GLASGOW City Council has began the process of bringing thousands of workers back under their control again.

More than 6,500 Cordia and Community Safety Glasgow workers will be under the employment of the local authority again once plans are formally approved.

A report is going to the council’s City Administration Committee for a decision on April 19 about the future of Cordia and the services delivered by Community Safety Glasgow .

Once the plans are given the green-light Cordia staff, which includes home carers and school janitors, will transfer to council employment on September 30. Community Safety Glasgow staff will be earmarked to transfer over to the council on March 31, next year.

The move was made by the SNP administration after the Arm’s-length External Organisations (ALEOs) was previously set up by the Labour-run Glasgow City Council.

Home care and associated services will go to the local authority’s Social Work Services. School cleaners, caterers and janitors along with Encore Catering will be part of Property and Land Services. The HR, finance and business support workforce will be split between the two council departments.

The exact transfer arrangements are less clear for the 400 Community Safety Glasgow workers as that ALEO has a different legal status from the rest.

The council’s Chief Executive Annemarie O’Donnell said: “The council has an ongoing responsibility to review its structures and the delivery of its services to make sure that we continue to meet legislative changes, avoid duplication and deliver best value efficient and effective services for the city.

“We also need to consider that the shape of the council family has changed since the ALEOs were established and new legislative partnerships have been formed, including the Health and Social Care partnership with the NHS and the more recent Glasgow Community Planning Partnership.

“With all this in mind, the recommendations in the report are a result of more detailed business cases with input from all affected areas of the council family to achieve the best operating model for council services.”

The move has been welcomed by the trade union Unison, who opposed the implementation of ALEOs in the first place.

Brian Smith, UNISON Glasgow Branch Secretary, said: “These ALEOs are nothing but a combination of tax wheezes, a chance to hammer workers terms and conditions and an attempt to minimise equal pay claims. Previous Labour leaders also used places on ALEO boards to hand out ‘sweeties to their pals’ or control political infighting. Well done to our members for keeping up the fight over the years. “

East Kilbride Connect:

The Evening Times previously reported on the industrial action taken by Cordia staff over pay and rights. Mr Smith says he the trade union now expected significant progress on a number of wage issues.

“UNISON now expects significant progress on a number of Cordia wage issues including harmonisation of shift pay, overtime rates and public holiday entitlement to those of the council. We will be raising once again our members concerns over the shift patterns for home carers and indeed the need for more home carers in the city. We will also continue with our campaign for more school cleaners.

“Finally, we call on the council leadership to bring all the other ALEOs back in-house.”

East Kilbride Connect:

Cordia worker Frances Mowat Stojilkovic, above, said the move had boosted moral amongst staff.

She said: “This move has given us all a wee boost of moral as our working conditions will be better and we will have all our terms and conditions back.

“ Cordia has been the worst thing Glasgow City Council brought in. The place just went to rock bottom using this ALEO .”

Frank McAveety, Labour Group leader said: “Our position is we should keep services under review. 
“As long as it meets the criteria of delivering quality services and job security we will be happy to support change. Cordia has done good things for the city and won awards for quality. We want to ensure we maintain that quality.”
He rejected claims the Aleos where a “tax wheeze”
Mr McAvety added: “ The council had to create these entities in 206 but the circumstances have changed, however tax payers still need value for money.”

Background:

CORDIA is one of nine Arms Length External Organisations Aleos first set up by Glasgow City Council in 2006.
It ran a care division,  hospitality with its Encore catering service and facilities management for schools public buildings and businesses.
Plans to bring the organisation back in house were first mooted in early 2016 when Labour was still in power at the City Chambers.
A review of all Council Aleos was established
Earlier this year a report showed that Cordia had a £2m deficit in the surplus it was expected to deliver to the council.
Last year the SNP said if it took control of the council it would overhaul the Aleo system to bring back a greater degree of “democratic accountability” 
In February this year as part of the SNP administration’s first budget it was announced that the council would look to dismantle Cordia, stating it had “outlived its usefulness”.
Last year the Barclay Review in to the business rates system recommended ending rates relief for Aleos but the proposal was rejected by Scottish Government, Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay.

Reasons:

The reasons for Glasgow City Council setting up Aleos including Cordia more than 10 years ago were financial.
They were designed to both save the council cash in areas such as rates and generate income from private contracts at a time when local authorities operated under different financial circumstances.
There were concerns about democratic accountability, and unions claimed they were introduced to save cash on workers’ pay and conditions.
It has been accepted that Aleos such as Cordia should be brought back under full control of the council but for others such as Glasgow Life it is unlikely the same move will be proposed. As the financial climate and political attitudes to the public sector changed and spending cuts began to bite, Aleos were expected to deliver the same level of savings and faced job cuts just like councils.
While the decisions were financially based, the purpose is to deliver a service which must be the priority for the future.