“FURTHER COSTS ARE MOUNTING UP DAILY” – .Friends of Lambeth Libraries letter sent to all councillors
Friends of Lambeth Libraries sent the following letter to all councilors well in advance of last week’s council meeting. “No replies at all” says Laura Swaffield, who chairs FOLL.
This is an emergency.
It is now clear that the current libraries policy will not save LBL (London borough of Lambeth) a penny.
In fact, continued efforts to make it work are now wasting thousands – on top of the millions that installing gyms would cost. Details below.
The culture2020 plans are in complete disarray. There is still no viable business plan, no realistic costings, no idea how to implement major requirements.
There is, then, still time to call a halt and do something that works.
Alternative plans are available – properly thought out, costed and viable – to restore the full service people need AND MAKE THE REQUIRED SAVINGS.
We urge you to support our request for an urgent re-think.
The plan for libraries in the Cabinet report of Oct 12th 2015 (for which no supporting research, business plan or financial projections have ever been provided) stated that it would save just £369k pa – not the £800k required.
• It did not show how the £800k saving would ever be achieved.
• In addition, it would cost £3m capital + £1m revenue to install gyms in libraries.
IT DID NOT INCLUDE:
• agreed staff pay uplift @ £89k pa (this immediately reduced saving to just £189k).
• cost of consultation on location of gym between Durning & Tate South Lambeth libraries
• cost of security guards at closed libraries at Minet & Carnegie (estimate: £10,000 per month per guard).
OFFICERS STILL HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DEAL WITH THESE PREDICTABLE COSTS:
• cost of alternative location for stock support offices housed at Carnegie library
• cost of alternative location for home delivery service (including 3 parking spaces) housed at Carnegie library
• cost of alternative location for extensive stock reserves housed at Carnegie library
• cost of accommodating archives material at Minet, displaced by installation of a gym
• cost of alternative locations, and public access to, stock & PCs from closed libraries.
SINCE THEN, FURTHER EXTENSIVE COSTS HAVE ARISEN
• cost of delayed closure of both UNJL and Waterloo, as move insufficiently organised, necessitating staffed service for months after planned closure dates
• cost of 35 librarian hours per week now to be provided at UNJL for a year, ostensibly for a further year after review in 2017
• cost of library-compatible IT system to be installed at Oasis premises for Waterloo ‘neighbourhood library’
• cost of excavating Carnegie basement to accommodate a gym
• loss of income from illegal ejection of office tenants at Carnegie, including compensation & possible legal action
• cost of last-minute efforts to find alternative premises for numerous voluntary groups providing a free community service to LBL at Minet & Carnegie
• unnecessary extra security guards & supervisory staff, including overtime – total 6 or 7 per day – at both sites during Carnegie occupation & (unnecessarily) up to 14 days thereafter
• new high-specification security camera at Carnegie
• cost of at least two rounds of extra leaflets (hand-delivered) to residents in Carnegie & Minet areas.
PLUS, OF COURSE:
• cost of high-level officer time, legal advice, surveyors & consultants working on all the above.
We have no idea what all these costs add up to.
We have repeatedly asked LBL officers, but they are unable to tell us.
BUT ONE THING IS CLEAR:
The paltry predicted saving of £189k pa has been wiped out long ago.
Further costs are mounting up daily.
Friends of Lambeth Libraries