Cabinet report 9 November 2016, executive summary

Alternative Service Delivery of Library and Information Services - Update

Executive summary

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As part of the Council’s Business Plan and Budget setting for 2015 – 2019 Members agreed the following aim:

‘We will have maintained access to Libraries and One Stop Shops across Cornwall through introducing different models of service delivery’. It should be noted that since this was agreed, Cabinet has agreed to rename ‘One Stop Shop’ to ‘Information Service’ and therefore the new name will be used in this report.

As part of this aim, the requirement is to deliver £1.5m per annum direct savings to the service (by primarily reducing staffing costs) with additional property related savings in the region of £0.5m per annum contributing to corporate ‘asset rationalisation’ savings requirement in the Property Services budget. Therefore, total ongoing savings of £2m need to be delivered from this programme.

In order to protect Library Services across Cornwall the Cabinet has agreed that the primary option to progress this programme will be by devolution of the local Library/Information Service to Town/Parish Councils or Community Groups. For locations where devolution cannot be achieved , Cabinet have also agreed to;

  • maintain stand-alone Information Services to act as reception and customer assistance at the Council’s major buildings;
  • implement a reduced staffing and self-service or micro library model and to
  • continue to explore One Public Estate opportunities in relevant areas

Authority to progress the self-service/micro library model has been delegated to the Communities Portfolio Holder and Corporate Director for Communities and Organisational Development. However in line with the recent senior management restructure of the Council, responsibility and delegation now sits with the Corporate Director – Neighbourhoods.

In addition, Cabinet has approved an in principle partnership arrangement with Truro City Council and Trustees of the Technical School (regarding Truro Library and the Library Head Quarter functions. Since reporting to the Cabinet in July 2016, significant effort has continued in order to progress this complex programme.

In terms of the whole programme, whilst challenging, based on current progress and levels of interest in devolution alongside implementing alternative service models for those sites that don’t devolve, associated restructure of the service including review of supplies and services, the programme remains on track to deliver required savings although it should be noted that this will not be the case if the current interest in devolution reduces.

It should also be noted that due to the complexity of the programme (e.g. time taken to conclude legal negotiations between all parties), the time taken to progress has increased against original projections, however the programme team remain confident that whilst only a small number will be completed during 2016/17, all others will be completed during 2017/18. This will present in year budget pressures for 2016/17 and 2017/18 which will need to be treated in line with the Council’s agreed budget protocols. This position has been considered and endorsed by both the Communities Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) and Devolution Board.

At the time of writing this report, a new (non-devolved) model in the Callington Information Service has been implemented and Falmouth Library and Information Service and Penryn Library are in their final stages of handover (devolution). Alongside these, detailed discussions and meetings are also progressing in Camborne, Liskeard, Newquay, St Austell, St Ives, Torpoint and Truro.

The Communities PAC considered and endorsed programme progress and the Truro partnership principles at its meeting on 12 October 2016. The recommendations made by the Communities PAC are detailed in section 4 of this report - see item 13 of the Cabinet agenda

The purpose of this report is to provide the Cabinet with an update regarding programme progress and to seek agreement regarding the Truro Partnership principles with delegated authority given to the Communities Portfolio Holder and Corporate Director for Neighbourhoods to conclude negotiations.