A SHARED services agreement came into force this week for roads and transportation between West Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde Councils.

But agreement to implement the move which began on April 1, only came to being after a heated debate at the full council meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council.

Councillor Lawrence O’Neill moved an amendment that the council continue discussions with the unions before a final agreement is entered into, a motion which was seconded by Councillor Jim Bollan.

But their alternative course of action was defeated.

The motion to go ahead with the move was made by council leader Jonathan McColl and seconded by Bailie Denis Agnew.

Cllr Bollan said: “The unions don’t have the appetite to go with Inverclyde Council.”

Supporting the amendment, Cllr David McBride added: “We can only have a shared services if we bring the workforce on board with us. Go away and talk to the unions. Stop attacking them.”

Councillors were told in a report tabled before them that “throughout the development of shared services, consultation and negotiation has taken place through the Joint Trade Unions working group”.

Cllr McColl replied: “We have confidence in the quality if it is our people who are doing the jobs.”

Councillors were told in a report by Angela Wilson, strategic director for transformation and public service reform: “Decisions on local investment will remain within each of the two partner councils.

“In other words, each council will retain its own budget responsibility, set its own programmes and work to its own priorities as is currently the case.

“Frontline employees will remain in their council areas and within existing depots.

“It is anticipated that professional staff remain at existing locations, taking advantage of technology and flexibility to work productively and effectively across local authority boundaries.”

WDC approved the formalising of a shared service for roads and transportation between Inverclyde and WDC with the lead being taken by Inverclyde Council. 

A senior lead officer will now be appointed by, and employed by, Inverclyde Council, to strategically lead the service, to develop strategic business plans for service sharing across wider front line services and to strategically manage a wider shared service.

Councillors were told that detailed discussions had previously taken place and a business plan drawn up for a shared roads and transportation service amongst Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire and East Dunbartonshire following conclusion of work carried out by a joint committee of the three authorities on March 24, 2017.

But since then East Dunbartonshire decided to opt out and declined to join the other two councils in the sharing of services.

A roll call vote was taken at last Wednesday’s meeting, held at Clydebank Town Hall, with 13 councillors supporting the recommendation and eight supporting the amendment.