APSE held a fringe meeting today on Transforming Public Services at the SNP annual conference in Perth. This is got to be one of the best fringes the Association has ever done, there was over 70 delegates in attendance who were all interested in the topic rather than the lunch and the speakers were excellent.
Cllr Ron Scrimgour from Angus Council who sits on the APSE National Council chaired the event as well as having organised it. He is first class and will be a massive loss to local government and APSE when he stands down at the May elections. He had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.
Jim Mather MSP, the economic spokesperson, opened the speeches and linked the reform of public services to the wider macro economic development of Scotland, but for me John Swinney MSP, the finance spokesperson and former leader stole the show. The conference delegates obviously still have the upmost respect for him and I found myself agreeing with a number of his assertions about public sector reform. I passed on a sound bite to him in my contribution 'collaboration not reorganisation' and pointed out that our response to the Executive's consultation contained a number of the points he had made.
I found myself wondering why he was not the leader anymore and came to the conclusion that he was probably to genuine a person for that level of politics. The debate raged on until Ron had to close it in time for delegates to return to the main hall.