Shake-up a source of concern

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Outsourcing is one of the most popular words in the lexicon of modern-day management speak.

It ranks alongside “efficiencies” and “restructuring” – often euphemisms for bad news – such as redundancies.

Today, Borders councillors will consider a progress report which highlights the case for outsourcing adult social care services.

It is made by chief social worker Elaine Torrance. She warns of “increased costs and a reduced service provision for residents” if the outsourcing road is not followed. The decision to outsource these essential services was made earlier this year in the knowledge Scottish Borders Council must reduce its social work budget by more than £5million during the next five years.

Affected employees who will switch to a new arms-length organisation have been told their terms and conditions will remain intact – although the Unite union is opposed to the outsourcing of social care provision.

What about the service users? Some are among society’s most vulnerable people. They will understandably be viewing any change with trepidation.

Only time will tell whether this shake-up is for the best – for all concerned. Meantime, councillors should tread with care as they make their way along the outsourcing path.