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Wed 29 June 2011

‘People, not processes, will deliver real change’: UNISON response to Christie

‘It’s people, not processes, that will deliver real change’ – says UNISON in welcoming the bottom-up approach to public service reform outlined in a report today by the Christie Commission.

The commission’s report on the future delivery of Scotland’s public services, chaired by Campbell Christie, emphasises the importance of workforce development and enabling staff to work with users to develop solutions to better service delivery.

UNISON, Scotland’s largest public service union, representing 165,000 members, also welcomed the report’s recommendations to retain Scotland’s partnership approach to public services, in contrast to the marketisation of services in England.

One of the biggest ideas to come out of the report is service integration – an approach which mirrors the views of UNISON – with recognition that this should be developed around democratically elected councils and community engagement.

Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, said: “Staff are key to public service reform and their contribution must be central in the proposed transformation of service delivery. After all, it is people, not processes, that will deliver real change.

“While the report recognises the importance of a committed workforce, it is vital that staff are empowered to make changes to services and that their experience is valued and respected. This must go hand-in-hand with support from management and a clear understanding of shared outcomes.

“Our approach has always been to put the service user at the heart of delivery and this report echoes these views. However, while engagement with people and communities is important, there are limitations of this approach to certain services and it must not be seen as a replacement for mainstream services. We also need to avoid undue fragmentation of service delivery that will weaken service integration.

“We particularly welcome the report’s emphasis on tackling inequality, not just because of cost, but because more equal societies do better on all counts. However, if change is to be achieved, then staff must be given freedom to design the service they deliver and the Government must be willing to invest the time, effort and resources to allow meaningful engagement with staff and users to take place.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. The report by the Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services, chaired by Campbell Christie, former General Secretary of the STUC, can be viewed at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/publicservicescommission/

2. For a more detailed UNISON view of the report, see our briefing on the Christie Commission report (pdf) at our briefings page www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/

3. For UNISON’s view of public service reform, see our Public Service Reform briefing from January 2011 (pdf)

4. For more information contact Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser for UNISON, on 07958 122 409, or Trisha Hamilton, Communications Officer on 0141 342 2877 / 07939 478 461

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