Tues 8 February 2011
UNISON urges Christie Commission to put users at the heart
of public services
UNISON, Scotland’s largest trade union in public services,
has called for a ‘bottom-up’ approach in the future delivery
of public services.
In a hard-hitting submission to the Commission on the Future
Delivery of Public Services, the union criticised ‘top-down’
solutions and said staff and service users must be at the heart
of public service delivery – not just through consultation but
by working together in genuine partnership.
The commission, chaired by the former General Secretary of
the STUC Campbell Christie, was established by the Scottish
Government to look at the long term pattern of public service
delivery in Scotland and will report on its findings in June
UNISON has called for the commission to focus on the design
and delivery of services, not just structures, and said the
basis for public sector delivery should hinge on five key public
service principles: democracy, investment, fairness, excellence
The union’s submission challenges the assumptions around the
drive for ever bigger and more remote service delivery and structures.
It argues that refocusing delivery on the needs of service users
locally is more efficient and effective than splitting services
into artificial front office/back office functions.
The submission evidences this new approach with many case studies
across the UK and internationally.
Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, said: “The defining
difference between public and private services is democracy
and it is democratic structures that will make public services
responsive to the needs of those who use and pay for them.
“It’s vital that the public are able to participate in the
decision making processes about the areas in which they live,
and staff in the services they deliver. “High quality public
services benefit us all and public bodies should have a statutory
duty to work with service users as partners, not as customers,
in the decision making process.”
Notes to editors Please find UNISON Scotland’s submission
to the Christie Commission at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/UNISONChristieFeb11.pdf