Bexley and Bromley explore possible joint commissioning of library services
Published Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Bexley and Bromley councils are considering jointly commissioning their library services.
The approach to procuring the services has been agreed by Bexley and will be discussed by Bromley Council later this month.
The news follows ‘soft market testing’ and further consultation with library staff, library users and residents. Discussions with potential library service providers as part of the soft market testing showed that it might be possible to deliver library services in a way that protects front line services, while delivering essential savings. Both councils face serious financial challenges.
If the two councils agree to a joint procurement process, their Library Services will be tendered together, with each retaining the ability to specify different requirements, according to their priorities.
Councillor Peter Craske, Bexley’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Environment and Leisure took a decision for Bexley to proceed with a tender exercise for the library service on 16 October. He explained: ‘We are going out to tender to find a provider that will deliver a great service to residents, that will continue to provide the services and activities that our customers currently enjoy, while also saving council taxpayers’ money.”
Councillor Peter Morgan, Bromley’s Executive Councillor for Renewal and Recreation said: “We must consider all the options carefully with the overall aim of protecting our library service. Our shared management service approach with Bexley has delivered savings whilst maintaining the frontline library service and now, we are looking to see how we can deliver further savings whilst maintaining this important service.”
If the tender exercise is progressed, both councils will need to take a further decision in late 2016 on whether to go ahead.
A range of council services in both boroughs have been delivered by contractor providers for many years. They include street cleaning, Council Tax, Housing Benefit and the management of leisure centres.
Editor’s notes – The London Borough of Bromley is due to take a decision on the commissioning of the library service at its Special Executive meeting on 9 November 2015, following the Renewal & Recreation PDS Committee on 27 October.
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