West Dunbartonshire set to withdraw from shared services plan

PLANS for West Dunbartonshire Council to merge services with other local authorities are set to be scrapped.

Members of the area’s SNP group met yesterday and agreed to support withdrawal from the proposals.

The Lennox Herald reported last week that trade unions feared council jobs in this area could be axed if West Dunbartonshire went ahead with the merger with councils across Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire.

It is thought the proposals could have led to savings of up to £30m.

Depute West Dunbartonshire Council leader, Councillor Jonathan McColl, said: “Having looked at the draft proposals, I am not convinced it would be in the interests of West Dunbartonshire to be part of the Clyde Valley Shared Services agenda at this time.

“We have already made progress in a number of areas locally, including health and social care integration that has been recognised as good practice nationally, and I do not see this providing better solutions.

“The council will look at a full report at the end of the month and come to a decision once we have the full facts in front of us.”

Leader of the area’s Labour group, Councillor Martin Rooney, will table a motion at the full council meeting next week asking that the council withdraw involvement in the project.

He said: “We have supported the shared services programme to allow it to progress to the business case stage in the hope that it would produce acceptable options which we could consider supporting.”

The proposals would have affected services such as IT, finance and human resources, although originally the plans would have applied to other resources.

Councillor Rooney said: “We have seen 10 work streams dwindle, firstly to eight, then four and now we are really only left with the one work stream that has any prospect of delivering savings for the council.

“Unfortunately it is one which we are not willing to support as it cuts hundreds of jobs and puts services at risk.”

Councillor Rooney’s motion will be put forward to all councillors next week and asks the chief executive to initiate the process of withdrawing from the project and to develop alternative proposals which “best suit the needs of West Dunbartonshire Council and its residents”.