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Row over careers revamp

MINISTERS' plans to restructure careers services have been labelled as privatisation by South Ayrshire. The Scottish Office suggests there is "no significant restructuring" on the cards but the council believes there will be an important diminution of the local authorities' role.

Twenty careers staff in Ayrshire would have to be transferred to a new independent company under the plans, while the region's three councils would lose their right to place officials on the board.

Ayrshire Careers Partnership, an amalgam of the three Ayrshire councils and Enterprise Ayrshire, has run the careers services for four years but under the proposals councils would be outvoted by the private sector.

The partnership's contract with the Scottish Office expires next year and ministers want a change in company membership. Authorities currently have a half share.

Dermot Dick, chairman of the Association of Careers Services in Scotland, said the changes would be less dramatic than south of the border. "Nowhere in Scotland is there a wholly privatised model. Some companies in England are listed on the stock market and take a percentage of public funds for their shareholders," he said.

In Scotland, companies would continue to be charitable and non-profit-making.

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