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Date: 15 June 2006

Scottish model of public services must be base for revitalisation- UNISON responds to Tom McCabe

Scotland's Public Service union, UNISON today gave a cautious welcome to the debate on the revitalising of Scotland's public services proposed by the Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform (Tom McCabe MSP), said public service staff were geared up to play a major part in the discussions, but expressed concerns regarding some of the potential debate.

UNISON's Scottish Secretary, Matt Smith said "UNISON has already launched its manifesto for Scottish Public Services - 'We've been revitalising our public services'. The principles outlined in that document are essential to deliver public services Scotland needs. - Democracy; Investment; Fairness; Excellence and Partnership. The essential difference is democracy, and the paper could be stronger in this regard. We need to look closely at how to return democratic accountability to the Quango state for example."

The union also said that this debate should not be a lever to introduce job cuts or privatisation, and pointed to existing areas of staff shortages - eg social work and nursing, as problems that had to be tackled.

Matt Smith said "Improvements cannot be delivered without the investment of resources - both financial and in staffing. We believe that the ethos of public service is different from that of the market. Our members are the experts who can frame, propose and deliver real change. The principles we have laid out can provide the basis for public services the world will look to as an example.

"Scotland has been successfully delivering its own model of public services, and should continue to base these services on collaboration and co-operation - rejecting calls to introduce competition. We should certainly compare ourselves with other countries, but these should be comparisons with countries of similar size with similar geographical and social backgrounds, for example the Scandinavian countries."


Note for editors:

The Manifesto - We have been Revitalising our Public Services - is also be available on the UNISONScotland website. www.unison-scotland.org.uk/revitalise.

For Further Information Please Contact:

Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 07771 548 997(m) Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser - Policy) 07958 122 409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)