A report will go to the Policy & Resources Committee at the end of January entitled “Delivering Differently in Inverclyde”. The report examines those measures which the Council have taken in the past, as well as future measures that could be taken in response to the crisis in Local Government funding. Although the report stops short of making actual recommendations, it does set out a ‘vision’ for future models of service delivery which could further compromise democratic accountability of local services.
The Council have previous form when it comes to transferring services to unelected bodies. In 2001 Leisure Services were transferred to a Leisure Trust and in 2003 there was the Large Scale Voluntary Transfer of the Council’s Housing Stock to a new Registered Social landlord – River Clyde Homes. In 2011 Community Facilities and in 2015 Outdoor Facilities were also transferred to the Leisure Trust. The establishment of a CHCP in 2010 didn’t exactly result in the transfer of services but it did give a degree of control of services to the NHS GG&C Board. This control has now shifted to the Integrated Joint Board, although that is more to do with legislation introduced by the Scottish Government than anything the Council has done.
The report to the P&R Committee states that “…over the next two years the Council will also look at programmes to deliver options for further shared services, sourcing services externally and the potential for community transfer.”
The Branch will continue to scrutinise and challenge any business case brought forward. As we did some years ago successfully with the Clyde Valley Shared Support Services project and more recently in respect of shared services for Transportation & Roads. UNISON holds an open albeit cautious mind when it comes to shared services. In fact we accept that in some service areas a sharing of plant or fleet as well as a shared procurement strategy can be potentially positive. However we also recognise that Councils have in the past been exposed as having delivered very weak and unworkable business cases.
The Branch will discuss these potential future challenges and develop a strategy should further transfer of services be proposed. We will also be talking to the main political parties locally to understand better their commitment to ensuring accountability in the provision of services locally.
Unison (Inverclyde Branch)
30 Bawhirley Road,