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Date: Tues 15 Jan 2008

Sharing Services won't deliver savings to meet Government targets

UNISON, Scotland's public service union, will today tell MSPs that relying on sharing services to save money in the public sector will not work.

At a meeting in the Parliament organised as part of the STUC TU week, UNISON's Scottish Secretary Matt Smith will point to huge budget overruns in much vaunted schemes abroad, and criticised authorities for uncritical acceptance of savings claims from private consultants.

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary will say "While UNISON is a key supporter of public authorities working in partnership to deliver better and more cost-effective services, Shared Services does not deliver the major savings in the short term that some consultants and government departments try to sell us.

"In Western Australia, for example - used by the Government as an example of successful savings - we now see a programme that is two years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget - $20 million overspend has been estimated for 2008-9 alone. Our own National Audit Office indicates that shared service projects in the UK have so far taken 5 years to break even, and that major investment is needed in the short term to deliver longer term savings.

"If you add in other costs - like increased VAT costs - it is clear that, even if there are longer term saving potentials, shared services will not deliver the Government's desired 2% savings in the short term."

Matt Smith will be speaking to a meeting in the Parliament, (Committee Room 3) at 1.00pm on Wednesday 16 January. In addition to the criticism of overblown savings claims, UNISON is warning that sharing services could mean increased centralisation of jobs draining them from more remote communities, and centralised purchasing that will favour the use of large UK-wide bulk suppliers over local firms.

Matt will say "At a time that Government is advocating sourcing supplies like food locally, to move to fewer, large suppliers, delivering across the UK runs counter to attempts to decrease the delivery mileage and assist in tackling climate change,."


Note to Editors/Correspondents: The meeting in Committee Room 3, at 1.00pm is open to members of the press.

For Further Information Please Contact: Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 07771 548 997(m) Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 07958 122409 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)