CLIK has made the news. News Shopper picked up on our fortunate stumbling across an interesting job advert that suggested Kent had already decided what the future holds for public libraries across the county. This job advert has become particularly interesting in light of the recent ruling in Lincolnshire where the council appeared to have decided its plans regardless of the outcome of a consultation (Kent County Council has not yet consulted with the public about library service provision across the county).
“The ad has now been pulled but one councillor told News Shopper he was “not very happy” to hear about it being posted online and he is concerned about job cuts under the proposed restructure.”
The council has admitted that the advert was a “mistake” and that “as soon as this was spotted it was withdrawn immediately”. They go on to add:
“Further work is now being done to look at options and assess the viability of these proposals and how they might be implemented.
“No formal decisions have yet been taken and if the recommendations of this process are for a significant change in how libraries currently work, full public consultation will follow.”
Laughable that they are sticking with “if”. We will not be surprised if this route is confirmed following, of course, an entirely balanced consultation that will in no way lead people to accept the model they clearly desire.
Cllr Mike Hill added:
“No firm decisions would be made until a detailed business case is drawn up.”
Of course not Mike. We fully expect you to plot a democratic path, ensuring the people of Kent have a fair say in the future for libraries and we have full confidence that the dice will not be loaded in favour of the Trust model.
We will reserve judgement until we see the consultation. But we have little doubt about how it will be constructed. With little effective opposition, the Council will undoubtedly press ahead with what it wants regardless. Ahhhh…the sweet smell of Kentish democracy…
Labour Councillor Speaks Out
As a Kent County Council Member for Dartford this information is helpful and worrying also.
Library Services are so integral to the communities they serve and the Democratic Local Authority charged with responsibility to provide them it is essential we get things right . We must make sure genuine and proper consultation takes place especially with the public and communities that depend on the service. We must take account of all views expressed before deciding on any major change in the present service model for our Libraries and that would include Trust`s model`s also .
I do worry that paid employment will be lost in favour of volunteers and this is not a proper way to run a Public Service especially Libraries.