Friday, 14 June 2013

Union concerned over new library outsourcing contract - Harrow Times - 07/06/13

"Union members have raised concerns over the new outsourcing contract for the running of library services agreed last night.
Members of Harrow Unison raised a number of concerns over the new libraries contract before it was agreed at the meeting of Harrow Borough Council's cabinet.
The deal was for library services to be run by John Laing Integrated Services Ltd in partnership with the neighbouring borough of Ealing."

"Council leader Thaya Idaikkadar said at the meeting: “With the state of the economy in Harrow and for everyone at the moment we have to be pragmatic.
“The public of Harrow really values these services and people will be more concerned about keeping them than who is running them."

The above statement from the Leader of the Council especially  "people will be more concerned about keeping them than who is running them." is quite disgraceful considering in 2011 Harrow Council held a public consultation where the majority of those consulted said that they wanted the management of their Library Service kept in-house and not privatised!

"The results of the Let’s Talk consultation had indicated that residents did not want the libraries to be outsourced to anyone other than the Council. The Divisional Director acknowledged this but advised that the proposal was that the management of the libraries be commissioned but that the Council would retain sovereignty over its library service and would continue to drive the strategic vision for the service.The alternatives, given the current financial imperatives, could be even more unpalatable for Members and residents."

What makes this even more puzzling is a statement made in 2009 by
Cllr Bill Stephenson, Leader of Harrow’s Labour Group, in response to proposals by the Conservative administration to outsource leisure service including libraries;

“This is a very serious matter indeed. Many residents will be appalled at the idea of libraries, for example, being outsourced. Councillors, local residents, and arts and sports organisations will want to be fully consulted before any decision is made."

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