Latest Public Sector News

14.06.12

Scotland must learn lessons from public sector mergers

The actual savings of public sector mergers in Scotland are lower than initially predicted, a new analysis suggests.

Audit Scotland is calling for lessons to be learned before new mergers take place. Over the past five years, 18 Scottish public bodies have merged as part of the Government’s simplification programme.

The watchdog analysed four mergers: Skills Development Scotland, Care Inspectorate, Creative Scotland and Marine Scotland. The mergers were expected to make net savings of about £63m over the first four to five years.

But Audit Scotland warned that the real savings may be much lower, and pointed to “broad assumptions” in the calculations. The initial forecast for merger costs was £30m, but this has been exceeded by at least £12m, it said.

Auditor general for Scotland, Robert Black said: “Scotland’s public sector has undergone significant reform in recent years.

“There are also major changes to public bodies ahead, such as the creation of single national police and fire and rescue services and possible mergers of further education colleges.

“It is important that all involved with such changes learn the lessons from recent mergers. To help with this, we have published a good practice guide which draws on the findings of our review of recent mergers.”

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