Thursday, 28 January 2010

Relying on Shared Services won’t work - UNISON comments on Local Government Committee finance report

Date: Thurs 28 January 2010

UNISON - the union representing workers delivering local services in the local council and community sector, today said they were concerned that the report by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government committee published today, seemed to go half way to accepting the myth that shared services would save council’s money in the short term. However the union did welcome some other parts of the report.

Dave Watson UNISON’s Scottish Organiser said:
“Despite incontrovertible evidence in practice that shared services actually cost the public sector more money in the short term, the committee report appears to suggest that these should be used in part to deal with immediate financial pressures on local government. There may be good reasons to share certain services - but immediate cost savings is not one, and the impact on local economies are too often underestimated.”

The union, which represents staff in both the local authority and the community and voluntary sector, welcomed the committee’s warning that freezing workers’ pay levels could be seen as a blunt management tool, and threatened to damage local economies, but said that the lack of a clear recommendation on pay parity between staff in different sectors delivering services was disappointing.

Dave Watson said: “It is clear that the impact of public spending cuts in general and in particular any wage freeze would be damaging for both local and national economic recoveries. We welcome the warning from the committee on that issue, and will be highlighting this in our discussion with local authority employers...

“It is disappointing therefore that the report shies away from recommending fair pay between voluntary sector and local authority staff delivering the same service. Indeed there appears to be some confusion in the report between total pay costs and take home pay.”

UNISON, also welcomed a number of other recommendations in the report, and said they wanted to take part in further debate on service provision.

Dave Watson said: “We are campaigning in our current Public Works campaign for quality, efficient and accountable services. We want to continue the debate with local authorities, the government, and the Parliament. This report, has some positive recommendations towards that end – like the recommendations against outsourcing as a cost-cutting exercise. It is a little disappointing therefore that the relevant trade unions are not mentioned as prospective partners for future discussions.”


For Further Information Please Contact:
Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 07958 122409 (m)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)


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