Nov 23 2011 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Wednesday
JOBS could be on the line after council chiefs opted to outsource employees’ work to a charity, it has been claimed, writes Johnathon Menzies.
More than a dozen local authority staff are said to be facing an uncertain future following the launch of the Food Train in the region last week, a paid-for shopping service designed to help vulnerable senior citizens retain their independence.
A similar service, which has had a presence within the region for many years and also included things such as prescription collection and errands to the Post Office – among others – is in the process of being phased out.
One front-line source, speaking on behalf of several who contacted the Observer within the last week, revealed as many as half a dozen social services staff are now undergoing a six-month ‘redeployment’ programme.
Employees in other roles, such as office staff in the department, are also believed to be sweating over their respective futures.
The ‘redeployment’ process means those involved are offered alternative roles within the local authority, albeit often in different departments and requiring different skills.
The anonymous source went on to list a series of reservations relating to the day-to-day running of the Food Train service – points covered on this page in today’s edition.
And the reader said: “If the council can’t find any work for the employees involved to do after the six month period is up then, basically, they’re going to be unemployed.
“One girl’s been sent details of a job as headmistress of a primary school, another’s been sent a position as head of the social work department!
“The same thing happened with the Meals on Wheels service not too long ago, and it’ll be happening to other departments shortly too – it’s the world we’re living in at the moment.”
Another disgruntled staff member affected by the changes, who also didn’t wish to be named, added: “It’s heartbreaking for everyone involved. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that the elderly people – the council calls them ‘service users’ but we call them clients – get the best possible service.
“But the staff take a pride in their work so it’s understandable that they’re going to be upset by the changes.”
A spokesperson for the local authority explained: “Council staff, who previously delivered shopping, have been offered alternative posts within the council.
“Resources must be used as efficiently and effectively as possible to improve the services we offer to those who need it most.”