Clackmannanshire and Stirling Councils Shared Services project has been running since 2010 and has huge implications for every single member of staff in both organisations.
At our UNISON AGM in February 2015, Clackmannanshire members voted to move our trade union to a position of opposition for the further integration of staff, and the expansion of Shared Services in general. This page has been created as our primary communication method to ensure all members can see UNISON’s activities around Shared Services.
SHARED SERVICES UPDATE – 02 Oct 2015
UNISON were glad to hear that Stirling Council Elected Members have decided that a fully integrated lead authority model of shared services was not going work. UNISON have been campaigning hard for several months to get this message out and I think it’s fair to say that we played a crucial part in exposing the flaws in the Ernst &Young business case which has lead to the collapse of the project.
There are undoubtedly challenges ahead and it will take some time to untangle the mess which our Education and Social Services are in after the 5 years of ‘sort of ‘ integration they have been going through. Staff in those Services, and especially senior staff who are already integrated, will be anxious to learn what will happen to their posts and who they are going to work for.
We understand that our members will be eager for news and want things to happen as quickly as possible. UNISON Chair Andy Kane and Branch Secretary Pam Robertson have met with the Executive Management team and representatives from the Council’s Administration to discuss the ongoing situation. That meeting was productive and there is a recognition of the need to keep staff informed and to move forward as quickly as possible, however it will take a little time to work through once a decision is formally ratified by Stirling Council.
We would like to thank our members for their support during the past few months and we will update you with any new information as quickly as possible.
JTUC Shared Services Special Meetings – September 16th
Trade Unions are now in official consultation with managers and elected members about the future of Shared Services at Clackmannanshire Council.
The JTUC have evaluated the business case documentation prepared by Ernst & Young and we are hosting two special meetings to present our findings to all trade union members and to hear your views on the future of the project. The meetings will take place in Alloa Town Hall on the 16th of September. We will hold one meeting from 12pm until 1.30pm and an additional meeting from 5pm until 6.30pm.
It is clear that moving forwards with full staff integration (Option 2 in the Ernst & Young Business Case) will mean the loss of jobs and a job evaluation process that will lead to reductions in pay for some groups of staff. As far as trade unions are concerned this can only lead to a reduction in service and service quality for two of the most important Services our Council provides.
It is also clear that Shared Services will impact on more than just Education and Social Services. All support functions will be directly affected by the proposed changes and further projects in Services to Communities are currently being investigated at this time. It can only be a matter of time before the rest of the council Services are considered once staff integration begins.
It is vital that as many trade union members as possible, from as many Services and teams as possible, attend these meetings and let us know their views. Over the next few weeks we will be meeting with Elected Members and managers, we will be contacting community groups and local politicians to make our views and that of our membership widely known.
The JTUC is here to act on your behalf, so please attend one of the meetings to make sure that we do just that.
Shared Services Update – August 2015
UNISON is now in official consultation on the Shared Services Business Case documents which were published in July. We have now drafted a position paper which has been sent to Elected Members, the CEO, Shared Services management team and local politicians. A copy of the document can be seen by clicking on the link below. In addition, please see a further spreadsheet detailing figure from the economic case of the Business Case which UNISON acquired through use of FOI legislation.
Date: 3rd July 2015
Embargo: immediate release
UNISON declares Ernst & Young distance themselves from own report
Clackmannanshire and Stirling Councils published their much hyped report into the future of Education and Social Services this week, however Ernst & Young felt it necessary to include a disclaimer that suggests their own findings won’t hold up to scrutiny. The report, as expected, insists that the best way forward is to push ahead with the complex and risky whole sale transfer of staff and services between Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils to achieve a mostly insignificant financial saving of £200k over a long 5 year period.
David O’Connor, UNISON Regional Organiser said “It’s no wonder Ernst & Young felt it necessary to put a disclaimer on their report stating that the work did not include accepted practice for auditing, review or assurance and that the work does not constitute any legal opinion or advice. This disclaimer suggests that Ernst & Young themselves do not guarantee that the report is accurate . Given the level of assumption in the document we have to say, we don’t blame them.”
UNISON will take time over the next few weeks to test the figures and the assumptions behind them in order to ensure that the potential savings and costs described in the report are accurate and achievable only by means of the transfer of staff and services to a neighbouring Council.
Pam Robertson, UNISON Secretary for Clackmannanshire branch, said “After months of waiting we’ve now been provided with this business case document, we are currently scrutinising the document while still waiting for all background paperwork to test the assertions laid out in the paper. Unfortunately we’ve had to utilise the Freedom of Information Act in order to motivate Council management to release all of the information that it holds on this process. We must ensure that the education of our children and the care of the most vulnerable in society are not put at risk by an ill informed budget cutting exercise.”
Lorraine Thomson, UNISON Secretary for Stirling branch, said “I’m astounded that the potential saving for undertaking this risky and costly 5 year project is at best £200k, especially when you consider the cost of commissioning and the staff time put into producing this paper, not to mention the anguish that staff have and continue to face over the future of their jobs and the services they provide. Indeed any delays or shortcomings in a process that doesn’t even take account of changes to Local Government through Health and Social Care integration or changes to Education funding will surely see even these minuscule savings turn into massive extra costs.”
