Top managers face axe in minister’s plan to transfer money to front line

Social work departments in Scotland could be run by directors in
neighbouring councils.

In a shake-up proposed by executive finance and public service
reform minister Tom McCabe, top managers could face the axe and the
money saved re-invested in front-line service delivery.

McCabe believes not all Scotland’s 32 councils need their full
quota of top-tier management. He suggests strategic directors could
run services on behalf of a number of councils or other bodies,
such as health boards.

McCabe also wants councils to consider developing services,
including social work, regionally or contracting them out to
neighbouring authorities.

“Nothing is excluded from the agenda,” he told Community Care.
“We are discussing the possibilities with Cosla. It could include
councils sharing employees or one council delivering social
services for another.”

McCabe said he would take heed of the lessons learned in Wales,
which has already started looking at regional collaborations.

He told the Cosla conference: “Just because we inherited a type
of management structure in 1995 doesn’t mean we are wedded to it in

“There may be changes in the number of jobs, but we are going to
go for management structures that best suit local communities.”

He said he had “no appetite” for redrawing council boundaries
before 2007, but warned of change in the long-term.

“We might need to look at the legislative approach if people
don’t want to change. I don’t want to take that approach but, if
resources can be put to better effect, I’m not going to sit back,”
he warned.

But Keith Johnson, chair of Orkney Island Council’s social work
committee, said regional organisation of services and management
could drive social care jobs away from the islands.

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