UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK




Sponsorship Comms Index Communications Forum Campaigns News Scotland inUNISON Press Releases


Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns


Date 10 February 2007

Sharing public services may threaten public accountability - UNISON

UNISON, Scotland's largest trade union will today express its concern about the potential that the Scottish Executive's 'shared services agenda' may have to take services away from local control. The union's Scottish Council meets in Glasgow today, and will debate a motion critical of the potential impact of shared services on democracy, jobs and services put forward by the union's City of Edinburgh Branch.

Shared services are where two or more statutory authorities agree to jointly run some of their services. Currently there are a number of different initiatives involving councils, health boards, police authorities and other bodies at different stages of development in different parts of Scotland. These larger functions are then often more at risk of privatisation.

John Ross, Service Conditions Officer in UNISON's City of Edinburgh Branch said "We believe this will lead to a deficiency in democratic accountability, will place jobs at risk and will have the potential to damage the link between public services and the communities which they serve. We've already seen what hiving off services to leisure trusts does for accountability, if there are a range of potential 'employers' and authorities to pass the buck around, it would be a recipe for confusion, centralisation and potential privatisation."

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary said "Whilst UNISON members are committed to the efficient provision of services, we don't believe that this is likely to happen if services are removed form the influence of the communities they serve. The threatened move of all Glasgow's Cultural and Leisure function from elected control to a private Trust shows how easily authorities can move services away from the control of the people in the City. The different ways that similar initiatives are being planned across Scotland and across services is leading to considerable confusion."

The union will set up a survey to establish the different initiatives going on across Scotland and use the results to draw up a framework to defend services from centralisation


Note for Editors:- UNISON is Scotland's major public service union, representing around 170,000 workers working for Scotland's public services. The union's Scottish Council (comprising delegates from UNISON branches from across Scotland) will meet at 10.30 am in the City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow. Interviews with delegates and officers can be arranged via Chris Bartter (below).

For Further Information Please Contact: Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 07771 548 997 (m) John Stevenson (City of Edinburgh Branch Chair) 07876 795 018(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)