Our new social care organisation, Your Choice Barnet, was officially launched on Thursday 23 February.

People with disabilities are looking forward to a new era of increased choice over the support they receive following the introduction of the new Barnet-based social care organisation.

Your Choice Barnet is providing support to well over 200 adults with learning and physical disabilities via six diverse services throughout the borough of Barnet.

More than 100 service users, staff and council representatives gathered at Your Choice Barnet’s Rosa Morison centre on Thursday 23 February to celebrate the official launch of the new company.

The new chair of Your Choice Barnet, Deep Sagar, and Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Cllr Sachin Rajput, highlighted that the new organisation will allow service users to use direct payments to purchase support and exercise far more choice when it comes to their individual plans and the services they choose.

Deep Sagar said: “As the name of the new organisation indicates, we want to give you the service users more choice over the support you receive, not just personal budgets but personal plans tailored for each of you.

“We are very grateful to Barnet Council for taking this innovative step and for making this possible.”

Cllr Sachin Rajput said: “The services are excellent and tailored to the individuals’ needs. We want to set the bar for other authorities and give service users the opportunity to buy, choose and shape services.”

The launch also included two speeches from service users with disabilities, who described what their services mean to them and their hopes for the future with Your Choice Barnet.

Service user Michael Isaacs, from Your Choice Barnet’s Flower Lane Autism Service, said: “The staff support me to do lots of different things. Last week I preformed at the Barbican with the London Symphony Orchestra – I played the xylophone.

“I am proud of myself now and my life is getting better and better.”

Following the speeches the Mayor of Barnet, Cllr Lisa Rutter, along with service user, Kayleigh Thompson, cut a cake displaying the new Your Choice Barnet logo.

Your Choice Barnet aims to offer people with disabilities support to live their lives as independently as possible, and to exercise genuine choice over the care and support they receive. It will also be partly managed by those it supports, with dedicated director positions on its board for both a service user and a carer.

Your Choice Barnet employs more than 200 staff who have transferred from Barnet Council. Its creation, as part of a new wider council-owned organisation called The Barnet Group, will enable people to use direct payments to purchase the services it provides.

It is the first time nationally that an arm’s length management organisation has merged with a trading social care company in this way.