The view from: George Black FCCA, chief executive, Glasgow City Council
What challenges do you face at Glasgow City Council?
Like other cities – improving levels of academic attainment and achievement, making the city cleaner and safer, improving the health and wellbeing of residents, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of services, preparing for a public expenditure squeeze starting in 2010 and continuing for the forseeable future.
And the opportunities?
Hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2014. There will be £800m capital investment in the city’s roads and sports and cultural facilities over the next three to four years. Over the last three years we have developed strong partnerships with the public and private sectors, which will be vital in managing the financial challenges ahead.
What do you expect over the next year?
Significant change! In April the council transfers 8,500 staff to a new Limited Liability Partnership to provide home care, catering and cleaning services. Another 2,500 staff have just transferred to a building maintenance LLP and 2,500 staff to a charitable trust providing cultural and leisure services. The council is consulting on plans to merge 40 primary schools into 20 campuses and also to create a new community campus bringing together secondary education, two colleges and other public services. Work will continue on the M74 extension and the Riverside Museum. I expect work to start in the summer on a new National Indoor Sports Arena and Velodrome.
If you could change one thing what would it be?
We need all staff to pull in the same direction. It is not enough to do things right, we need to do the right things.
How does being an FCCA assist you in leading Glasgow City Council?
A financial background, although not necessary, gives a good insight into a wide variety of issues – ideal preparation for becoming a chief executive. The wider skills associated with a professional accounting qualification provide a strong foundation for being a chief executive.
Glasgow City Council is Scotland’s largest local authority.
Black has been chief executive since 2003 – previously he was finance director.