Saturday, 14 April 2018

Glasgow - Equal Pay Update

I shared my blog post on 'Glasgow's Shame Over ALEOs' with the following message to all elected councillors in Glasgow City Council.

Dear Councillor

Glasgow's Shame Over ALEOs

Glasgow City Council has made the right decision in making this policy U-turn over ALEOs, but the council should now be telling its chief executive it's time to move on and find a new challenege elsewhere.
Kind regards

Mark Irvine


Glasgow's Shame Over ALEOs (13/04/18)

Here's an astonishing email which has been sent to the 'Council Family' at Glasgow City Council by the council's chief executive Annemarie O'Donnell.

Now I'm not part of the 'Council Family' but if I were, I'd be absolutely furious at the way the council's top boss has quietly glossed over her own role in creating Glasgow's ALEOs back in 2007 - and the fact that one of the main purposes for these arm's length companies was to try and assist the City Council to wriggle out of its obligations over equal pay. 

Once the ALEOs were in place, senior and very highly paid officials argued that they were completely independent and separate employers from Glasgow City Council.

So, in their eyes of these senior officials, equal pay claimants could no longer compare their earnings with the much higher pay of Council employees outside of their own ALEO, Cordia being the prime example.

And if council officials had succeeded with this ploy, the perfectly valid equal pay claims of thousands of Home Care workers and other low paid Cordia staff would now be 'dead in the water'.

After all this time, Annemarie O'Donnell is having to eat her own words by dismantling these 'arm's length' companies which have proved very costly to the public purse and to Cordia staff who are employed on much less favourable conditions than the rest of the council workforce.

If you ask me, the City Council has made the right decision in making this policy U-turn, but the political leaders of the council should be telling the chief executive it's time to move on and find a new challenege elsewhere. 

Because Annemarie O'Donnell has played a crucial role throughout this shameful ALEO episode, both in terms of establishing these arm's length bodies and in presiding over pay arrangements which treated Cordia's largely female workforce as second class citizens.


Subject: Council Family Review Update: message from Annemarie O'Donnell Chief Executive
I want to keep you up to date about proposed changes to the council family structure as a result of the ongoing council family review, which aims to make sure we have the most efficient and effective operating model to deliver best value services for the city.

A report is going to the council’s City Administration Committee for a decision on 19 April about the future of Cordia and the services delivered by Community Safety Glasgow on our behalf.


We have reviewed the services that Cordia deliver and we are recommending that these vital services for citizens can be delivered more efficiently under other council services, as outlined below, and Cordia LLPs can be wound up, although the brand name of Cordia and Encore could be retained. This will allow us to remove duplication and streamline services to make them more efficient. Cordia staff would also transfer to the council services below.

 *   Homecare and associated care services including operational support and contact services to be transferred to Social Work Services under the direction of the Health and Social Care partnership.

 *   Facilities Management services including catering to be transferred to Property and Land Services, Development and Regeneration Services.

 *   Remaining support staff would transfer to an appropriate functional area in the council including: human resources, finance, communications, procurement and business administration.

Community Safety Glasgow

We have also reviewed the services that Community Safety Glasgow (CSG) deliver on our behalf and are recommending that these services can be more efficiently delivered under the management of the Executive Director for Neighbourhoods and Sustainability. CSG support staff would also transfer to an appropriate functional area in the council including: human resources, finance, communications, business administration and facilities.

Best value services for the city

The council has an ongoing responsibility to review its structures and the delivery of its services to make sure that we continue to meet legislative changes, avoid duplication and deliver best value efficient and effective services for the city. We also need to consider that the shape of the council family has changed since the ALEOs were established and new legislative partnerships have been formed, including the Health and Social Care partnership with the NHS and the more recent Glasgow Community Planning Partnership.

With all this in mind, the recommendations in the report are a result of more detailed business cases with input from all affected areas of the council family to achieve the best operating model for council services.

Next Steps

All affected staff will receive a communication about how these proposals could affect them from the directors of the organisation they work for. If the proposals in the report are approved, an implementation plan will be developed with a view to staff transfers taking place no later than 30 September 2018 for Cordia and 31 March 2019 for CSG.

I will communicate the decision of the committee after this has been taken on 19 April. The full report will be published in the public meeting agenda on Friday 13 April on council’s website here<>


Annemarie O’Donnell
Chief Executive

Glasgow's Shame Over ALEOs (17/02/18)

Here's a little reminder that the appalling decision to set up Glasgow's ALEOs (Arms Length External Organisations) was headed up by the City Council's current chief executive Annemarie O'Donnell - see article below from Holyrood Magazine.

Following a two year secondment as deputy director of social work services, she returned to corporate services in 2007, serving as assistant director and head of external governance as the council established its ALEOs.

Now since the real reason for setting up ALEOs in the first place was a shameful attempt to circumvent the Glasgow City Council's obligations over equal pay, surely it's time close these organisations down.

Yet again the Court of Session sent Glasgow City Council packing and if you ask me, the politicians and officials behind this crazy scheme owe the workforce an apology.  


Glasgow - Equal Pay Update (09/01/18)

Here's an interesting article from 'Holyrood Magazine' which was published back in 2014 just as Annemarie O'Donnell's was appointed as the new and first woman chief executive of Glasgow City Council.

The upshot is that Annemarie has been in a variety of senior positions within the council for a very long time - through the Christmas 2005 'capped' settlement offers, the introduction of the WPBR in 2007 and the establishment of Glasgow's ALEOs - before succeeding Ian Drummond as executive director of corporate services and then George Black as CEO.

