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The Future of Libraries Speak Up For Libraries conference Saturday 10 th November 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "The Future of Libraries Speak Up For Libraries conference Saturday 10 th November 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Future of Libraries Speak Up For Libraries conference Saturday 10 th November 2012

2 Overview  Outline the context library services are operating in  Provide an overview of legislative changes and how these could impact on the future of libraries  Highlight the use of different service delivery models

3 The picture in local government A difficult position.... Government cutting 28% from local authority budgets by 2014 Further cuts expected Local authorities reviewing budgets and services Libraries amongst other services being reviewed

4 The picture for libraries Expenditure on libraries and other culture and leisure, was set to be lower in real terms in 2011−12 than in 2001−02. (IFS) Libraries spending cut back by15% over the two- year period: 2010−11 and 2011−12

5 Responding to the cuts

6 More specifically...(1)  Co-operatives and mutuals  Councils looking to convert libraries into co-operatives owned by library users and others –Gives control to people; but –May not come with funding, and takes a lot of effort to run –‘Big Society’ volunteer run libraries... Select Committee reported that volunteer- run libraries without adequate support from the local authority is effectively “closing them by stealth”.

7 More specifically...(2)  Privatisation  Library services put out to procurement for private sector interest.  Libraries would be run purely for profit  Shared services  Starting to be looked at in some areas of local government  Not yet seeing the success/savings many speak of...  In-house provision  Preferred option ensuring stability and quality service provision  Though don’t necessarily need the status quo- service improvement very much welcomed

8 New legislation  Localism Act 2011  Community right to challenge  Assets of community value (‘right to bid’)  General power of competence  Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012  Sustainable Communities Act 2007  The Sustainable Communities Regulations 2012

9 Localism Act 2011(1)  Community right to challenge  Allows a community group to express an interest in bidding to run a service  If accepted, the expression of interest simply opens up a full-procurement process  Anyone, including large private organisations, can bid against the community group in the procurement process  The ‘right’ is a Trojan-horse for privatisation  Use of the action by a community group represents a breakdown in the relationship between that group and the council

10 Localism Act 2011(2)  Community right to bid  Can apply for a building to be listed as an ‘asset of community value’ (whether public or privately owned)  If listed, and the owner comes to sell the building, a community group can stall the selling process in order to try and raise sufficient funds to buy the building  However, the owner is under no obligation to sell the building to the community group- even if the group offers the highest bid  And, local authority may need to compensate the private seller for any financial detriment caused by the delayed sale due to the right to bid.

11 Localism Act 2011(3)  General power of competence (GPC)  Previously local authorities could only do what legislation specifically gave them power to do  GPC puts local authorities on same footing as people and companies.  However, there are many things local authorities are expressly prohibited from doing: e.g. Making a profit off services  Power is of some use, but in practice may be of limited effect

12 Public Services (Social Value) Act  Requires public authorities to have regard to  economic  social; and  environmental well-being in connection with public services contracts  Does not change procurement law. It applies up until it would create conflict with EU procurement law, at which point the procurement law takes over  Not as wide in scope as advocates for the law first hoped. Yet to see what impact it will have

13 Sustainable Communities Act  The Sustainable Communities Regulations 2012  The Act allows local groups- via their local authority- to put forward proposals that: –would promote the sustainability of the community; and –requires central government action  The Act forces the government to negotiate (with a view to reaching agreement)  However- local authorities are the gate-keepers, they have to agree to put forward the proposal  Worth looking into as an option for trying to save libraries where the local authority wants to work with you  has more

14 Any good news?

15 Any good news?(2)  Duty of Best Value (it still exists!)  Local Authorities still have to consider the Best Value Duty. This means they should find out whether, for instance, it is better value to deliver a service in-house as opposed to outsourcing  Sustainable communities act- gives you scope to work with your local authority to undo Government actions  General Power of Competence assists local authorities  Growing opposition to privatisation within local authorities  Cornwall Council Leader loses vote of no confidence over privatisation programme  Former Barnet Mayor and senior Conservative councillor calls for his party to end its ‘One Barnet’ privatisation programme

16 Taking action  Difficult challenges ahead- but there are some things worth trying:  Work with your local council and UNISON branch to find ways to improve the library service. We don’t necessarily want to argue for the status quo- we want an improved in-house library service  Try and use the Sustainable Communities Act  Put forward the cases for keeping in-house service. A departure from this is likely to mean library closures in the long term  Campaign to put staff and library users at the heart of the service- keeping out private-for-profit interests  Lobby your local councillors and council to maintain library services

17 For further information please contact: Hannah Bailey, Assistant National Officer

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