Question to Council 15 January 2009


Swindon Borough Council Meeting, 15 January 2009, from Public Gallery
Ms. Shirley Burnham, Save Old Town Library Campaign

"Have you consulted with the Unions on their agreement with you not to replace employees with volunteers and, if so, what was the outcome

Are you able to refute an assertion from Dorset that you are shamefully misrepresenting the 'Dorset model'

Have you properly informed community groups about these matters before consulting them

And, as a result of your proposals, what will be the fate of the superb Old Town Library staff and other library services personnel across Swindon ?"

Comments ?

You can contact your Ward Councillors to express your concerns.  Please
Click here Old Town & Lawn Councillors and then on the link bearing the Councillor's name (top left)

Please use the link below if you wish to contact
Councillor Nick Martin :    Mail Councillor Martin  and

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

Supplementary Question

What use is proposed for the Council's own building in which Old Town Library is housed if, heaven forbid, the library is closed down ?

Answers to Question and Supplementary Question

Written Answer to Question
The Leader of the Council has responded :
Thank you for your question.  Cabinet has consulted with the Unions about this agreement and the union representatives indicated that they understood the Council's priorities.

When talking to the staff and to the Friends, libraries management have mentioned Dorset as one example of an authority which has used volunteers to staff libraries. Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and East Sussex have also been mentioned.  At no time have we said we would use the Dorset model.

At the Old Town and Lawn area panel meeting on 11 December 2008 ward councillors raised these issues with the local community, which included some representatives of residents' associations, to gauge the interest for potential volunteers before going to full consultation.

These staff would be redeployed into similar posts currently vacant at other libraries, so that we do not lose their valuable skills.

Verbal Answer to Supplementary Question
No use is planned for the building.