Policy and the relocation of the CSA
Response to Scottish Parliament Finance Committee investigation
into the Scottish Executive Relocation Policy and the relocation
of the CSA
UNISON Scotland is pleased to be able to respond to the Finance
Committee's request for views on the relocation of the CSA.
- UNISON Scotland is pleased that the Finance Committee is
investigating issues relating to the Scottish Executive's
- Whilst UNISON Scotland is largely supportive of the Executive's
Relocation Policy, we do however have some concerns over the
implementation of this policy.
- UNISON believes that, to date the overwhelming majority
of business case papers presented to the Executive recommending
relocation have lacked a clear methodology. We are also concerned
that these papers have also succinctly failed to present clear
evidence-based research to substantiate the conclusions reached
in favour of relocation.
- UNISON is also concerned that the human aspects of relocation
have failed to be taken into proper consideration by those
preparing the business case papers recommending relocation.
In many of the larger relocation projects the Executive has
largely ignored the human costs.
- Relocation has left many employees with the stark choice
of either resigning their positions or being forced to move
away from families and friends, and taking their children
away from schools, disrupting their education.
- UNISON also believes that the short time-scales placed upon
NHS employers to prepare evidence-based papers are totally
unacceptable. These short time-scales effectively preclude
effective partnership working and consultation with trade
- UNISON has already voiced its concern over the NHS National
Shared Services Review, which we believe could lead to a number
of relocation issues for UNISON members across Scotland.
- We believe strongly that it is important for UNISON to engage
with the Scottish Executive now to ensure that the rights
of our members are recognised and an agreed process can be
put in place to take forward the Relocation Policy in a more
- UNISON Scotland also has concerns on the wider issue of
relocation and the centralisation of shared services in the
NHS, the Police Service and the Fire and Rescue Services.
We are opposed to the centralisation of shared services. These
will, in most cases, require major organisational change,
with new sites, new systems, and significant relocation and
redundancy of staff.
- UNISON Scotland believes that on the issue of re-deployment
it is just not feasible for the staff in the current locations,
who are mainly low-paid, female workers, to up-root families
and move to new centres. We believe that in reality this situation
will mean that many current members of staff will be faced
with either a redeployment or redundancy situation.
- UNISON Scotland is also concerned that staff involved in
delivering shared services will be under considerable pressure
to meet customer expectations, in most cases with no additional
resources. Our concern is that this will lead to stress issues
and have an overall negative impact on staff morale.
1. Whether you had any consultation with the Scottish Executive
or the Common Services Agency on the locations and criteria
for selecting the final location prior to relocation.
The Scottish Executive failed to consult with UNISON on the
locations and criteria for selecting the final location prior
to relocation. In addition, UNISON was not made aware of the
criteria the Scottish Executive Capital Investment Group applied
to make their decisions of recommendation to Ministers.
Unlike the Scottish Executive, the CSA was able to engage in
partnership with UNISON throughout the relocation process and
they have been made fully aware of our concerns with the process
throughout the last 2 years. Over the period of the review the
CSA also entered into a formal consultation process with UNISON,
however due to the time-scales laid down by the Scottish Executive
and the end of lease dates etc for property this was a greatly
reduced period of time and was over location only.
UNISON also received a great deal of information, including
financial costs, from the CSA and we were pleased to see the
CSA take the view that they wished to be open with staff and
their representatives regarding important details of relocation.
However, at this time there still remains serious issues and
concerns that UNISON has raised in relation to members Expenses,
additional time, parking, child care costs etc.
2. What information you received on the reasons for the
final location choice
UNISON Healthcare Branch received the following information
from the CSA regarding the reasons for the relocation choice.
Whilst recognising there were staff issues CSA management felt
that these could be overcome.
- Lease costs increasing on current building
- New building more flexible
- Improved location for customers
- New building will enable new ways of working
- Better for business
The Scottish Executive has failed to furnish UNISON with any
explanations for the decision to relocate and the choice of
3. Whether you have received any feedback from staff on
their experiences of relocation following their relocation,
and if so, what was the feedback?
Until the CSA relocates to its new premises in May/June 2004
we will be unable to comment on the experiences of staff.
However, UNISON is constantly receiving feedback from members
regarding the overall relocation process and in this regard,
staff have voiced their dismay that the process to date has
concentrated on issues surrounding property and largely ignored
the human aspects of relocation, which more directly impinge
Whilst UNISON is supportive of the overall aims of the Executive's
Relocation Policy, we have major concerns over the way in which
this policy is currently being implemented and its effect on
staff. As regards the relocation of the CSA to a newly constructed
building on the outskirts of the city UNISON members have voiced
their concern over added work time, expenses, child-care arrangements
and work/life balance issues
UNISON members have also voiced their dissatisfaction that
the CSA had to wait over a year for a decision to be made on
relocation and many commented that this had a detrimental effect
on staff morale. The uncertainty over whether the review process
would recommend relocation coupled with the added uncertainty
over likely regions of relocation became a major concern for
many members of staff.
Whilst UNISON Scotland has tried to discuss a phased approach
to the CSA relocation in an attempt to secure current staff
we are not confident that this will happen. Many of the current
staff will be faced with either a redeployment or redundancy
situation. It is worth noting that whilst redeployment is being
advised as a resolution by the Scottish Executive the jobs are
just not available to allow this number of staff to be re-deployed
elsewhere within the NHS. We are also being advised that the
posts are still available therefore there is no redundancy situation,
obviously UNISON does not agree with this interpretation.
4. Whether you are aware of any unexpected issues that arose
following relocation such as premises suitability or additional
costs, which were not anticipated by the original location reports
and if so, what those issues and costs were
As noted above, UNISON will not be in a position to answer
this question until relocation is completed in June 2004. However,
it should be noted that following the Outlined Business Case,
the new property in Edinburgh was found to be too small as the
CSA had miscalculated their staff numbers (short by over 100).
They then had to take out leases on 2 additional suites of the
new building at an additional cost of over £4.5million
pounds over 15 years. If CSA can miss this out at this stage,
we do expect additional issues and increased cost following
the relocations to 4 new buildings