Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Secret meetings and council silence on library sell-off


At Croydon Council it's starting to resemble something out of a Le Carre novel, clandestine meetings with shady characters and bluff and counter bluff! What ever happened to democratic accountability?

Friday, 24 June 2011

Bookworms in Wokingham fight to keep libraries public


"Council officers are looking for a partner to take over control of the borough’s 10 libraries in a bid to save £170,000 a year.
But the campaigners say the only way a private company will be able to make a profit will be to close libraries and increase charges for residents."

Croydon and Wandsworth hold exploratory talks with LSSI


"Mr Fisher told the Advertiser: "I have no problem with the chief executive meeting with LSSI. I didn't know the meeting was going ahead but I am pleased that it did."
Mr Fisher said the council would be talking over the next few weeks to "a whole host of people" who could have the potential to run the library service. He added: "When you start market testing like this you don't have to be a genius to realise that LSSI are coming to talk to us."

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Croydon and Wokingham Libraries to be run by LSSI?

"LSSI, which runs 16 public library systems in five US states, is currently wooing authorities with an attractive business model that promises increased community activity and invites Starbucks to set up inside branches. LSSI has spoken to “dozens of local authorities” over the past three years and held meetings with five councils last week, with Croydon becoming the latest borough to consider a deal. LSSI’s first contract is expected to start next May in Wokingham."
Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/253640/As-US-firm-seeks-to-run-beloved-institutions-are-we-at-risk-of-barbarism-As-US-firm-seeks-to-run-beloved-institutions-are-we-at-risk-of-barbarism-#ixzz1PkUgBys6

Friday, 17 June 2011

Wokingham start 'Competitive Dialogue' process in its bid to privatise libraries

"Competitive dialogue is a public-sector tendering option that allows for bidders to develop alternative proposals in response to a client’s outline requirements. Only when their proposals are developed to sufficient detail are tenderers invited to submit competitive bids. The aims are to increase value by encouraging innovation and to maintain competitive pressure in bidding for complex contracts.
Competitive dialogue was designed to facilitate all manner of complex purchases, from PFI hospitals to weapons systems, and its use on complex deals such as Building Schools for the Future (BSF) will have further implications for the attraction of PPP/PFI opportunities in the contractor marketplace."

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Privatising libraries will not work Tim Coates tells Croydon Council


"PRIVATISING libraries will not work and the Conservative council should be looking at better ways of cutting costs while all the libraries are open.
This was the clear message to emerge from an open meeting of Labour's shadow cabinet held on Monday and attended by campaigners who have fought library closures.
Predicting privatisation would not work, Mr Coates added: "There is no profit in it for anybody and there is no income because it has to be a free service."

The Service Employees International Union tries to stop California cities from outsourcing library services.


Friday, 10 June 2011

Row rages on in Wokingham over library outsourcing

"Under-fire council bosses have once again been forced to defend a decision to put the management of the borough’s libraries out to tender after fierce criticism from opposition politicians.
Councillor Prue Bray, leader of Wokingham Liberal Democrats, says she is “appalled” by a decision to allow a competitive dialogue process to go ahead. She believes this could result in a private company taking control of the area’s libraries from May 2012."

Monday, 6 June 2011

Proposals to outsource library services in Croydon and Wandsworth


"TOO cash-strapped to run its libraries itself, Croydon Council is setting about finding outsiders to do the job at reduced price.
Councillor Sara Bashford, cabinet member for culture and sport, announced on Wednesday that subject to cabinet approval on June 13, a "market testing" exercise would be launched in conjunction with Wandsworth to gauge interest in running library services in both boroughs.
The councils will entertain proposals from private companies, social enterprises, trusts and even other local authorities."

Friday, 3 June 2011

Californian Assembly makes it harder to privatise libraries

"Despite strong opposition from Republicans, the Assembly narrowly passed a union-backed bill to make cities and counties blow through a series of roadblocks before they can privatize their libraries.
Under Assembly Bill 438, library systems would have to:
• pick a contract after a competitive bidding process.
• give four straight weeks of public notice before enacting a change, doubling the current requirement.
• prove through a broad analysis that a switch away from the free public
library system saves the city or county money.
• show that the cost savings are not simply a factor of lower pay for the private company's employees.
• require an audit before hiring a library contractor charging more than $100,000 a year.
• ensure that the public employees don't lose their jobs."

Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/06/despite-strong-opposition-from.html#ixzz1OHoCqXEW

This is a big blow for LSSI, they have been lobbying hard to stop this bill. Congratulations to all at 'I Love Public Libraries' on their successful campaign!