Doncaster Library Review


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Doncaster Library Review

  1. 1. Agenda Item No: 3 4th February, 2011To the Mayor and Members of the CabinetLIBRARY SERVICE REVIEWRelevant Cabinet Wards Affected Key DecisionMember(s)Cynthia Ransome All K0939 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY1. An initial high level review of the library service and recommended next steps wasconsidered and agreed to be progressed by the Council’s Executive Board on 4 thAugust 2010. This report presents the resulting proposed Libraries and InformationStrategy for 2011-2015, future service delivery model and staffing structure. The mainoutcomes are:  A vision and strategy in the context of Doncaster’s priorities;  A future service delivery model that responds to the need for a modern library service and the current financial pressures faced by the Council; and  A revised staffing structure to deliver the proposals.The key implications are that the current 26 libraries will reduce to 12 core librariesprovided by the Council. The 12 core libraries that are proposed to remain have beenidentified based on usage, condition of the building, a fair geographical spread acrossthe borough and the funds available. These are Armthorpe, Askern, Tickhill, Bentley,Doncaster Town Centre, Edlington, Hatfield, Mexborough, Thorne, Woodlands, Cantleyand Conisbrough.To ensure the needs of all current users and communities are met, a furtherconsultation exercise will now be undertaken to gauge the view of what alternatives therelevant communities where it is proposed that a core library will no longer exist wouldwish to have in their community. These are Carcroft, Stainforth, Edenthorpe, Moorends,Scawthorpe, Wheatley, Warmsworth, Sprotbrough, Bessacarr, Denaby, Rossington,Bawtry, Balby and Intake. The alternatives that will be considered and pursued are asfollows:  Community-run libraries where volunteers from the community staff the service with professional guidance and stock provided by the Council;  Community-supported libraries run by the Council but financially supported by the community;  Self-service un-staffed facilities in other Council, wider public sector or private buildings for the issue and deposit of books etc;  Increased mobile and home delivery provision in key areas ensuring vulnerable people still have access;  Postal service via the new library virtual service being introduced later this month accessible from anywhere with internet facilities; or  Any other solution identified by communities.
  2. 2. Corresponding work is also being completed which will mean most core libraries will also incorporate an Opportunity Centre and other services. This will mean there is a permanent facility within these communities for residents to gain access to a programme of assistance to improve work, skills and enterprise opportunities and a range of other services. EXEMPT REPORT 2. N/A RECOMMENDATIONS 3. The Cabinet are asked to approve the attached Libraries and Information Strategy for 2011-15, the proposed future service delivery model enabled by working with communities and note the staffing structure. BACKGROUND4. The Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 made it the duty of local authorities to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. The quality of that service was not defined until Public Library Standards were introduced in 2001, revised in 2004 and 2006, discontinued in 2008 and replaced by NI9 – the percentage of local residents who have used a public library service. NI9 was measured by Sport England’s Active People Survey so was a sample rather than a measurement of actual usage and the scores so far for Doncaster have been 43% in 2008, dropping to 36.6% in 2009. Although there has recently been encouraging news of a statistical increase, it is still well below what it should be and whilst there is a national decline in the use of libraries, Doncaster’s usage figures seem to have dropped more than others (in particular this is thought to relate to less footfall in Waterdale impacting on the Doncaster town centre library). In September 2009, the results of a national inquiry into the governance and leadership of public libraries set out the following recommendations based on responses from a wide variety of stakeholders:  Government funding and functional responsibility for public libraries should be brought together within a single government department;  Local authorities should continue to be responsible and carry accountability for the provision of public library services in their area;  The application of the Public Libraries Act 1964 should be clarified by a clear definition of the minimum level of service to be expected by customers; and  A Library Development Agency for England should be established. This document to some degree pre-empted a DCMS review of library services. The consultation document ‘Empower, Inform, Enrich’ was published in December 2009, inviting the views of a wide range of people, including local authority leaders, chief executives, people working in the Library Service, public and private partners, business interests as well as library users. The review identified the following challenges that face libraries as they enter the second decade of the new millennium:  How can the library service demonstrate to citizens, commentators and politicians that it is still relevant and vital?  How can we reverse the current trend of decline in library usage and grow the numbers using their local library?  How can all libraries respond to a 24/7 culture and respond to changing expectations of people who want immediate access to information?
