Time is running out to have your say in the library consultation…

A reminder that the library consultation closes on the 8th April at 17:00. Make sure you have your say. I strongly advise reading this article before you complete the survey if you haven’t already done so and are unsure what to put in your answers. You can find my responses below:

Having read Kent County Council’s mission for the future of its Libraries, Registration and Archives, which of the following statements best describes your thoughts?

Strongly Disagree

If there are any other services you would like to suggest or anything you would like to see Libraries, Registration and Archive deliver that it doesn’t at present please tell us here:

Supporting citizens in the use of government services more extensively, particularly through teaching citizens how to conduct freedom of information requests as well as how they can use the internet safely and securely. Better support of housebound users, particularly providing support in the access of ebooks and other online services.

Having read Kent County Council’s proposal to establish a charitable trust, which of the following statements best describes your thoughts?

Strongly Disagree

Please let us know the reasons for your choice in the box below:

A charitable trust will make the library service less accountable to the people who use the service (ie the people who “own” libraries through taxation) – such a move will have potential implications with respect to the Freedom of Information Act. It’s not financially sustainable as a model as has been demonstrated in Glasgow where a Trust has had difficulties paying the bills. Because of its limitations, it may result in poorly paid staff, resulting in demotivated and demoralised staff, as well as potential redundancies. A move to a trust model will likely lead to a serious weakening of employee terms and conditions, as UNISON have previously pointed out. Furthermore, such a move could result in the service costing more money as it may well lead to a loss in any economies of scale gained by being part of larger council.

Which of the following statements best describes the impact you feel the proposed charitable trust model will have on you/your organisation:

The proposed changes will have a significant impact on me/my organisation

If you feel that the proposed changes to the Library, Registration and Archive service will have some or a significant impact on you/ your organisation, whether positive or negative, or you have any other comments you wish to make, please provide details below:

It will result in a poorer service, affecting my children and the community due to the reasons given above. I want a service that I can hold to account. The proposals mean I cannot effectively hold the service to account and it will result in a more inefficient service for me, my family and the local community. 

If you have any alternative ideas of how we should deliver the Library, Registration and Archive service please tell us here:

It should be retained by the council to ensure the most efficient, cost-effective and transparent library service possible. Furthermore, cuts to library services will put greater pressure on other social services as a vital service to assist the most vulnerable is depleted. The council has a responsibility to ensure support for the most vulnerable and the best way of achieving this is partly through a publicly run library service.

We have completed an Equality Impact Assessment and we welcome your views on the assumptions we have made. To view the document, go to kent.gov.uk/lraconsultation. Please write your comments here:

A move to a Trust model, with the concerns highlighted above, will obviously hurt the most vulnerable which will therefore ensure the council does not meet its requirements under Equalities legislation.