Inquiry into the Flexibility and Autonomy of Local Government

thumbnail of EvidencetoScotParlLGCttee_Flexibility+AutonomyOfLocalGovt_Mar2014UNISON believes that the public sector provides a means to both deliver services cost effectively and to allow citizens to participate in decision making and to engage with each other. Services must be designed through democratic process to ensure that they meet the needs of all citizens not just those with the most money or power. Local Government has developed over many years because the infrastructure and services needed to support citizens and the economy could not be provided by the market or charities.

UNISON supported devolution in order to bring decision making closer to ordinary people, to make it easier for them to influence the decisions. This requires more than the devolution of more powers to the Scottish Parliament; the parliament needs to devolve power further into communities. So far there is little evidence of this happening. The moves to national police and fire services will do nothing to give ordinary people influence over these essential services. The commitment to teacher numbers, tied to council tax freeze subsidy (and formerly police numbers), as well as the freeze itself means that power is flowing away from councils and therefore communities. Local government is local democracy. It needs proper investment so that it can engage locally with citizens to both decide what the issues are and how and what to deliver in response…

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