Archive for "Uncategorized"

PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, to give 2017 Jimmy Reid annual lecture

Apr 11, 2017 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation is delighted to announce that Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, has agreed to deliver the 2017 annual Jimmy Reid lecture on Thursday 5 October 2017. He will speak on the issue of the defence of public services in an era of austerity and neo-liberalism.

More details on venue and timings will follow in due course.

Jimmy Reid Foundation agrees new work programme

Apr 11, 2017 Add a comment

Following the last meeting of the project board of the Jimmy Reid Foundation (on 6 April), we have agreed a new set of research and policy papers to be commissioned and published over the remainder of the year and into early 2018. These are on the environment, developing aspects of public service reform (like citizen participation), the regulation of employment relations, workers’ rights, and the ramifications of the automation of work.

If you’d like to support the work of these projects by making a financial donation (however small) to the Foundation, please go to

We’d be very grateful of any financial support you can give us.


Sunday Herald coverage of new Jimmy Reid Foundation paper on Scotland’s fiscal future

Apr 09, 2017 Add a comment

The Sunday Herald has today (9 April 2017) given major coverage to the Jimmy Reid Foundation paper from Jim Cuthbert on the fiscal constraints any new and future Scottish government will face. The coverage can be accessed at

The paper the coverage is about can be accessed at


Jimmy Reid Foundation facebook

Apr 06, 2017 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation is now using the account and is posting regularly on Foundation matters (announcements, new papers etc) as well as on issues close to the heart of Jimmy Reid (eg on issues of work, employment, unions, social justice etc). Please follow the Foundation on facebook!

Jimmy Reid Foundation twitter

Apr 06, 2017 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation is now using the twitter account and is tweeting regularly on Foundation matters (announcements, new papers etc) as well as on issues close to the heart of Jimmy Reid (eg on issues of work, employment, unions, social justice etc). Please follow the Foundation on Twitter!

Campaign to support human rights

Jun 02, 2015 Add a comment

Members of the Human Rights Consortium Scotland (HRCS) met on 1st June and agreed on a co-ordinated campaign to defend the Human Rights Act (HRA), and to promote human rights for everyone in everyday situations.  Human rights standards and principles reflect our basic values of fairness, respect, equality and dignity.

Despite recent press coverage, members agreed not to be complacent and recognised that abolition of the HRA and potential withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) remain very real possibilities.   Following the UK Government’s announcement in the Queen’s speech that “My Government will bring forward proposals for a British Bill of Rights”, some thought that the case for the HRA had been won, but HRCS members thought the result would actually be a weakening of human rights enforcement and protection as further information was provided in the Queen’s Speech Briefing Pack:

“The Government will bring forward proposals for a Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act.  This would reform and modernise our human rights legal framework and restore common sense to the application of human rights laws, which has been undermined by the damaging effects of Labour’s Human Rights Act. It would also protect existing rights, which are an essential part of a modern, democratic society, and better protect against abuse of the system and misuse of human rights laws.”

Carole Ewart from the HRCS spoke at the meeting and said:

“The real issue for politicians is to ensure the general public enjoy and can equally assert human rights in everyday places. A campaign of demonization against human rights only makes sense if you want to create public hostility to rights that should in fact empower us all, as well as the weakest in our society, and offer us all protection against failings in public services.  Human rights belong to public service workers too and can be used within organisations to deliver more effective, people centred services.

The meeting was addressed by Kevin Hanratty from the NI Human Rights Consortium who pointed out:

The HRA was a cornerstone human rights protection of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the new Assembly it set up, just as it was for devolution in Scotland and the Scottish Parliament. The Human Rights Consortium (NI) is determined to work with our colleagues across the UK like the Scottish Human Rights Consortium to defend this important legislation, which acts as a fundamental protection for the most vulnerable in our society”

Marianne Scobie from Glasgow Disability Alliance pointed out that welfare reforms and changes in the delivery of social care to disabled people had raised significant human rights issues but there was not a throughput of legal cases to change public sector behaviour. “When people do assert their human rights that case is individually fixed but what we want to see is a change in policy, practice and culture for us all. We look forward to working with other organisations to ensure the HRA realises its potential.”

Aidan Collins from HIV Scotland outlined how the protection afforded to its members by the HRA had changed how individuals approached public services and influenced their expectations about how services are delivered as well as which services should be available.

