Barnet Council’s transfer of services for people in need of care to new provider has been described as a "disaster".

The programme which provides a six-week period of care to people who need help regaining their independence, was taken over by Aquaflo Care last Monday (September 5).

But errors which arose from the takeover of the service, which was previously outsourced to Housing 21, left social service staff overworked and many people expecting care not knowing why they were going without.

According to workers’ union Unison, social care workers were encountering instances of people not being seen for three days and one woman was not provided with her necessary insulin medication to treat her diabetes.

Barnet Council became aware people were not receiving their care visits and was forced to use emergency measures in an effort to rectify the situation.

Some cases were transferred to other providers, new cases were suspended and efforts were made to contact residents to warn them of the difficulties with providing service.

Weekend and out-of-hours services were put in place to carry the work, which union representatives said put a strain on the workforce, further damaging care quality.

A Unison spokesperson who asked not to be named said: “This just shows outsourcing is not the solution, this sort of service needs to be directly under council control to avoid this kind of disaster.

“Calls were coming in from colleagues in tears, or near enough, from the strain they were under and the struggle to give people the attention and care they deserved.”

Concern came from the Labour opposition group at Barnet Council over Aquaflo, operating the service under the name Enable Barnet, were running the service without having been inspected by the Care Quality Commission.

Labour council group leader Cllr Barry Rawlings said: “It is especially worrying the council would risk such an important service on a provider without CQC approval.

“This is irresponsible governing and I hope the council will work to find a swift solution to straighten this out.”

According to the council, Aquaflo provides care in other areas of the UK and has two branches across London with published CQC inspection reports.

The company’s new Barnet office has not yet been fully inspected by the CQC, but the council said it works closely with the CQC where there are provider concerns.

Councillor Sachin Rajput, chairman of the adults and safeguarding committee, said: “We are very disappointed the transfer of our enablement service from our former provider to our new provider Aquaflo Care did not go as we had planned.

“This falls below the level of service our residents should expect and we are working closely with Aquaflo to make sure our vulnerable residents are safe.

“We are taking this matter very seriously.”

The Times Series was unable to reach Aquaflo for comment.