Date 26 January 2007
Public service workers are service users too
Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary of the country's largest trade
union, UNISON, will today (Friday) call for politicians and the
media to stop creating a false division between public service workers
and service users.
Speaking at the Holyrood public service conference 'Who Delivers?'
in Glasgow, Matt will reject the false notion that there is a conflict
between service users and service providers.
"Public sector workers are central to the delivery of better public
services," Matt will say. "They are tax-payers and service-users
too, and have a vested interest in well-run, well-funded public
services. The sooner some politicians and some in the media realise
this, then the sooner our members can start to deliver the Revitalised
services we all want."
Matt will point out that people, not structures, deliver excellence,
and that the debate on efficiency and effectiveness must avoid being
restricted to cost.
Matt said "Gordon Brown said the 'best public services are founded
on values greater than material,' and Revitalising public services
requires those services to be based on ethical principles. The principles
of democracy, fairness, partnership, investment and excellence that
we advocate in our campaign."
The union has put forward many positive ideas to improve Scotland's
public services, including public service networks, increasing democracy
into the quango state, and creating a level playing field between
public and private investment. They oppose expensive and wasteful
PPP/PFI financed facilities and reject the notion of the false 'choice'
agenda and the introduction of markets in the public services.
Above all, Matt will say, public service workers and users need
to be involved at an early stage in the debate on increasing efficiency
in the public services. "Workers respond constructively to meaningful
involvement and realistic timetables and objectives. But it must
be recognised that there are genuine concerns about centralisation,
the effect of job loss on services, and the need to maintain and
attract quality staff into these services."
Note for editors: Revitalise our Public services - UNISON's
campaign will run up to the Scottish elections and beyond. The manifesto
is available on www.unison-scotland.org.uk/revitalise Matt will
be speaking at 11.50 am at the Conference which is being held at
The Teacher Building 14 St Enoch Square Glasgow G1 4DB
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