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Photo essay: Barnet’s disastrous privatisation of elderly care

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Banner: "Where is the staff's dignity...?"

So it ground on. There will be no great triumph for careworkers. There rarely is as privatisation rolls on.

The careworkers took the hit - and so did the council. Towards the end of 2010, the council lost the arbitration case with Catalyst Housing: Catalyst was awarded £8m in arbitration and the council had to pay that, and £2m in legal fees, out of reserves - at exactly the time that it was planning to make £53m in austerity cuts.

By 2011, there were also growing concerns about standards in Barnet carehomes: in addition to careworkers' concerns about the effects on services of workloads and work hours, legionella was found in three homes.

Careworkers continue to take hits: earlier this year, Barnet Housing 21 staff (careworkers who travel round the borough to care for elderly people and people with disabilities) were presented with a contract which will cut their salaries and leave and travel allowances.

Still, Barnet council continues with its plans to mass-privatise council services. The council's internal auditors produced a report this year which slammed its procurement and contracting processes, but on it goes.

Kate Belgrave blogs on the experience of public service users facing cuts.


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