Your Choice Barnet: easyCouncil’s first flight crash lands - many casualties

Details are coming in about the fiasco of “Your Choice Barnet”, the first for-profit Local Authority Trading Company created in the framework of the One Barnet Programme, which provides the services for adults with learning and physical disabilities.

From a forecast surplus of £54,000 presented in the business case by Barnet Council a year ago, it has now gone into a bailout of £1,000,000 by Barnet Homes after the first year of operation.

And they were warned, time and again, that there was no valid business case, that no feasibility study was taken, that the figures they presented in their business Case were pulled out of thin air, that trying to make profits on the backs of the most vulnerable members of our community is wrong and doomed to fail. But they dismissed us with their usual arrogance.

Now the council is proposing to restructure the services and reduce staffing, as detailed in a document written by the resigning operational manager, Amanda Jackson. This document was launched as a consultation with the care worker staff and their trade unions on Friday 1st March.

What the proposed changes mean

  • Combining Barnet Independent Social Housing and Community Space = fewer stimulating activities in a safe environment for your loved ones, which can damage health and well-being.
  • Up to 7 posts will be cut = fewer staff to work with your loved ones
  • Team leaders’ jobs will be cut =.less supervision of, and training and support for, remaining skilled staff
  • Night staff in Valley Way respite unit and in Agatha House will be reduced to only one worker per shift = no incontinence care at night
  • Reduced pay and a 7-day rota without compensation for evenings and weekends = loss of some professional staff and lower morale and motivation among remaining staff
  • Reduction of staff on already stretched services = negative impact on staff health and well-being, more sick leave taken, and the knock-on impact on service quality.
  • Charges for transport and escorting services = increased costs for the vulnerable

Amanda Jackson, on the other hand, got a golden parachute, on the backs of the people she was supposed to take care of, like the former chief executive Nick Walkley who walked away from One Barnet and resigned before the biggest contract was signed.

The “creative mind” behind this easyCouncil flight is the former Leader of the council and the current MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Mike Freer. Do remember this name when election time comes around.


Barnet Alliance is supporting Barnet Council’s staff and unions campaign - ‘Your Choice’ Care Workers Campaign. BAPS & ‘Your Choice’ Care Workers Campaign are jointly calling to the council to bring these social services back in-house. Please download a petition form here and collect signatures for this important campaign.

You can download the leaflet that explains the background for this petition here.

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