Libraries

Morally dubious! Charity recruits paid staff for Chellaston library from Council money whilst existing staff are made redundant.


From the Save Our Services demonstration in Oct 2017 against the transfer of libraries to DHA and the widespread use of volunteers.

As the ex-Chellaston Library staff sit and wait for their P45’s to mark the end of their employment with Derby City Council,  they read Cllr Ross McCristal’s  ( Chellaston Ward) Facebook announcement with disbelief.

Cllr McCristal’s post confirmed that the Council had transferred funding to Direct Help and Advice (DHA – charity now running the library) to fund the recruitment of paid staff to support increased opening hours including Saturday mornings.

Jobs that were previously declared as redundant.

He went on to explain where the money came from…

“After several meetings over recent months and many conversations, DHA recently submitted a proposal to Derby City Council to use the S106 money ring fenced for the library to recruit a paid member of staff for Saturday opening.”

The money was not ring-fenced to recruit staff.

S106 money?

S106 money is a method whereby housing developers finance infrastructure improvements that directly result from a proposed development; it is part of the process of securing planning permission. This money should be for capital projects i.e. new buildings, roads etc. This is specified in Derby City Council’s “Planning Obligations; Supplementary Planning Document. Adopted August 2018”

Through the use of planning obligations, the Council will ensure that new development will be supported by necessary and appropriate infrastructure, which meets the tests set by Regulation 122 of the Community  Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulations 2010 (as amended)

…The obligation must be directly related to the proposed development

Financially the Council recognises these payments as Advanced Capital Receipts i.e. money that can be spent on Capital projects ( once only), not revenue (every year).

The S106 agreement, for this development, provided £14835 to “improve the library facilities”, not to recruit staff. Whilst DHA run the library they don’t own the building. It is still the responsibility of Derby City Council to develop the infrastructure.

McCristal finishes his post:

“DHA will soon be in a position to recruit a member of staff dedicated to our library and soon we will once again have our library opened on Saturday’s.”

Comment

Cllr McCristal omitted to point out that this approach is not a sustainable solution and would be time-limited.

Contrary to the S106 rues, the need for the library to open for longer periods does not result from the housing development; it simply plugs a gap in the Council’s flawed library strategy.

So, as paid staff are being made redundant following several years of uncertainty, to make way for a volunteer-based model, it transpires that it is in fact necessary to pay staff to open the library….salaries paid for, from Derby City Council funds, ring-fenced for infrastructure improvements.

It may be a solution, of sorts – whether it’s legal is for the Unions to challenge. Morally it is very dubious.

….and just before the election in, what is now, a marginal seat.

 

 

Categories: Libraries

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