A SCOTS council has been accused of behaving like “a bizarre cross between Dad’s Army and the KGB” by union chiefs.
UNISON claims Edinburgh City Council refused to publish details of a survey by MORI on their privatisation plans, saying it would ‘prejudice, substantially, the Council’s ability to conduct its affairs’.
But council leader Jenny Dawe went on to reveal the details, along with details of the confidential bidding process to run the City’s refuse collection, in a newspaper article.
Peter Hunter, of UNISON, said: “This privatisation process would be farcical if it weren’t so serious.
“The council are combining the openness of the KGB with the competence of Dad’s Army. They keep information from the public – gag Trade Union negotiators with confidentiality agreements – but feel free to leak things to the press.
“We asked to see the MORI report because we were eager to see if the people of Edinburgh support our campaign against privatisation. We were shocked when the council banned the release of their own report.
“We don’t understand how a publicly-funded opinion poll into the proposals of a public body can be kept private. Now we read that excerpts of that censored report have been leaked to newspapers by the leader of the council.”
He continued: “According to press reports the report says people of Edinburgh believe the bidders are motivated by cost alone, accountability for services will be lost and the contract could not be terminated if the service is poor.
“The council may not like what the voters think but their views cannot be ignored.
“In the light of the Trams we need more openness at the city council, not a growing veil of secrecy.
“If the report prejudices the position of the council why was it leaked to the press? We will take this issue to the Information Commissioner, the Scottish Government and, ultimately, to the courts. The truth will out.”
However the council refuted the allegations that they were withholding the information.
Jenny Dawe said: “The Council is taking this process extremely seriously given the importance of the issues concerned and Unison’s attempt to diminish this by the use of such inflammatory language is both disappointing and unhelpful.
“The fact is that Unison are being given open access to a wealth of material, including the survey to which they refer, and this is exactly the same level of access as is afforded to Elected Members on the Council.”