The next HRCS event is its national conference on 25th June ‘What Next for Human Rights’ which will be addressed by the Cabinet Secretary Alex Neil.


  1. The Human Rights Consortium Scotland (HRCS) is a civil society network established in January 2010 to address the gap in knowledge of human rights and to build capacity on applying human rights principles and standards to the delivery of publicly funded services.  The HRCS was borne out of an unmet need and in response to specific problems.  The need for the HRCS is proven and we are committed to developing our work across Scotland.  Our membership has increased to over 180 organisations and individuals.  To join go to
  2. The Queen’s Speech Briefing Pack is available on the Ministry of Justice website and quote appears at page 75.
  3. UK Government policy appears to contradict Scottish Government Policy which was affirmed at the Scottish Parliament on 11th November 2014: “…expresses its confidence in, and support for, the Human Rights Act 1998 as a successful and effective implementation of the convention in domestic law, and believes that the principles and values that inform the convention, the rights and freedoms that it enumerates and the Acts that incorporate it into law, should be a source of unity and consensus across the whole of society and should enjoy the unequivocal backing of all who are committed to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law.”
  4. The conference on 25th June runs from 9am – 4.15pm in the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, Collins Building, 22 Richmond St, Glasgow, G1 1XQ

Fringe Meeting Success

Apr 29, 2015 Add a comment

Zero Tolerance on Austerity

The Foundation’s sister organisation Scottish Left Review, co-sponsored a fringe meeting at the STUC congress on challenging austerity and highlighting the cumulative misery and suffering caused to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

It was standing room only as we heard from UNITE, RMT, PCW, the acting Editor of the Morning Star and striking porters from Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.  The meeting discussed human rights as workers rights, ending austerity to make social justice a reality for all and highlighting attacks on basic trade union rights such as participating in union activities and more insidious attacks on the general right to protest.

A report on the meeting also appears in the Morning Star, a co-sponsor of the meeting, which can be found at ”

Maintain, Extend & Promote FoI Rights!

Jan 20, 2015 Add a comment

Scottish Parliament warned action needed to protect FOI

The Scottish Information Commissioner, Rosemary Agnew, has warned the Scottish Parliament that immediate steps must be taken to protect freedom of information (FOI) rights from the damage caused by the outsourcing of important public services. The Commissioner has made the warning in a Special Report to Parliament which is available on her website at: If you support her recommendations please let her know at

The Report explains that the provision to extend FOI to non-public sector organisations delivering public functions has been “woefully underused” in the ten years since FOI law came into effect, with the consequence that some public functions are no longer open to full public scrutiny.

The Commissioner’s report reflects growing concern about the impact of changes in public sector delivery on information rights. For example, since 2005, over 15,000 Scottish households have lost FOI rights following the transfer of local authority housing stock to housing associations, and the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee is currently considering a call for FOI rights to apply to all housing associations. While the Scottish Government has the power to extend FOI to third parties that provide public services, this power has only been used once in the last decade. This was in 2013 for the designation of local authority leisure and culture trusts.

Commissioner Rosemary Agnew said:

“The first decade of FOI in Scotland is a real success story. Over 60,000 requests were made last year alone, and recent research revealed that 95% of the public believe that the right of access to the information held by public bodies is important.

“Worryingly though, our right to information is being slowly eroded. Rights have been gradually lost over the last 10 years as the responsibility for public service delivery is passed to third parties. These rights are fundamental to ensuring public services are open, cost-effective and accountable to the public.

“As the models for the delivery of public functions evolve and change, it is vitally important that the public’s right to the information held about the services that deliver them are protected and strengthened”.

The Commissioner’s Special Report, FOI 10 Years On: are the right organisations covered? contains a number of recommendations for action by Scottish Government Ministers to address her concerns. The recommendations include:

· adopting a policy to ensure FOI rights are migrated whenever a body delivering public functions or services changes

· carrying out a review to identify where FOI rights have been lost over the past decade, and reinstate them

· taking steps to ensure that FOI rights apply to those bodies responsible for social housing and private prisons and

· adopting a factor based approach to wider FOI designation, to ensure that FOI rights apply to bodies which are considered to be delivering functions of a public nature.

The Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland welcomed the report and said “We fully back the concerns of the SIC. indeed we have said since the FOISAct was passed in 2002, that a much wider range of organisations need to be covered. At that time the then Deputy FM (Jim Wallace) promised that housing associations would be considered for inclusion at an early stage. Unfortunately, successive Scottish governments have failed to act on this and the only extension has been to cover leisure and cultural trusts. It is long past time for FOI rights to cover all public services – whoever delivers them.”

The Campaign believes that the public’s right to know should be further extended to ensure accountability and transparency in the delivery of services:

“in addition to the list presented by the SIC, we could add many other bodies. Our care services are increasingly delivered under contract by voluntary or private bodies. Privatised services delivering public transport, roads maintenance, water and sewerage services et al. Even some regulatory services are now delivered by non-public bodies like the Citizens Advice Service. If the Scottish Government doesn’t grasp this challenge Ms Agnew’s concerns about the legislation being eroded will be well-founded.”

The latest Edition of Scottish Left Review carries an article by Chris Bartter of the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland which explores these issues in greater detail.



Right to Access Information (FoI)

Jan 05, 2015 Add a comment

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FoISA) came into force ten years ago and gives people an enforceable right to access information held by certain bodies with devolved public functions in Scotland. For example councils, health boards and Universities. It is also 10 years since the introduction of the right to access information held by UK Government and public bodies such as the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

So what difference has the right made? Research, conducted by Ipsos MORI in October 2014 found that public awareness of FOI is at an all-time high of 84%, 95% of the Scottish public thinks that the right to access information held by public authorities is important while just 8% of people feel that freedom of information (FOI) is a waste of public money.

According to the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland the enforceable right has played a major part in informing the public about the state of public services. The Campaign’s director, Maurice Frankel, said: “The FOI Act has been responsible for a new generation of official data showing where standards of public services are falling short, regulators are failing to keep up and policies are not having the promised effect.” But the Campaign said that the increasing use of private contractors and others to deliver public services is weakening the public’s right to know. Now is the time for FoISA to be extended to a range of new bodies so that the public’s right to know remains robust and relevant to our lives and concerns.

There are numerous examples of how using this enforceable right has benefitted service users and staff alike, individuals and communities For example much of the home support provided to elderly or vulnerable people is supplied in short 15-minute visits commissioned from private providers. It is often impossible to provide the range of support people may need in this time, including help in getting out of bed, dressing, bathing, using the toilet and taking medicines. An FOI survey carried out by UNISON in 2013 found that 69% of English councils provided at least some of their care in 15 minute slots with 83% of Welsh authorities and 88% of Scottish councils doing so.

To read the Campaign’s press release in more detail go to

The Scottish Information Commissioner enforces the right to access information and she has declared that ‘Access to information is one of a range of mechanisms through which citizens can engage with public bodies and hold them to account for their performance, their spending and their decision-making. Scottish FOI is in generally good health and is a right that is known about, valued, and used. Data from public authorities suggest that over 60,000 FOI requests were made in 2013/14, with more than 90% resulting all or some of the information being provided, and less than 1% being appealed to me.’

“It’s not all positive news though. At the same time as support for FOI has increased, real concerns have arisen that FOI rights are being lost as the delivery of public services changes. For example, in the 10 years since FOI came into force, it is estimated that over 15,000 households in Scotland have lost information rights through the transfer of local authority stock to housing associations. It is a loss not only to the households themselves but to the public at large, calling to question whether such a vital service can truly be open and accountable. I am also not convinced that enough consideration has been given to extending the coverage of FOI to new areas.

“That is why I am preparing a Special Report for the Scottish Parliament to explore this important issue. My aim is for the Report to promote a constructive and grown-up debate about how we collectively ensure that rights keep pace with change, rather than fall increasingly behind.”

The Commissioner’s Special Report will be published in January 2015.

For more information go to the OSIC website

The Scottish Government has announced that it will publish a consultation paper on the extension of FoISA to new bodies, and other matters, in Spring 2015. In the meantime you may want to check out the information it produces on FoI at

Future Work Agreed

Dec 22, 2014 Add a comment

The Project Board has agreed the direction and detail of the Foundation for the next six months which includes:

  • A project on the integration of health and social care in Scotland;
  • Update of existing policy papers on Procurement, Industrial Democracy, Democracy and Universalism.