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Date: 10 September 2007

Careers need local delivery - not another quango - UNISON

UNISON, the union representing Scotland's careers staff, today responded angrily to the announcement by Cabinet Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, that Careers Scotland staff will be transferred to a new quango.

UNISON Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said: "So much for a 'bonfire of the quangos', 'decluttering the public sector', and decentralising services, not to mention the SNP's own manifesto commitment to align careers more closely with the education sector. Grand visions are all well and good, but staff who deliver services want some practical demonstration that the Scottish Government is really committed to local delivery. The creation of a new quango is the wrong approach."

Careers Scotland staff, in a union survey, overwhelmingly backed a careers service run by local authorities on a regional basis - an option in the consultation. The front line staff believe that careers is a good fit with the range of local government responsibilities and wanted to emphasise the importance of joined up service delivery.

They would welcome the opportunity of moving to local democratic control working with colleagues delivering similar services. Staff specifically rejected the option of creating another centralised, unaccountable quango, but opted for 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.

Dave said: "We are particularly concerned that the Cabinet Secretary, despite representations, made no effort to hear the views of front line staff before reaching this decision. Her letter to staff talks about engagement but only after the event.

"I am today writing to the Convenor of the Parliament's Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee, asking her to set up an enquiry into this plan to deliver careers services and skills development."

For further details of UNISON Scotland's preferred option for Careers Scotland see: http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/careersdemerger.html.


For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 07958 122 409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 07715 583 729 (m)