The Council’s Library strategy is a mirage – an illusion! An unreachable position; but one that is still affecting the lives of dozens of library staff still left dangling in limbo.
Thus far, just 3 libraries have been transferred to Direct Help and Advice (DHA) – Sinfin, Spondon and Allestree. The last one being on July 30 2018. A period of pause was then called by the Conservative Cabinet member, Cllr Grimadell. It was an opportunity to review progress, re-plan, and properly resource the project. The expectation that this was to take a few months was flawed and it transpired that it took just over 4 months – the full results of the revised position were revealed in the Cabinet report on 12 December 2018.
The conclusions were that:
- the original plan to transfer all 10 libraries by December 2018 ( 9 months) was unworkable
- the plan was under-resourced
and therefore that the published savings were unachievable.
To address this:
- The remaining 7 libraries to be transferred from February 2019 to February 2020
- An additional £400,000 would be allocated to help with the implementation
- Savings would be delayed by 12 months.
February 2019 is over – the first of the 7 libraries has not been transferred.
After 4 months of reviewing the plan, and then a 3 month notice period of the start of the “new, improved” strategy – and it still fails. One would have expected that, at least the plan, for the February 2019 implementation would have been “set in concrete”.
The Council seems to insist on re-asserting that the original savings will be achieved (£630k) and conveniently ignore that a further £400,000 has been allocated to be spent on making this happen. The argument will, no doubt be, that this is from a “different budget”.
This project is being driven by Derby City Council, not by DHA ( who are the recipients of the transfers). The new Conservative administration now own the plan following the review.
The Council’s original plan in late 2017 was unconvincing – that was confirmed within a few months. There was a vain hope that Council Officers would have done their planning thoroughly and that, surely, they would not have made the same mistake twice- it would seem that they have!
And let’s not forget the patient, paid, Derby City Council staff who are still awaiting some indication of how their future will unfold!