Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Council cultural trusts: UNISON warns of higher costs and loss of accountability

UNISON today warns MSPS examining local authority cultural trusts about higher costs and loss of accountability.

Regional Organiser Dougie Black is giving evidence to today's Scottish Parliament Education & Culture Committee.

As reported in today's Scotsman, UNISON has major concerns about the increasing use of trusts and arms length external organisations (ALEOs) to deliver local government services. Many cultural trusts run leisure, library and museums services.

Dougie told the Scotsman: "Our museums and galleries hold priceless artefacts owned by us all. UNISON is concerned that large sections of public service delivery are being shifted off to arms length bodies with very little research into the effectiveness of such change."

The key driver to setting up leisure trusts is to save money by obtaining charitable status to avoid paying VAT. But costs can rise and accountability is very weak.

Our evidence to the Committee is here.

Mark Bramah, of the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE), also submitted evidence about "important issues of governance, accountability and scrutiny", and stated that he was misquoted in the Scotsman report.


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