The following is a statement from Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council. More on today’s overview and scrutiny committee meeting tonight when we’ve had a chance to type up our lengthy notes! Edit: the notes are available here.
“Following consultations that began in September 2010, the Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies and his Cabinet took a decision to retain and invest further in 12 libraries while seeking community-based means of retaining access to library functions in 14 other areas around the borough.
“The decision taken by Cabinet has been called-in and will be considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee today (18 February 2011).
Further to this, Doncaster Council’s budget for 2011/12 will go to Full Council on Monday 21 February for discussion. The review of the library service will be among the service provisions discussed and the Labour Group wishes to see the budget reduction associated with the current budget plans to be reinstated for 2011/12.
“There is a shared wish between the Mayor and other Members to ensure that, where the withdrawal of library staff occurs, as much care as possible is taken to giving community-based provision a high chance of success.
“The budget proposals that will be considered on Monday contain provisions that:
- The budget required to maintain library provision at the 14 sites across the borough will be re-instated as a 2011/12 reserve for up to a year.
- Any further considerations for the overall review, arising from today’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee call-in of the library service review, will be clarified and agreed with a defined process and timetable for completion.
- The alternative service model for the 14 libraries across the borough will be implemented as and when convincing and appropriate ways forward are agreed with local communities.
- The re-instated budget reserve will be used to maintain the provision in the remaining 14 libraries until an appropriate way forward can be found.”
This is very positive news. It is vital that we now ensure the consultation process is effective and representative, not just taking into account those whose voices are the loudest, but making sure that the needs of everyone in the community are met. It must also be pointed out that the Mayor and his Cabinet still intend to cut funding to 14 libraries – this is something that must be addressed and we need to continue to fight for the council to take responsibility for the statutory provision of libraries.
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