Sunday, 22 July 2012

Are Harrow and Ealing joining together to privatise their library services?

Is Harrow planning to strike a strategic deal with Ealing with a view to privatise their library services, well it definitely looks as if it's being investigated if a Council Cabinet meeting document is to be believed;

"Commission both library and leisure management services (libraries with Ealing Council and leisure management with Ealing and Brent Councils) as the Brent, Ealing and Harrow Strategic Cultural Partnership. This option can maximise potential savings whilst at the same time reducing management costs for clienting arrangements across the three boroughs. The commissioning would be in three packages – libraries alone- leisure centres alone – libraries and leisure as one package. At this stage it is not possible to judge how many organisations in the market are able to provide effective management services for both libraries and leisure management."

"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."

This is an incredible statement, basically it's saying that even if users/public don't want their library service to be privatised the Council knows best and will do it anyway! Another sham consultation then and two fingers up to local democracy and accountability!!!!

Soft market testing has already taken place and three specialist library service providers (LSSI, JLIS and Essex CC or GLL?) and other leisure providers have shown interest according to an official council document;

"The second round of soft market testing confirmed that, while as

previously found, the libraries market is much less mature, it is very

much an area in which potential contractors are interested. During the

soft market testing phase, three specialist library service providers

attended whilst other providers better known for their leisure

management service provision also indicated how they had been

developing the library side of their business. The soft market test

showed that there was a definite interest from the market in the three

boroughs’ proposition for collaborative commissioning of both libraries

and leisure services. Since that time, a number of library services

(including in London) have been commissioned through external


1 comment: