Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Reform must improve public services, not cut costs

#STUC12 Quality public services are the mark of a civilised society and are necessary for any growing economy, UNISON's Stephen Smellie told the STUC today. Users and staff must be put at the centre of public services that prioritise long term prevention and promote equality.

He slammed consultants as the 'modern scourge' of public services. "Within the ideological orthodoxy of austerity, the consultants' response is either to outsource or merge services - standard business solutions to the quest for profit but not appropriate for services about people and democratic accountability", he said.

"The experience is that they don't improve services, they often don't save money", said Stephen as he pointed to the Highland social care integration with all the upheaval and transfers of staff with outcomes for users at best unpredictable.

Stephen also highlighted the 'personalisation' agenda that should be about empowerment for service users but was being used explicitly to cut costs in councils and starve third sector providers of funds. He paid tribute the members at Quarriers, led by Stephen Brown, who were forced to stike because of huge pay cuts and hug cuts in care packages.

The STUC backed a seven-point plan to campaign for better services, rulign out privatisation and challenging the two-tier workforce. It also warned that regaional or local pay in the public sector would depress the Scottish economy.

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