources, pooling of budgets, changing the management of service delivery, greater operational freedom for staff and/or organisational change – or something else?

3. What changes are needed in the Council’s organisational structure?

4. Consider the inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes for each proposal.

Group 1

Strengthening democratic government and community participation

1. Do you have specific proposals to improve democratic accountability in Barnet to increase community participation in decision-making processes?

2. What should be the main elements of a Community Charter to increase community participation in Barnet?

3. What effect will the Future Shape organisational structure have for democratic accountability and community participation?

4. How can existing arrangements and legislation (for example the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment – PCT and Council and the Local Government Act 2007) be used to improve community participation?

Group 2

Community need for public services

1. What effect will a long recession have on the need and demand for public services in Barnet (both Council and other services)?

2. Is there a need for new services which are either not currently provided or provided on a small scale?

3. What are the key improvements that community organisations and the voluntary sector are demanding from the Council?

4. Are there any services or functions which the Council or other public bodies in Barnet do not currently provide but should do so

5. Are there any services or functions carried out by the Council and other public bodies in Barnet which could be reduced or terminated?

6. What is the community experience of services which have already been outsourced or externalised to arms length organisations by the Council or other public bodies in Barnet?

Group 3

Improved coordination and shared services

1. What is the scope for better coordination of service delivery between the Council and other public services in Barnet (such the Primary Care Trust, the NHS, Barnet College, the Police, Middlesex University, Jobcentres?)

• Identify the services – are they limited to ‘back offices services’

• What is the scope for better coordination and integration?

• How can this be achieved and implemented

• Identify the improvements/benefits which can be achieved

• Are there any costs/savings?

• Are organisational changes needed?

2. Is there scope for more formal shared service delivery between the Council and other public services in Barnet?

3. Do you think there is scope for Barnet Council to establish shared services projects with other London Boroughs?

4. What are the political and economic advantages and disadvantages of shared services projects?

Group 4

Harnessing technology to improve service delivery

1. What is the scope for introducing new technology to improve service delivery?

2. What impact will these changes have on the organisation of work, working practice, staffing levels and accommodation needs?

3. Do you think the ideas for the application of new technology being discussed in the Council’s Future Shape group are workable?


YOU decide which Group and questions you want to contribute to.

You can send in your views, contributions by email to or return your comments in the pre paid envelope provided in the letter you received from the branch.

“It’s all gone quiet over there …it’s all gone quiet over there!”

Members have been asking what is going on with Future Shape. There has not been much on the intranet and the Trade Unions have not been consulting with their members.

Firstly we are not keeping anything from our members. Since the turn of the year we have had only two meetings with the Future Shape lead.

We support the intention for transparency throughout the process and have asked that those without access to the intranet be provided regular communication on developments. We will endeavour to keep members updated with news on progress of the groups and our input.  

Earlier this year we received a report on the Future Shape Groups

To view click here

Two weeks ago we received a report on the proposed outline for the Groups.

To view click here

& Group membership

To view click here

As you can see the Seven Groups have a considerable amount of work to get through before a Future Shape report has to be submitted to the 8 June Cabinet Committee. Each Group will meet at least four times over the next few months.

The Trade Unions were not allowed to be part of the Groups. In order to try and ensure we are able to take part in the consultation process we are arranging to meet with the Group Leaders before each meeting.

To date we have met with 5 of the 7 Group Lead and should have met with all of them by Wednesday this week.

Whilst we will try to keep updating our members on Future Shape you should try and keep checking the Council Future Shape intranet site for the latest news. Each Group will be uploading minutes of meetings and the work plans. If you have any questions of any of the Groups it is important that you ask them now.

Save the Planet – Listen to the talking Fridge

This week, European regulators will start setting new efficiency standards for fridges, TVs, and other products. Strong rules could massively cut Europe’s climate pollution, but industrial lobbyists are pushing to weaken the proposals.

Please read and listen to an unusual message: a video sent back in time from the future … by a talking fridge named “Coldy.” Click the picture to watch the video and take action now:

Barnet College students – Make your Mark

First time Voters

Barnet Trades Council commissioned Barnet College students to look at how first time voters could be encouraged to take part in elections.

Please note Monday show is for the general public and Tuesday for Barnet College students only

To view the times & venues of their performances click here

Adults Social Services Restructuring

You will be aware we had lengthy discussions regarding the job descriptions. We have now begun the process of job evaluations. This means looking at the pay for each role. To date the only one which has been agreed is the Service Manager grade. We are in the middle of difficult negotiations about the pay rates for all other grades. This is taking some time as we are trying to be thorough and make sure people are properly recognised for the work they do. It is also the case I have 2 days per week to attend to Adult Social Services. It would be fair to say, at the moment, we do not see eye to eye on a number of points on the job evaluations. I will keep you updated.

Work-related Stress

In the middle of this I have been hearing of the stresses experienced by teams and individuals. I can only encourage those colleagues to speak up about those problems. Stress at work is an immediate Health and Safety issue and you should not feel you have to wait for a restructuring to take place in order to put an end to unacceptable levels of stress. Warning signs would, for instance, be breaking down in tears because of work, disrupted sleep pattern etc. Tell your UNISON representatives and your manager and discuss a way forward with them.


Safeguarding Audit 

Also in the middle of the negotiations on the job evaluations the unions (UNISON and GMB) were suddenly given extra role profiles and evaluations to complete with respect to the Safeguarding team. These are also still in the process of being negotiated. Colleagues have identified, in casual conversations and approaches to the union, the safeguarding audit as being a source of additional stress.

I will be meeting with Social Workers in Adults Services to discuss the issue of minute taking in Adult Protection cases.


It’s Good to Talk 

If anyone or group of workers wants to meet a UNISON rep to discuss a way forward with all of this I may not be able to arrange one instantly but I am always committed to meeting people to see what we can sort out. So please do contact me at the UNISON office if you need to arrange something. Sometimes advice over the phone can be a big help also.

You may want to convene a discussion with colleagues about other matters relating to the union or your work and work practices. It’s your union, your right to have your say, contact us to organise a meeting. This is often the first step to getting things to change. I will always do my best to attend and will always support those trying to change things for the better.


Helen Davies

Social Services Convenor (Job Share)

Contact us: 020 8359 2088.


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