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Thursday, 16 March 2006

Glasgow's £1 billion reform of public services

Written by The Editorial Team
Public agencies across Glasgow have announced a radical reform agenda designed to improve frontline service delivery across the city.

Initial plans will see joint work worth more than £1 billion and some 6000 staff integrated under a formal structure to develop shared services.

The partnership’s key priorities will be improving the city’s economy; getting people off benefits and into work; tackling ill health; and improving community safety.

Early commitments include the establishment of a Community Safety Unit to help tackle anti-social behaviour; the creation of a one-stop-shop for businesses for new and established enterprise; and jointly progressing the sale of public land to encourage development.  Children’s services will be further enhanced by the appointment of a single, key-worker for those accessing cross-agency support.

Already partnership working is producing real benefits in areas such as addiction services and delivering for people will learning disabilities.  The new arrangements will further strengthen such work.

A Pathfinder Board to oversee the plans will be established, involving Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, Greater Glasgow Health Board, Strathclyde Police, and Jobcentre Plus. The new Community Health Care Partnerships will also be at the forefront of integrated service delivery.{mospagebreak}

All staff will continue to be employed by their current agency. However, future benefits and efficiencies, including the sharing of back-office functions, could see significant money diverted to frontline services.

Councillor Steven Purcell, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “It makes no sense to have public agencies dealing with the same issues working in isolation – these plans will make radical changes to how Glasgow’s public sector operates.

“Whilst public bodies already work jointly on some projects, we must do more to deliver an integrated system that eradicates duplication and waste and brings real improvements to our citizens’ economic and social health.”

Cllr Purcell was backed by public agencies from across Glasgow, including Greater Glasgow Health Board, Strathclyde Police and Scottish Enterprise Glasgow.

Willie Haughey, the Chairman of Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, said: "Scottish Enterprise Glasgow are most enthusiastic about both community planning and modernising government.
"Anything that improves the delivery of services to the people who live and work in Glasgow must be welcomed with open arms."

Sir John Arbuthnott, the Chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow, said: "This takes true partnership working to the next level by radically changing the approach of the city's major players. We know from experience that working together like this can make a real difference to the health and well being of individuals and communities."

Chief Superintendent John Pollock, Strathclyde Police Community Safety Department, said: "This is a great opportunity for agencies, with joint responsibility for improving services to our communities, to develop a modern, sustainable model of joint working where staff can fully focus on the needs of individuals. This new partnership approach has great potential for creating synergies across a wide range of areas resulting in improved public services."