After months of silence, it appears that a 12 week “public consultation” will be taking place starting next Monday (12th January). Of course, we fully expect this to be a fair consultation with absolutely no loaded questions and no attempt whatsoever to force people into accepting the council’s preferred option of charitable status. We have full confidence that the council will in no way suggest it is charitable status or closures or volunteers and expect that the council will also offer at the very least to maintain public libraries at their current level of funding. After all, as the report points out, Mike Hill has said that no firm decision has yet been taken.
Obviously, we must forget the fact that a job advert went up in June last year asking for candidates who can “ensure the implementation and delivery of a trust model for Kent Libraries, Registration and Archives” because, of course, that is simply a figment of our imaginations and will have no bearing whatsoever on the entirely fair process that Kent County Council is about to embark on.
We have full confidence that, unlike Lincolnshire County Council, the consultation will be entirely above board because, unlike Lincolnshire, Kent clearly haven’t already made their decision before launching the consultation. Apart from the fact an advert went out seeking to recruit someone to ensure a particular course of action. Apart from that, we see no reason to suggest that Kent have already made their decision with regards to libraries across the county or that this public consultation isn’t a complete sham. Absolutely not. Not a chance in hell.
Let’s see what the consultation document looks like next week. We won’t be holding our breaths.