What puzzles me though is why there has been such a long and hard fight for equal pay in Glasgow when the City Council has such powerful women in its senior ranks?

Regular readers will know that Carole Forrest succeeded Annemarie as executive director of corporate services (which deals with Freedom of Information requests) and that Glasgow now has a woman Lord Provost (Eva Bolander) and a woman council leader (Susan Aitken).

The political changes at the top of the City Council are relatively recent, of course, but isn't it remarkable that the battle over equal pay has been so fierce in Glasgow - even with women officials in the most senior positions.


New chief executive for Glasgow City Council

Written by Kate Shannon on 12 November 2014 in News

Annemarie O’Donnell has been appointed

Glasgow City Council has appointed a new chief executive to replace George Black, who retires next month.

Annemarie O’Donnell, who has been the council’s executive director of corporate services since 2011, was chosen for the role last week.

Black announced his retirement in August and will leave the council on 11 December.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The quality of candidates was exceptionally high but Annemarie brings a wealth of experience, passion and vision to the role and was the unanimous choice of the interview panel.

"There has never been a more exciting time to work in Glasgow, with the city in the spotlight like never before following the best ever Commonwealth Games and the signing of Scotland’s first city deal. I am in no doubt that Annemarie is the best possible choice to lead our dedicated and talented staff through the next chapter in our city’s long and proud history.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank George Black for his exceptional work on behalf of the city and wish him every happiness and success in the future.”

I believe we have the energy, the ideas and, crucially, the best people to meet those challenges

O’Donnell, 49, is a qualified solicitor and a member of the Law Society of Scotland. She has two adult children and her husband is a lawyer specialising in criminal law.

After joining Glasgow District Council from a legal practice in the east end of Glasgow in 1991, she worked as a solicitor and then senior solicitor in a team focusing on construction, housing and planning.

Following local government reorganisation in 1996, she was promoted to chief solicitor, leading the council’s work on commercial contracts, procurement, planning and environmental law.

In 2003, O’Donnell was appointed assistant head of legal and administrative services, a new post that saw her take responsibility for the running of elections for the first time – along with committee services, registrars, litigation, licensing and corporate law.

Following a two year secondment as deputy director of social work services, she returned to corporate services in 2007, serving as assistant director and head of external governance as the council established its ALEOs.

She said: “I am delighted and humbled to have been appointed. This is a really exciting time for Glasgow. There is no doubt the next few years will be challenging for everyone in local government. But I believe we have the energy, the ideas and, crucially, the best people to meet those challenges.”

Read Holyrood’s full interview with George Black here.

Glasgow's Shame Over ALEOs (14/02/18)

How's this for a nonsense story from the Evening Times?

Services provided by ALEOs are part of Glasgow City Council yet they are being spoken about here as if they 'owe' the council money! 

Glasgow's ALEOs were set up by a previous Labour administration in a effort to escape the council's obligations over equal pay.

At the time, Glasgow argued that ALEOs were completely separate employers and independent legal entities which meant (they said) that workers employed in ALEOs could not compare their pay to comparable (male) workers in other parts of the council.

A4ES challenged this argument in the Court of Session and won which is a good thing if you ask me, because were it not for this ruling the fight for equal pay in Glasgow would have been stopped in its tracks years ago.

But it just goes to show you what sneaky moves and dirty tricks these senior officials get up to given half a chance.

As everyone now knows, staff working for Cordia who predominantly women, of course, are employed on poorer pay and conditions than those working in other male dominated areas of the council, e.g. Land Services and City Building!

Aleos come up short on cash for Glasgow City Council

By Stewart Paterson - Evening Times

Cordia, the council’s catering and care service, is said to be £2m down on projections

GLASGOW City Council’s Aleos have a £2 million shortfall in the last three months, according to the latest report.

The monitoring report into the ten Arms Length External Organisations owned by the council shows they are coming up short of the budgeted for cash expectations.

The firms, that are intended to deliver a discount, meaning cash goes back to the council, are not making as much as anticipated.

The biggest deficits are showing for Cordia the council’s catering and care firm and Glasgow Life which runs museums, libraries and leisure centres.

Cordia is £2m down while Glasgow Life is £1.3m lower than projected.

The reports said Glasgow Life was struggling with income from its Glasgow Sport arm.

It stated: Actual income in Sport is lower than anticipated and continues to be extremely challenging.”

The Aleo is predicting a deficit of £1m for the year compared to a budget expectation is would break even.

The report added: “Glasgow Life are putting in place various interventions to manage this through underspends across the service.”

Cordia has a surplus of £31,000 against a budgeted for surplus of £2,059,000. The monitoring report found that the catering and technical care operations were doing better than forecast but the home care and facilities sections were below expectations.

It is £1m lower than the expected surplus of almost £3.5m.

The council’s budget expects income form the Aleos termed discounts totalling more than £14m.

The report stated: “ Forecast shortfalls in their surplus are reporter for Cordia, City Property and City Building which is likely to impact on the discount which is due to be returned to the council. City Property and City Building are mitigating this shortfall with the use of reserves and carry forwards.”

The council is due to set the budget in the next few weeks with further cuts expected to departments.

A spokesman for the City Council said A spokesman said: “Both organisations are on track to return a surplus to the council, however, the report details that, at quarter three, these are below the levels budgeted at the start of the financial year.

“These are known issues that are taken account of in the council’s overall financial position.”