Thursday, 24 November 2011

Efficiency savings thrown out

After amost three years of research, negotiation, bidding and analysis, Edinburgh Council this afternoon rejected outsourcing a range of services which had offered very considerable improvements in services at a saving of £72m over the contract period of 7 years.

The LibDem/SNP administration fell apart on the issue - despite having been united in approving the process for the past two years - a process which itself has cost £3-4m.

As on the recent trams vote, the SNP changed tack at the last minute and, rejecting assessments of the best value and improved services which would result from the move, voted down the deal.

The Council is now faced with a considerable gap in its planned budget and will now have to find savings by rationalising in house.

It is not clear what changed the mind of SNP Group.  It may be that it is a convenient opportunity to break the coalition with the Lib Dems in advance of the local government elections next May. 

It has also been suggested that they have been instructed by the tightly run SNP national hierarchy, that electoral advantage would be obstructed by upsetting the unions in the run up to the elections.  Whatever the reason, it is difficult to see how the decision could have been taken on rational grounds in the light the very considerable advantages offered to the Council through the outsourcing process.

They joined Labour and the Greens in voting against the proposals.

Previous posts here and here.

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