Sunday 1 February 2015

Barnet, Lambeth, Bromley, Manchester & Kent. (or selling the family silver by the ton!)


Boy has it been an eventful couple of weeks in Capitaville; first we had this;

"Barnet Council's libraries consultation is 'unfit for purpose', according to report"
"An investigation into Barnet Borough Council’s library consultation has revealed people find it “impossible" to respond in any meaningful way."
for full report see;

then this response/demand;

The Libraries Consultation: a joint letter by the Barnet bloggers

Anyone who has tried to complete the consultation will already know that the consultation is loaded to the point were it's been re-named the 'nonconsultation', see;

And then the BIG one;

Exclusive: "So others can get a cut of the business": who is plotting to take over Barnet Libraries?

It appears that Barnet Council are planning to franchise their libraries to Starbucks et al and hope to sell the model to other boroughs!!! Shocking but not surprising considering that Tory Barnet councillors are at the forefront of the governments 'public bad private good' onslaught.


Shocking news from Lambeth where it looks as if the council is looking to cut libraries again. A public consultation has been launched which prompted local campaigners to tweet this yesterday;

SaveLambethLibraries (@SaveLambthLibs)
@VftL_UK Latest proposals for Lambeth Libraries… 800k cut, 40%+ staff reduction, 2 libraries closed & sold off

So much for being the 'Co-op Council'.


More tales of woe with proposals to hand libraries to volunteers and to privatise the rest of the service.
"Consultation is also underway regarding the market testing of the core service in order to protect the service, keeping libraries open, while making savings. Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the core library service will be subject to a full outsourcing market testing exercise, which will be taken in line with any decisions taken regarding the Community Library management options."

I've heard that a 'Save Bromley Libraries' campaign group has been set up so good luck to them.

"Seven Manchester libraries have seen visitor numbers plummet by as much as 90per cent since funding cuts led to them being run by volunteers with drastically reduced opening hours."

A shocking indictment of the volunteer-led libraries model, with tumbling footfall and usage who would have thought it?


Kent CC are proposing to hand libraries over to a trust.

Should Kent County Council transfer responsibility for its libraries to a charitable trust?
"Kent County Council is planning to transfer responsibility for its libraries to a charitable trust.
A consultation has begun on whether Kent County Council (KCC) should hand over responsibility for the library, registration and archive (LRA) services to a trust. Residents have until April 8 to make their views known."

But remember this from last year?

"In July last year, KCC confessed to a "mistake" when a job advert went out to oversee the transformation of the LRA services before publicly consulting on the change or having councillors agree to it.
The project manager role was advertised and then withdrawn when the blunder was spotted but Councillor Tom Maddison told News Shopper he was disappointed.
He said: "I don’t feel very happy about the council advertising the job before the elected members of the council have been consulted."

As pointed out recently by a local campaign group this makes a mockery of the consultation process;

Laughable “public consultation” to commence on Monday
"Obviously, we must forget the fact that a job advert went up in June last year asking for candidates who can “ensure the implementation and delivery of a trust model for Kent Libraries, Registration and Archives” because, of course, that is simply a figment of our imaginations and will have no bearing whatsoever on the entirely fair process that Kent County Council is about to embark on.
We have full confidence that, unlike Lincolnshire County Council, the consultation will be entirely above board because, unlike Lincolnshire, Kent clearly haven’t already made their decision before launching the consultation."

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