Heading in the wrong direction

One of the most compelling arguments for the restoration of a railway to the central Borders was the prospect of economic prosperity.

With that boost for business would come jobs.

But the plan to outsource 80 Scottish Borders Council IT posts would appear to be flying in the face of that aspiration. Staff fear if a proposal for a joint arrangement with City of Edinburgh Council to outsource work to a support company provider goes ahead, this could eventually force them to leave the area if they wish to remain in post.

What has angered workers is the findings of a review which absolved them from any blame for issues within the council IT service, yet they are the ones being lined up to take the hit. Perhaps the finger should be pointed at the management of the service.

Union leader Tony Trench’s forecast that this could be another step on the way to Scottish Borders Council’s demise will no doubt be dismissed as scaremongering by some who inhabit the corridors of power. But he points to the disappearance of the local authority’s housing function and creation of an arm’s-length care organisation to support his prediction.

As one of the Borders’ most senior councillors, Michelle Ballantyne, said this week: “We certainly won’t be pushed blindly into agreeing to outsource the service.”

We should hope not. Our elected representatives must refuse to be railroaded.