Falkirk Council looks at ways to tighten services

Falkirk Council could reduce services from four to three
Falkirk Council could reduce services from four to three

Falkirk Council is looking at merging more departments to save on wages. A blueprint has been drawn up for consultation.

It follows a deal to integrate social work and children’s services, agreed last November and now being put into operation.

Chief executive Mary Pitciathly put proposals to reduce the number of service departments from four to three at a meeting of the full council last week.

The strategy was agreed in February,

The local authority was formed in 1996 with 12 separate departments. By 2010 this had been reduced to four, with the number of chief officers reduced from 29 to 21, saving £500,000 a year.

Mrs Pitcaithly said: “We looked at best practice at other councils and took into account the size and structure. I propose the council further consolidate the number of services to three and remove the need for a separate operational chief executive office.”

The proposal would see three service groupings:

nEducation and children and families function of social work.

nPlanning and resources, buildings, roads, environment, employment and waste.

nCorporate finance, housing, legal and procurement.

The chief executive will still oversee all services.

Members voted 16-15 to carry forward the proposal for further consultation and to liaise with the trade unions.

SNP councillor Tom Coleman said: “We are being asked to take forward something we know nothing about. We know this will cause worry amongst staff because the trade unions are involved.”

Labour’s Adrian Mahoney said: “We have to make £46 million of savings, there’s no easy answer.

“I say we let it go out to consultation and see what comes back.”