Will this be a good move or not? What do you think? We would welcome any impressions for or against such a move in the comments box below.
New trading company set to provide greater choice
Barnet Council is to become one of the first local authorities in the country to establish a ‘trading company’ to help deliver adult social services.
Last night (24 May 2011) Cabinet Resources Committee agreed that the council should look to set up a Local Authority Trading Company (LATC) in conjunction with Barnet Homes.
The move is a key step as adults with disabilities are transferred to a system of direct payments which they can use to pay for their care.
These cash payments are intended to give residents greater choice and control over how their needs are met and where money is spent – but the system does not allow residents to buy the services they need directly from the council.
Once set up, the new trading company will provide a point from which to purchase those services.
In the process more people will benefit from greater choice and control over their care.
The LATC will be wholly owned by Barnet Council but will have its own board of directors and manage its own operations.
The staff who will run the new LATC will be drawn from both the council and Barnet Homes, the organisation responsible for managing the borough’s social housing stock.
In future, other local authorities or individuals outside the borough could approach the trading company to purchase services, helping generate income.
Cllr Sachin Rajput, Cabinet Member for Adults, said: “I appreciate that it may not be obvious to residents how this relates to them, but it is an important change to the way the council works and will make sure that we can continue to meet the needs of disabled people.
“This is about forging a new relationship with citizens by giving people greater control over the services they use.”
Tracey Lees, Barnet Homes’ Chief Executive, added: “I’m delighted that we could now have the opportunity to extend our expertise to support the delivery of adult social care services.
“We are determined to build on our success as a social landlord while offering excellent support to drive service quality and efficiency within adult social services.”