Future of crucial council service secured

The future of North Lanarkshire's vital Community Learning and Development (CLD) service has been secured following a decision by the council.

CLD class

The Policy and Resources Committee of the council had been asked to consider three options for the future delivery of the service. The committee rejected options which would have had significant impacts on frontline staff and service users and instead agreed an option to redesign the service.

Councillor Paul Kelly, depute leader of the council, said: "We are faced with very difficult decisions because of the savings we are being forced to find. Make no mistake, these savings are as a result of budget decisions at national level.

"However, the administration was determined to find a solution to this issue which meant communities could have confidence that CLD would continue to be a priority. I'm glad we have been able to achieve that in a way which means North Lanarkshire's investment per head of population in CLD remains the highest in Scotland."

Under the proposals agreed by the committee, the service will now be delivered across three areas and be closely aligned with the services provided by the new Education and Families Service. Management will be reviewed, but frontline staff will be largely protected.

Councillor Kelly added: "CLD delivers a whole range of services which strengthen communities across North Lanarkshire. From youth engagement to Homelink workers, these staff make a real difference to young people, families and adult education. More closely aligning them with the other services provided by Education and Families is essential to ensuring that vital support continues to be effective.

"This is absolutely in line with the council's overall strategy of making sure all services work together to make North Lanarkshire the place to live, learn, work, invest and visit.

"The fact is that, through no fault of its own, the council had to make substantial savings in this area, as we have had to across all the services of the council. One option on the table would have seen enormous cuts to frontline service delivery. We were not prepared to accept that, although I absolutely recognise that reviewing service management also has an impact on our people."

The options have already been subject to consultation with trades unions. Following the approval of the committee, further consultation will take place with staff, trades unions and service users. 

Councillor Kelly said: "The option we have chosen is phased over two years. That means we can design services and changes with staff and, critically, with service users.

"I fully understand that this review - which has taken some time - has created uncertainty for staff and I believe that this outcome will reassure many of them. In deciding this today, rather than putting the decision back, the committee has ensured there is no further uncertainty.

"I would reiterate that this council has a policy of having no compulsory redundancies. That absolutely remains the case."

The review of CLD will achieve savings of £1.4million over the next two years.

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