United services

COUNCILS in the west of Scotland are closer to a deal which will see them sharing services in an effort to save money.

Seven councils in all will participate in the new move which will see them sharing support services of finance, payroll, revenues and benefits, HR and IT.

This could result in up to 3,400 staff transferring.

A final decision from the councils – Glasgow, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and West, Renfrewshire North Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire – is expected at the end of September.

The authorities have been working on detailed business cases since the publication of the Arbuthnott Review some two years ago. While the move would initially result in a cost of millions, it is projected that it would result in savings of up to £30 million per year.

The plan is that up to 25 per cent of jobs will go through natural staff turnover and voluntary redundancy in the first five years.

However, a word of caution was sounded by Unison’s Scottish organiser, Dave Watson: “It has huge risks for modest savings and even these are built on straw. The top-down development of this proposal is reminiscent of the worst examples of public service procurement in Scotland”.