Falkirk Community Trust taken back under council control
At a special meeting of Falkirk Council three former board members Ian Scott, Bob Tait and Alex McQuade pleaded with councillors to change their minds
The trust is an arms-length organisation, which manages a range of facilities including libraries, sports centres, gyms, museums and swimming pools on behalf the council.
Local historian Mr Scott told members they were not there to “fight an old fight” but he urged them to consider the loss of £1.2 million every year, which will happen when the Trust loses its charitable status.
“We plead with you to reverse the policy and spare our community the damage that is staring us all in the face,” he said.
The meeting was called by the Labour group with the support of Provost Billy Buchanan. Labour group leader Robert Bissett said: “Bringing the Trust back in-house will result in closure of facilities and services, there can be no doubt about that as we do not have the capacity in the council to make savings.”
However, SNP councillors said that the change would improve decision making and make it more coherent.
Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said that the Labour motion was “ill thought out” and gave no regard to implications for staff, or for the democratic decision making process.
She said that a lot of positive and constructive work had been undertaken since last January and those she had spoken to had been very positive about it.
She said: “To reverse that decision would mean all the work and good will from staff would be lost. It would be hugely unsettling for staff and would certainly attract comment from the auditors.”
Chief executive Kenneth Lawrie acknowledged that it has been a “big, challenging, complicated project” but the work that has been done in the council and Trust has been “comprehensive and very impressive.”
Councillor Meiklejohn moved an amendment upholding the council’s decision which was supported by the Conservative group and was passed by 21 votes to nine.