COSLA President Councillor Shona Morrison today (Monday) said that a clear focus on prevention is the key to problems currently facing the public sector.
This comes on the back of the Deputy First Minister’s comments on the Sunday Show yesterday.
Councillor Shona Morrison said: “Like many others, I watched the Deputy First Minister on the Sunday Show yesterday talking about the difficult decisions that lie ahead in relation to public services in Scotland and I agree with her.
“Prevention was the key agenda of Campbell Christie over a decade ago and he was right. The fact that policy makers have chosen to continue to direct funding for specific purposes and cut Local Government funding in real terms means that his recommendations have been difficult to address. This is a major reason that we are where we are today.
“For many years, the Health Service has taken up an ever-increasing share of public sector resource in Scotland – treating people at the sharp end costs too much money and is much worse for outcomes. The solution lies in a whole system focused on preventing people getting ill in the first place.
“I am not just focusing on health. We recently heard the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee calling for more money for justice- again that is treating the problem rather than the symptoms. We should be preventing people from going to prison or encountering the Justice System in the first place – through youth work and diversionary services like culture and leisure. With constrained public sector finances, it has never been as important to support people as early as possible and keep them living well locally.
“Cutting frontline staff is not the answer. Investing in Local Government can prevent problems occurring in the first place.
“The Verity House Agreement was designed to ensure positive working between Scottish Local Government and The Scottish Government, and a focus on better outcomes and person-centred services. COSLA is clear that the preventative agenda is the only solution, given the financial position and the difficult decisions which lie ahead.”