LIBRARIES IN BROMLEY TO BE RUN BY OUTSIDERS?
“Commissioned library service” under council supervision proposed
PEOPLE WHO live, work or study in the borough of Bromley are being asked their opinions of proposed changes to the management of Bromley’s library service.
The consultation, which, runs until the autumn and seeks views on the council’s proposals for what it calls a “commissioned library service” – no mention of words such as ‘privatised’ or ‘hived off’ – and is in response to what a Bromley council statement calls “challenging financial circumstances.”
Bromley’s executive councillor for renewal and recreation Cllr Peter Morgan said in a council statement:
“We have a long and proud record of investing in new libraries and we also have a reputation for sound financial management.
“There is growing market interest in running library services and this approach may ultimately represent best value for money.
“The continuing financial reality for all local authorities, including Bromley, is that savings must be found in each and every service and the library service is not an exception.
“But before the council makes a decision we want to hear from residents and library users alike.”
A council spokesman said: “The council already commissions a range of different services with this latest proposal meaning that the library service could be managed by an external provider under the supervision of the council.
“The proposal to seek an external provider to operate Bromley’s libraries could produce savings which will help to protect the current library services.
“The proposal builds on around eight weeks of consultation at the beginning of the year and follows a joint market testing exercise with Bexley council.
“The latest eight week consultation allows respondents to offer their opinions and suggestions about the future of the library service.
“The responses will then be considered alongside other factors about whether to progress with a commissioned approach for the library service.
“As part of the consultation, the council is also especially interested to hear any alternative ideas that could significantly reduce the council’s costs at libraries.”
Responses are invited through an online survey atwww.bromley.gov.uk/consultation or alternatively, paper versions of the survey are available in all Bromley libraries. Responses should be submitted by 16 September 2015.
EDITOR’S NOTE:The survey can be accessed via bromley.gov press releases “Have your say on the future of the library service” published Tuesday, 28 July 2015