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Date 7 September 2006

Scotland's careers service should be returned to democratic control

See also: Demerger of Careers Scotland Response

Scotland's careers service should be returned to democratic control, according to UNISON, the union representing careers staff. Ministers want to move Careers Scotland out of Scottish Enterprise by April 2007 and a Scottish Executive consultation on the plan closes this weekend. (Sept 10)

UNISON Scotland today supported option four in the consultation. This would see Careers Scotland run by local authorities on a regional basis. UNISON said that representatives from each region would form a co-ordinating body to maintain the ‘brand' and profile of Careers Scotland and to deal with strategy, national standards, consistency of delivery and regulation.

The move was given decisive backing by Careers Scotland staff in a union survey. Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser - Policy, said UNISON is strongly opposed to other options in the consultation. These included merger with or setting up another quango.

"We believe that the Scottish Executive should move quickly now to arrange for councils to set up four regional boards, based on the existing regional areas operated by Careers Scotland,” he said.

"The careers service is a good fit with the range of responsibilities which local authorities have and ministers have rightly identified the importance of joined up service delivery. To create another centralised unaccountable quango would be sheer folly.”

James Corry, Scottish Enterprise Branch Secretary, said: "Our members overwhelmingly backed this option against any of the quango options. Scottish Enterprise has not been a supportive home for Careers Scotland and our members would welcome moving to local democratic control working with colleagues delivering similar services.

"We are also urging the Scottish Executive to return the vacancy handling service to Careers Scotland as it plays a key role in our remit of reducing the number of young people not in employment or training.” UNISON has specifically rejected a proposal, reported last week, that Scottish Enterprise should be split into two, with a new quango set up including Careers Scotland and the agency's other skills and training responsibilities.

Mr Watson added: "There was supposed to have been a bonfire of the quangos, yet quangos now take a considerably greater share of the public sector budget than councils. Careers Scotland is a prime example of a public service which can be incorporated into existing democratic structures.”


Notes to the Editor

1. The four regions proposed are the existing ones of West, South West, North East and South East.

2. UNISON Scotland's full consultation response is available on our website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/careersdemerger.html

3. UNISON represents around 80-90% of the 1100 staff.

For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser - Policy) 07958 122 409(m) James Corry (Branch Secretary) Tel: 0778 5517204(m) Peter Veldon (Regional Organiser) 07904342285(m) Chris Bartter(Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)