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Wed 31 August 2011

Council right to dump flawed shared services proposal – plan had 'Edinburgh trams' written all over it

UNISON Scotland tonight (Wednesday) welcomed the decision of West Dunbartonshire Council to opt out of shared services scheme for support services. The plan would have involved considerable upfront investment and disruption, which would have delivered only modest savings - in the unlikely event of targets being met.

UNISON has analysed the full business case for the Clyde Valley Shared Services scheme. There is very little evidence to support the sweeping financial assumptions in the proposal. Savings are based on current delivery models, not the systems that will be adopted in this massive shared services operation.

There has also been a lack of staff engagement and involvement in the development of the scheme – this is a ‘one size fits all’ solution covering many different Council areas. It is no surprise that individual councils will not think it meets their requirements.

UNISON’s Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said:
"We are glad that West Dunbartonshire has backed away from taking a risk with people’s services and council taxpayers money.

"This shared services plan was based on a poor business case and flawed assumptions - it had Edinburgh trams written all over it.

"If councils are serious about reform they will engage with their staff before drawing up schemes. Reforms will only be successful when they are driven from the bottom up with the aim of improved services, not from the top down with the aim of meeting cash targets. A proposal developed in darkened rooms without any meaningful staff or trade union engagement was unlikely to stand up to proper scrutiny. Tonight’s decision proves that."

Note to editors:

UNISON Scotland analysis of Clyde Valley Shared Services full business case is at

For further information / comment contact:
Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser - 07958 122 409
Stephen Low, Policy Officer - 0795 685 2822