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Scottish Government

Notice of intent - Scottish Recruitment profile

By The Drum, Administrator

November 2, 2007 | 3 min read

This organisation, funded by the Scottish Government to the tune of ?4.5m over three years, is a partnership between the Government, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives. Its aim is for local and national government to work together to achieve greater efficiency.

One target is to reduce the amount local government spends on recruitment and public notice advertising. The two new portals will allow local councils to advertise jobs and public notices online - providing them with sophisticated back-end resource on one level, but greater reach throughout the public sector on another.

Harrison is due to address the Society of Personnel Directors of Scotland in St Andrews later this month about the proposals. However, there is speculation that he may face an uphill battle in persuading some councils to come on board.

Many deem other councils as competition when it comes to recruiting candidates and are reluctant to share a platform with rivals. And some argue that since most of their recruits come from well defined geographic areas there is little point in targeting Scotland as a whole.

But companies tendering for the project have been told that around 20 councils are expected to use the site when it goes live, advertising up to 30,000 vacancies per year. Roles advertised will range from semi-skilled posts up to chief executive level.

Candidates will be able to manage the entire process through the new system, from application through to acceptance of the job.

In a briefing to agencies IS confirmed a budget of up to ?5m has been set aside - which covers site builds, two years of site management following 'go live', option for further two one year periods of management and the marketing of both portals.

Up to five companies have been appointed. Controversially, London-based recruitment firm Step Stone was appointed, along with Igraph, after pitching against Scottish-based contenders, including S1jobs.

It is thought Glasgow-based Spider Online has been commissioned to work on various preliminaries.

In terms of content, the new Public Notice portal will cover traffic, licensing, general notices and planning issues.

It is not yet clear how the new service will be paid for. However, in a Question and Answers document designed for those pitching for the online build - which The Drum has had sight of - one agency asked; "Are councils expected to pay for this service?" Replied Is: "This is still under discussion through the various stakeholder groups, but ideally a negative cost to councils (will be incurred) either via advertising or sponsorship."

Said Jim Raeburn, "This will impact on important sources of revenue for publishers. The initiative also affects public notices and we do question the impact of this in terms of open democracy. Just how many people will go to a website for these sort of notices?"

Although initially restricted to local authorities, publishers fear this is simply a prelude to a larger scheme that will ultimately include all Scottish Government recruitment advertising - which represents around 50 percent of the entire recruitment market north of the border.

In the meantime, the Government seems to be adopting an arm's length approach. Those tendering were told it is unlikely to be a '.gov' site.

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