Although directives of the Trade Union Reform Act applied equally to Scotland, they have been interpreted in a more co-operative way. Last December the Scottish Education Minister Lord James Douglas-Hamilton invited the 12 Scottish education authorities to form careers service partnerships with local enterprise councils (LECs).
Their preferred bids were duly submitted by a November 5 deadline and the Scottish Office is now assessing whether the partnerships are genuine and ensuring equal board representation of education and LEC personnel.
The expectation is that bids will be successful and that the semi-privatised bodies will start in business next April.
Dermot Dick, Lothian's assistant director of education and its head of careers, explains that the arrangements build on existing education and business partnerships. "There is," he adds, "a recognition that Scottish careers services have a closer relationship with schools. The Scottish Office approach means the transition should be smooth and individual clients won't notice much difference. The way we're handling the changes reflects a desire for Scottish solutions to Scottish problems."
Extra monies will be slower in coming through than in England and Wales because consultation has only just begun on a Training for the Future package. However, Mr Dick is confident the service will expand.
"The encouraging aspect," he says, "is that in Scotland, England and Wales there is at last a recognition by Government of the economic value of guidance. "