Shared Services Business Case Documents – July 2015
The Shared Services Business Case documents were eventually published yesterday. They consisted of the full Business Case document, a document containing a series of slides that were presented to elected members and an excel spreadsheet showing what appears to be a breakdown of staff in Education, Social Work and staff in Support Services who directly support both of the Shared Services as of 2013/14. Each if these documents can be downloaded by clicking on these links. UNISON will submit our initial response shortly.
Shared Services Job Comparison paper – June 2015
UNISON has published two documents comparing grades and salaries for jobs in Social Services and Education Services in Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils. It’s important to recognise that no jobs in two separate organisations are directly comparable with each other. There will always be differences between jobs, even though they may have the same job title and general remit. It is reasonable to consider the differences in pay between similar jobs in each organisation, to assess the scale of the difficulties that transferring large numbers of staff between those organisations will bring.
1) There are a few jobs where the grade reference number is missing or doesn’t match anything on the pay and grading scheme. (these are listed at the end)
2) Stirling Council has made a political decision to increase basic pay above the level of the Living Wage. It sits at £8 per hour. Clackmannanshire Council has not yet implemented the current Living Wage of £7.85 per hour as they are waiting for the completion of negotiations between Trade Unions and Cosla. Once these talks have ended the pay award, including the Living Wage, will be backdated to April 2015.
Shared Services Update – June 2015
UNISON has published a briefing paper on Shared Services. Click the link below to access it.
Date: 10 June 2015
Embargo: immediate release
UNISON demand Stirling and Clacks council release elusive report
UNISON has called for the immediate release of all Ernst & Young documentation relating to the future of Social Care and Education in Clackmannanshire and Stirling Councils.
In particular, UNISON demand the release of a report – by accountants Ernst and Young, commissioned by Stirling and Clackmannanshire councils – which was supposed to be a balanced investigation into the business case for the 2 councils to share services.
It was proposed that the report would take 7 weeks, it has taken over 30 weeks thus far and has been in the hands of senior council officers of both councils for well over a month. UNISON believe this is an excessive amount of time to make this report public.
Trade unions, staff and many of the elected members are now asking how objective this report is going to be. The longer it drags on the more suspicious and uneasy the staff are becoming about potential decisions being taken behind closed doors.
Stirling and Clackmannanshire councils have spent in excess of £70,000 engaging Ernst and Young – who are one of the UKs big four accountancy firms, in an attempt to find a way to make their Shared Service program work. They propose to run Clackmannanshire schools from Stirling council, and Stirling social work services from Clackmannanshire. This external consultant was supposed to provide a speedy conclusion and ensure they applied the correct level of objectivity to the process.
Pam Robertson, UNISON secretary for Clackmannanshire branch, said “We can’t allow the councils to get this wrong. All of the services that we provide are vital for the people of Clackmannanshire, none more so than the education of our children and the care of the most vulnerable in society. These are the services at risk here. The rationale in moving further forwards with shared services is based upon information that the councils and consultants have produced so far, but the limited information that we have been allowed to see has been flawed; it’s not about service improvements but simple cost cutting.”
Lorraine Thomson, UNISON Secretary for Stirling local government branch, said “this is a piece of work that has cost the tax payer over £70,000 for a consultancy firm to come in and pick the brains of the staff who already deliver the service.We want to discuss how we can improve all of our services by working together. In this case we just want to make sure that when councillors are presented with the final proposal that they don’t make a bad decision based on flawed and incomplete information. That is in the best interests of not only our members, but of service users which in this case means the young and the vulnerable. This is something that the politicians cannot get wrong and we will move heaven and earth to ensure that they don’t”
David O’Connor, UNISON Regional Organiser “It is always worrying when you find out that the only company that bid for a job got it. This leaves us questioning the procurement practices that allowed for this. This process has been ongoing for nearly nine months and it is a huge concern for staff, not just the worry for their jobs, but also for the services they have built and delivered. I think our members concerns are legitimate and were clearly outlined in a recent survey undertaken by UNISON.”
Shared Services Survey Results – May 2015
In March 2015, UNISON ran a Shared Services survey for all staff of both Clackmannanshire and Stirling Councils. The survey asked numerous questions surrounding Shared Services as we wanted to get the honest opinions of staff without the spin and creative interpretation that managers and consultants often use when trying to convince us of how wonderful something is.
Copies of this survey are being distributed to senior managers, elected officials and members of the press. We will be holding meetings in the near future to discuss Shared Services with our members, and there may well be some media interest around it.
We would like to thank all of those who took the time to complete the survey and for providing engaging and quite detailed comments. We hope that you find this survey and report as interesting and informative as we have.
Please click on the link below
Date: 22 May 2015
Embargo: immediate release
Grave concerns for services in Stirling and Clackmannanshire
Council staff have grave concerns about the future of public services in Stirling and Clackmannanshire, says UNISON
UNISON will present a report to senior managers in both Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils today 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 also said “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.”
This staff survey report was handed to the Chief Executive Officers of both Stirling and Clackmannanshire councils today, it is also being circulated to all MP’s, MSP’s and Councillors who represent our constituencies.
Shared Services Update – April 2015
UNISON has published a briefing paper on Shared Services. Click the link below to access it.