Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Glasgow City Council arm’s length bodies to be axed or merged as ‘double pay’ Labour Councillors look to bleak financial winter, where’s the beans?

Dear All

When the Glasgow Labour Council of shame set up Aleos or Arms length external organisations I said it was a mistake.

It seems I was right; the Aleos haven’t worked properly except as a vehicle to screw the rank and file workers at the ‘coalface’.

Those who sat in the senior positions had connections to the Labour Party such as Bridget McConnell and Willie Docherty.

And they made a massive amount of money, around the £130k mark.

Having set up their ‘cottage industry’ staffed by loyal labourites; phase 2.

Operation Trough, the payments of the ‘Big Wad’, or as some see it double money for doing the same job.

For Glasgow Labour Councillors of shame, it was the good times, where milk and honey and perks flowed like a raging torrent towards them.

The good times have been brought to an end at least where double pay is concerned.

Several of Glasgow’s Aleos are to be wound up or merged.

So, the question begs to be asked why?

The Labour Party is running with the line that it will save hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Already senior city council officials have begun talks with the chief executives of several of the organisations about the future of the bodies.

And some politicians, mostly from the Labour Party have already received letters saying payments are stopping.

Not breakfast reading material.

The Scottish Government has legislated to stop councillors in Glasgow getting payments for sitting on Aleos.

Also seeing the writing on the wall; Gordon ‘free dinners’ Matheson has extended the ending of payments outside the scope of the new legislative changes.

Five elected members who sit on the boards of the SECC and City Marketing Bureau, including council leader Gordon Matheson, will also no longer receive between £12,000 and £18,000 a year for their posts.

But will they stay now the well is dry?

Something worth investigating more is that the council is preparing to turn some of the arm’s length bodies into cooperatives.

Although they say it is to decontaminate the Aleos brand, I can’t see them doing something unless it is to strengthen their positions within such organisations

It is unclear what tangible benefits a move to a co-operative system would bring but everyone knows there was “certainly a political push from the council leadership” to explore the model.

Perhaps Matheson could explain.

The first Aleo to get slotted Glasgow Clyde Regeneration, a body with no staff which has been running for more than six years, they are trying to deliver the as-yet unrealised Fastlink bus scheme.

Six years and no delivery!

Their work will now be carried out within the council.

How bad is it?

Senior members of the council administration have questioned the need for massive additional tiers of bureaucracy which come with the arm’s length bodies, and whether they deliver value for money.

This highlights a point I make that Glasgow Labour Party run the city for the benefit of Labour Party Councillors, members, relatives, associates and Labour donors!

With no beans on the table, several Labour Councillors of shame who chair the Aleos will need convincing to stay in their posts once the payments have gone.

A Labour source said:

“Our view is that the legislation says scrap payments to bodies we control and that’s what we’re doing. There’s no attempt to salvage payments here. We’re adhering to the spirit as well as the letter of the legislation.”

Well one thing is sure they certainly weren’t too concerned pre SNP Government intervention.

SNP Group’s business manager, Graeme Hendry, said:

“We must ensure services are delivered in a way that gives maximum benefit to the people of Glasgow and not just to allow Labour to generate extra income for councillors. The business case for some of them, such as Glasgow Clyde Regeneration, was non-existent so we welcome these first tentative steps to reform by Labour whilst urging them to go further.”

A Labour Group spokesman said:

“It has long been acknowledged that there are valuable partnerships between the public and private sectors which can deliver efficiencies, and Glasgow has long felt the benefit of that through our arm’s length companies”.

Particularly in the pay packets of Labour Councillors!

The spokesman adde:

“Now we want to ensure that we remain ahead of the agenda by looking at the way our structures work to see if any other models such as social enterprises and co-operatives can help us continue to deliver the services that Glaswegians expect and deserve.”

I wonder if this sudden conversion is so that Labour Councillors of shame will be applying for management positions with these new organisations thereby circumventing the new legislation.

There is definitely more to this story.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

No comments: