Presentation on theme: "The Future of Libraries Speak Up For Libraries conference Saturday 10 th November 2012."— Presentation transcript:
The Future of Libraries Speak Up For Libraries conference Saturday 10 th November 2012
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
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
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
Responding to the cuts
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”.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 infowww.localworks.org
Any good news?
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
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
For further information please contact: Hannah Bailey, Assistant National Officer