Date: 18 August 2006
Councils' efficiency measures will stall unless workforce involved
UNISON - The unison representing staff in both Stirling and Clackmannanshire
Councils - today said that the proposals for Joint Working between
the councils' were being put at risk by the councils' failure to
involve their staff unions.
Pam Robertson, UNISON's Clackmannanshire Branch Secretary said
"Despite Scottish Executive recommendations of an early and continuous
involvement with staff trade unions, all that UNISON has received
from the Council are very general papers about the aims of the experiment,
and speculation about the potential savings. There has been one
brief meeting and no negotiations. In Stirling our colleagues have
had a similar lack of contact! It is long past time that the people
who deliver these services are asked their views.
"UNISON has always been willing to look at innovative ways of delivering
services. But these exercises are never successful unless staff
are involved and supportive. A large number of questions are thrown
up by both this exercise and existing discussions about shared services.
Who runs the services? Who employs the staff? What the implications
are for democratic accountability? Is it a good idea to centralise
local services? What are the dangers of EU procurement legislation?
Will staffing cuts mean more work loaded onto front-line staff?
And many more.
UNISON will be demanding answers to those questions from both councils
before we give any approval to any such proposals. The proposals
plan to move most council services onto a joint working arrangement
follow consultation on Shared Services issued by the Scottish Executive.
However where shared services tend to concentrate on important support
services - like payroll, information technology etc, these proposals
deal with front-line public services such as housing.
Lesley Russell, UNISON's Stirling Joint Branch Secretary said:
"UNISON has concerns about proposals that may lead to substituting
local service points with centralised IT-based services. This can
lead to services that are less accountable to local people, more
heavily reliant on technology with its attendant risks, are more
open to privatisation, and virtually never make the savings anticipated.
Sharing the work can be a good idea, but it needs to be very carefully
arranged, not rushed at to try and make some target unrelated to
the delivery of services.”
For Further Information Please Contact: Pam Robertson (Clackmannan
Branch Secretary) 01259 722282(w) Lesley Russell/Abigail Robertson
(Stirling Branch Joint Secretaries) 01786 443440(w) email at firstname.lastname@example.org
John Fair (Regional Officer) 07903 846 329 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer) 07715 583 729(m)