Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley and member of the shadow cabinet, sent us this letter:
This is a very disappointing response. Although we appreciate Caroline’s signature on the petition, the threat to Doncaster Library Services extends far beyond the closure of one building. We are campaigning for a comprehensive and efficient service, which we believe Doncaster Council are already failing to provide. The apparent acceptance of sever cuts to an already struggling library service is unacceptable, and we are not convinced that Caroline understands the breadth and value of the “key service” she acknowledges.
Furthermore, the consultancy report which the council claim to be taking into account for their review of library services (due to be published on 11th January 2011) categorically states the following:
A study of alternative governance models such as cultural trusts and commissioning was undertaken to identify the potential for these options for Doncaster’s Libraries.
Key findings reveal that choosing alternative governance models depend on a fit and functioning service that can be transferred as a real asset.
At the current time, the library services are not fit to become part of a trust model. Trusts are not a solution to problems but a way to grow and develop services, and there are major improvement issues that would stop any group of trustees from sensibly taking on the libraries until these are resolved.
It is therefore extremely disconcerting to discover that Caroline Flint has been actively encouraging the possibility of alternative governance.