Eight councils in Scotland have agreed to pool their social care commissioning and training resources as they prepare to save £70m over five years.
The councils – West and East Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, Glasgow and North and South Lanarkshire – are understood to have no plans to merge their services and become a “super council”.
Instead, they intend to streamline health and social care by taking a joint approach to commissioning, procurement and training across their children’s and adults’ services.
It is hoped to save 10-20% of existing expenditure.
“Every council in Scotland is facing the most significant budget gap in living memory,” said Ronnie McColl, leader of West Dunbartonshire Council.
“The shared services project will help contribute towards meeting that challenge in a way that reduces the burden on the taxpayer and still provides good levels of service to the local community.”
The councils have linked with local agencies, including the police and NHS, to form the Clyde Valley Community Planning Partnership. Together, they provide services to more than one-third of Scotland’s population.
Proposals to share services in four areas, including social care and waste management, will be presented to the councils’ chief executives and leaders at the end of November.
But trade unions have criticised the councils for failing to provide staff with more detail.
“There have not been any discussions with trade unions,” said Stephen Smellie, branch secretary of Unison in South Lanarkshire and chair of the union’s social work issues group. “It’s all a bit of a mystery.”
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