Unions express grave concerns for services in Stirling and Clackmannanshire
The union has presented a report to senior managers in both Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils which raise grave concerns about plans to run Clackmannanshire’s education services from Stirling, and Stirling’s social care services from Clackmannanshire.
UNISON’s report is based on a survey of 331 staff from both councils. Staff were asked to give their views on what is being called ‘lead council model’ for shared services between Clackmannanshire and Stirling Councils. The proposals being considered would mean that education for both councils would be run by Stirling Council and social care services for both councils would be run by Clackmannanshire Council.
Staff who were surveyed said that these new proposals will result in a ‘poorer service with potential for serious consequences’ that services will ‘continue to deteriorate’ and some staff even suggested that if these plans go ahead it will be an ‘unmitigated disaster’.
Staff also said there will be increased confusion saying, ‘how will you know where to find out if you qualify for a service’; ‘people will be confused over who provides their services’; and ‘they will be confused over where to go if you have any problems’. Staff also said they would be confused about ‘which policies to follow from which council’
Pam Robertson, UNISON secretary for Clackmannanshire branch, said: “This report shows that council staff views are clear. They think these proposals will cause confusion for the public, that services will be less accountable to the public, and that local jobs will be lost. Council services are complicated enough to navigate and many of the people we serve are vulnerable and in need of care. They will not cope well with a change like this.”
Lorraine Thomson, UNISON secretary for Stirling local government branch, said: “Our two councils work very well together already. Staff welcome joint working where it improves our services to the public. But we have looked across the world to see where this type of reform has been tried before and the concerns raised by our staff are exactly what has happened elsewhere. It creates confusion, has no accountability, local jobs are lost and it ends up costing council tax payers more for worse quality services.”
Lorraine added: “We want to discuss how we improve all our services by working together, but in this case we just have to persuade elected councillors not to make a bad decision.”