Headlines: June 18th, 2007



Local authority leaders in Scotland have welcomed the Scottish Executive’s approval for five projects implementing shared services for local government, which will release 2.1 million pounds from the Efficiency and Reform Fund. COSLA, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities said the schemes would lead to millions of pounds in savings for councils.

The projects all involve local, regional and national collaboration with direct involvement of partners from at least ten local authorities. COSLA President Pat Watters said, “The projects will result in better public services and cash savings of over 10 million pounds over the next few years for all councils.”

The five schemes that have been approved are the Public Information Notices project, which will develop a new way for people to use the Internet to get easy to use information on services such as road works. At the moment the public sector in Scotland spends about 10 million pounds a year on public notice advertising. The Joint Working in Orkney project is designed to demonstrate how the sharing of back office services between Orkney Islands Council and the NHS in Orkney can be delivered in practice. There is also funding for preliminary work by the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership to work on service improvements and more efficient provision for users throughout the islands. There will also be a Shared Workforce Management and Planning project, to be led by COSLA in line with one of the National Themes in Scotland. Finally, eight Clyde Valley councils are to work together to establish more efficient and high quality training and development.

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney, said the Scottish government was determined to declutter the public sector and focus resources on improved delivery of frontline services. “Local government is a key player in helping us to achieve our overarching goal of sustainable economic growth,” he said.