Cabinet Meeting : 11 March 2009
STATEMENT to OPEN FORUM
The paper, 'Libraries : Value for Money Savings 2009/10', was presented to Cabinet at the cabinet budget meeting on Feb 11th 2009. The paper, marked 'confidential', prepared by officers for cabinet members, outlines ideas about future library strategy but states clearly that "Ward councillors, interested groups or individuals have not been consulted in the preparation of this paper".
No further detailed papers describing a plan for public libraries were presented between the cabinet meeting and the council meeting.
The decision to close libraries made at the council budget meeting on 23 February 2009 was therefore not based on a properly drawn up plan which had been published and discussed by councillors or been the subject of proper consultation with the residents and communities affected by it.
Response from the Leader
Councillor Bluh asked to see the paper copy of the officers' Value report which Mrs Burnham held and it was passed to him. He demanded to know where the report had come from, saying that he did not recognise it. He passed it to the Deputy Leader, Councillor Foley, who also said she did not recognise the document. The Leader called for an inquiry into how the document had surfaced and said that neither cabinet members nor councillors had ever seen the confidential document drawn up by officers and handed to campaigners for Old Town library.
[The response from the Leader is reported here from memory and not from written notes]
Question to Cabinet and Answer : 11 March 2009
Public Question Time : Mrs. Shirley Burnham - Old Town Library.
At the last Scrutiny Committee meeting on 16th February, I was obliged to request the Chair whether he could resubmit my written question to Cabinet which I had submitted to Cabinet on 11th February. This was because the Lead Member for Libraries' written answer did not address my question. A month has now passed since that cabinet meeting and I have still not received an answer.
The Leader apologised to Mrs Burnham and said there may have been an administrative problem which led to her not receiving a response. He promised that she would receive this answer within a few days.
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