Library service consultation given the go ahead by Committee

Published Thursday, 20 November 2014

Proposals to consult on the future of Bromley’s library service were given the go ahead by a Scrutiny Committee.

The proposals were discussed at a meeting of the Renewal and Recreation PDS (Policy Development Scrutiny) Committee earlier this week. The recommendation allows for consultation on options for Community Management at the six community libraries in the borough and market testing for the management of the core service. The news follows a review of the library service which includes these options to modernise the service and make improvements, while making significant savings and protecting the core service. 

“Residents will appreciate that the council faces severe financial pressures and needs to save more than £60 million over the next four years, with tough decisions needing to be made. These proposals for Community Management of Community Libraries and market testing of the core service offer the opportunity to protect core services while making savings. The consultation process will be publicised in libraries and on our website shortly so let us know your views. Library users should be reassured that we are committed to providing a modern service and doing everything we can to keep libraries open whilst operating within the much publicised financial constraints. If there were Community Management that would offer the opportunity of extended opening days and hours for those libraries” said Councillor Peter Morgan, Executive Councillor for Renewal and Recreation. 

Consultation will take place with library users and staff on the development of Community Management options at the borough’s Community Libraries which are Burnt Ash, Hayes, Mottingham, Shortlands, Southborough and St Paul’s Cray. This option would enable these libraries to remain open and tailored to the needs of the local community, despite the current financial restraints faced. The results of the consultation will be considered in Spring 2015. 

Consultation will also be undertaken on market testing to outsource 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. 

Recent investment into a modern library service includes the new Penge library which opened in August, the Biggin Hill dual use library and swimming pool which opened in 2010 and the new Orpington library which opened in July 2011, with increased visitor numbers and book borrowing. These new facilities underline the strategy of modernising the library service, increasing efficiency and creating a service for the 21st century.

For further information visit www.bromley.gov.uk/libraries.  

ENDS 

Notes to editors:

  • Council savings of more than £60 million must be made from an overall budget of around £206 million.
  • For media enquiries, please contact Jennifer Gordon, Communications Officer, on 020 8313 4314 or email jennifer.gordon@bromley.gov.uk