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Cornwall's Libraries Face Being Hived Off


Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 6:45pm 9th July 2015.

It looks like Cornwall's libraries and One Stop Shops could be tendered out.

This as the council looks to save one point eight million pounds from the service.

A public consultation has taken place on four options and County Hall says the most likely is Option Two: to formally tender for provision of the whole service under a separate organisation.

A spokesperson said: "As part of the Council's Business Plan and Budget setting for 2015-2019 Members agreed the following aim: 'Ensure access to Library and advice services across Cornwall through new community led models of service provision whilst delivering £1.8m savings (44%) over 2015/16 and 2016/17'.

"Following consultation and engagement on the review of the Library and One Stop Shop service, the report is now available and will be considered by Cornwall Council's Communities Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) on 17 July and by the Cabinet on 23 July.

"Following analysis of the consultation results, four main options are presented in the report to consider, along with key considerations and risks."

The options are presented as follows:

1 - (Model A); to progress the devolution of the local Library and/or One Stop Shop, to those organisations who have expressed an interest.

2 - (Model B); to formally tender for provision of the whole service under a separate organisation.

3 - (Model A + Hybrid), to augment the devolved provision with self-serve technology to further reduce costs.

4 - To define the Council's 'statutory offer' criteria and deliver the service to meet the budget targets, keeping only the core service.

The council added: "Considering the four options presented in the report and the associated considerations/risks, it is clear that none of them present a straightforward way of preserving the service whilst delivering it within the reduced budget envelope. However option 2 is considered to be the most likely to achieve this and on this basis the recommendation in the report for PAC and Cabinet to consider is as follows:

1.    That Option 2 / Model B - formally procure a service provider for the whole Face to Face (Library/One Stop Shop) service be approved in principle.

2.    That authority be delegated to the Director of Communities and Organisational Development, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Communities, to carry out further market engagement to establish whether there is a reasonable prospect that Option 2 could deliver the service within the available budget envelope, and that a further report be presented to Cabinet for approval prior to commencing a procurement process.

"Many people who took part in the consultation told us they value and wish to protect local face to face services and would like to introduce improvements to the service delivery, including extending opening hours to allow community groups to visit, better stock, better facilities and more events and activities.

"After careful consideration, Model B is the most likely option to ensure delivery of a preserved and consistent service across Cornwall within budget and in line with the business plan requirement to 'ensure access to library and advice services across Cornwall'.

"This option also provides opportunities for the new organisation to work with community groups and organisations who wish to shape services in their area, alongside the potential for delivery of a modern service through, for example, exploring technology options."

Geoff Brown, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the consultation.  With over 2,000 responses it has been a significant task to evaluate them and I am determined that, as far as possible, we will continue to provide an efficient and effective library service in all of our key towns. In addition we are looking to make best use of buildings and co-locate One Stop Shops wherever possible to provide a single point of contact for all Council services.

"I remain committed, in the face of significant cuts, to delivering an effective, efficient and consistent service countywide."

All responses received as part of the consultation and engagement process have been captured and are available on the Council's website: www.cornwall.gov.uk.

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