Date: 29 July 2008
Members call for 'unsafe' Social Work cuts to be exposed and
warn action inevitable if staff and clients not protected
Angry front-line children's social work staff last night demanded
that UNISON exposes the City of Edinburgh Council 'spin' and
makes sure politicians and the public are aware the Council
is going back on pledges made after the O'Brien Inquiry.
Furious that previous consultations have been a sham, members
also backed action if needed to protect staff and the clients
"It was a very positive meeting but the anger of staff
was evident. Despite so-called consultations and visits fom
the Director, our members feel they have not been listened to",
said Tom Connolly, UNISON Service Conditions Officer.
"Most of all, they demanded that politicians face up to
the results of their actions. The proposed cuts are cuts in
font-line services. The staff affected are the key players in
child protection and support for staff. The overwhelming message
was that this is not safe."
Union officials pointed out that the politicians have set out
a budget and told senior managers to get on with it under 'delegated
"This means that the Council and the public are getting
no reports on the cuts", added Tom. "They cannot carry
on playing Pontius Pilate while all the progress over the last
four years is torn part. UNISON wil make sure the public knows
what is going on".
In 2004, the Council set out a plan to rebuild children's Social
Work, accepting that not all cases could be allocated, making
new funds available and building investment to increase staffing.
"Staff felt supported by that in the crucial job they
do. But now these improvements are being removed behind closed
doors. Caseloads are higher than ever, front-line managers are
under more and more stress and the gap between what the Council
thinks is going on and what the reality is, is widening even
further", said Tom.
The union is due to meet senior managers today. It will be
challenging Council 'spin' about the cuts and its circular to
staff that is misleading about the real number of staff in front-line