Local councillor Steve Delaney has raised serious concerns over proposals to change how Aberdeen City Council is run and how its services are delivered. This is not about who runs the council it’s about how it’s run.
Proposals came forward in August looking to re-structure the council’s management and how it delivers services to the public. This was followed by a further report to councillors in December. Steve has seen several previous council restructures and has seen change in a number of local and national bodies over many years. With the council facing unquantified but significant cost pressures over the next few years these proposals were presented as a way to make services more efficient and to reduce costs. Unfortunately he was not convinced.
Steve said, “I raised a number of concerns in August and again in December regarding these proposals. Every time the council encounters significant challenges it looks to re-structure when much of what’s being proposed could already be done by altering working practices within the existing set up”.
“Another concern related to whether or not the new re-structure is suitable for Aberdeen City Council as no alternatives were offered by way of comparison. I also felt that far too little detail was offered to councillors for them to be able to take an informed view of such a radical change”.
“Nobody denies that change is needed during challenging times, but I remain unconvinced that these changes will either result in improved service delivery or produce the saving we need. In fact my fear is that if this fails to deliver, putting things right is likely to add further cost pressures and possibly result in additional cuts to services”.
“Further concerns relate to the absence of a Director of Education in the new structure and my belief that councillors will become further removed from meaningful decision making, resulting in a dilution of the democratic process”.
“How the council’s management is structured should ordinarily be of little or no concern to members of the public. However, where this has the potential to impact on the delivery of services and the quality of service that’s another thing”.
Regrettably, the proposal to re-structure how the council operates was approved by 21 votes to 20. The change will commence in April 2018 and will be phased over a period of time.
You can watch Steve’s contribution to the debate here.