Sherry Waldon : Cabinet Meeting : 22nd July 2009



Question : Sherry Waldon

In answer to a query from me about the consultation process for Walcot Library, I quote from an e-mail received from Allyson Jordan, Head of Libraries, on 16th July :

   "1.  Walcot Library did not need to be included in the 'more comprehensive consultation' as the
   decision about the library was finalised in February, as we had already had an approach in January
   from the Walcot Community Shop, this is explained in the Cabinet report.

    2. The options for the budget savings included the possible closure of Walcot or it being run by
   volunteers.  The proposal by the Community Shop trustees was made in January 2009.  The proposal
   was for them to share library, building costs and for them to run Walcot Library with support from
   the Council and the arrangement commenced on 16th April 2009.   There was no need for more
   consultation as a solution for the library had been found."

Could Cabinet explain why, when they came up with a 'solution' for Walcot Library, the Council felt free to implement it without consultation with Walcot residents?  This arrangement constituted a drastic change in the provision of library services in Walcot.

The Deputy Leader responded :

Thank you for your question.  The new arrangement at Walcot Library commenced on 16 April 2009.  There is not a substantial change to library provision at Walcot Library, therefore a wide consultation was not necessary.  The number of opening hours are similar, customers have access to books, IT, reservations, and a direct telephone link to staff at the Central Library.   Feedback so far has been positive.

Supplementary Question : Sherry Waldon

Section 5 of the ERS Review states that there is a significant distinction between the use of volunteers to support library staff and enhance core services and the use of volunteers in operating library service points, and recommends that the Borough adopt the former policy. Will the Cabinet and Council confirm that they do not intend to ignore that recommendation with regard to Walcot Library?

The Deputy Leader's Response :

Councillor Foley stated that they would "take it into consideration".

[Sherry's Supplementary Question and the Member's response are reported here from memory and not from written notes]

Any Comments ?

Councillor Fionuala Foley : Lead Member for Libraries : Mail Councillor Foley

Councillor Rod Bluh, Leader of the Council :
Mail Councillor Bluh

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