  3. 3.  How can all libraries grasp the opportunities presented by digitisation?  How can the library service cope with limited public resource and economic pressures? During this time, we also had a change of government and the new Minister for Culture announced on 1st July 2010 the Conservative vision for the future of libraries which involves libraries having a home at the heart of the ’big society’ where communities have more of a role in determining the shape of the public service, what it delivers and actual delivery. Due to all this activity around libraries and the identified need for a great improvement of the service, a high level review was commissioned with a resulting improvement plan and recommended next steps considered by the Council’s Executive Board on 4th August 2010. This resulted in an extensive public consultation exercise to gauge the view of our communities to be used with the recommendations already made to develop a resulting strategy, service delivery model and staffing structure. The outcome is included in the appendices of this report. The Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) have provided assistance and guidance in this process. OPTIONS CONSIDERED5. Option 1 – Do nothing and stay as we are. This is not the recommended option. Despite recent improvements, the service must modernise further if it is not to fall into further decline. The Council also cannot afford to run the service in its present form. Option 2 – Implement the proposed Libraries and Information Strategy for 2011-2015 (Appendix 1), future service delivery model (appendix 2) and proposed staffing structure (appendix 3) with 12 core libraries remaining at Armthorpe, Askern, Tickhill, Bentley, Doncaster Town Centre, Edlington, Hatfield, Mexborough, Thorne, Woodlands, Cantley and Conisbrough with an alternative service delivery model for Stainforth, Sprotbrough, Scawthorpe, Wheatley, Denaby, Rossington, Edenthorpe, Carcroft, Moorends, Warmsworth, Bawtry, Bessacarr, Balby and Intake. This is the recommended option. REASONS FOR RECOMMENDED OPTION6. The Library services in Doncaster have already been subject to interest from government bodies due to low performance including the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and there is pressure to demonstrate significant improvement. The residents of Doncaster have also told us that they want later evening and Saturday openings; more activities aimed at young people, families and the disadvantaged; less but higher quality libraries in better locations; kept in better condition and with improved parking. Doncaster libraries cannot afford to deliver these aspirations whilst running the present out-dated service and whilst contributing to council savings necessitated by Government spending cuts (£73m over the next 4 years).
  4. 4. IMPACT ON THE COUNCIL’S KEY OBJECTIVES 7. Doncaster Priorities Implications of this initiative A Prosperous Place Increased skills and literacy activities and partnership working will contribute to the economy of the borough increasing employability. Skills & Lifelong Learning Libraries provide a safe place in the community to learn new skills and access learning and information. Improved facilities will increase take- up therefore contributing to educational attainment and the economy. Healthy & Caring Libraries are a safe place in the community for vulnerable people increasing social inclusion and interaction with others. Better facilities will make the libraries a more inviting place to be whilst still remaining a non-threatening environment. Safer, Cleaner & Greener Many services are delivered via our libraries to assist in this agenda however this initiative should increase the take-up of access to these services. Libraries also play a part in reducing anti-social behaviour and better facilities and increased activities will further contribute. Equality of Opportunity Libraries will be available to all individuals with (Cross-Cutting) individual needs met wherever possible. Improving Neighbourhoods Many services are delivered via our libraries Together (Cross-cutting) based in our neighbourhoods as well as community engagement and neighbourhood activities. These will increase with improved facilities and better trained staff. Protecting The Services can be delivered via our libraries to Environment (Cross- assist in this agenda. The improved facilities and cutting) therefore take up will provide an increased audience for this agenda. Achieving Excellence This plan will ensure our libraries achieve excellence wherever possible. RISKS AND ASSUMPTIONS 8. The risks are higher if we do nothing, however if option 2 is agreed, the following risks have been identified:  An immediate impact on service delivery due to the reaction of staff to the replacement of some library buildings with an alternative;  Potential strong reactions from our communities who will require reassurance from the Mayor, Elected Members, MPs etc that the new model will deliver what they need; and  Media interest both locally and wider as part of the national picture.
  5. 5. CONSULTATION 9. Elected members, staff and Unison were all consulted in the development of the Libraries Improvement Plan. The corresponding public consultation exercise ran from 20th September to 15th October 2010 and included many stakeholders. A Libraries Members Seminar was held 7th October 2010 to discuss the consultation and some of the outcomes and all Doncaster MPs were made aware of the review and consultation and invited to comment, as were Unison. The public consultation provided almost 3000 responses. These came from library users and non-users, from different age groups and diverse sections of the community. The outcome is detailed in the appendices of the strategy, however in summary people told us that they want later evening and Saturday opening; to be better informed of services on offer; there was demand for a bigger, more varied programme of activities primarily aimed at young people, families and the disadvantaged; talks by authors; fewer, higher quality libraries in better locations; libraries kept in better condition and with better parking. A further members seminar was held 6th January 2011 followed by extensive discussions with the Mayor and elected members. The Museum, Libraries and Archives Council were consulted throughout the process. HR IMPLICATIONS10. The proposals contained within this report will have implications for staff employed within the Library Service. Previous experience of effecting major changes within the Library Service led to threats of industrial action and the submission of a formal dispute by Unison. Changes to staffing structures will require appropriate, thorough and timely consultation to take place with affected staff and relevant trade unions as well as consideration of all other relevant policies and procedures. New or amended job descriptions will require evaluation to ensure appropriate grades. Human Resources must be notified of any changes to staffing structures. LEGAL IMPLICATIONS 11. Changing the staffing structure of the Library Service is likely to result in redundancies. The Authority has an Employee Reduction Policy which follows the statutory requirements. Making employees redundant requires an Employer to consult, consider suitable alternatives and make a redundancy Payment. The Authority has a redundancy pay policy which details the payment each redundant employee is entitled to receive. Unless the consultation undertaken meets the relevant statutory requirements an Equalities Impact assessment should be carried out in accordance with the relevant legislation to determine the impact of any proposed reduction in service.
  6. 6. FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS12. Employees - Proposed Structure: F SCA SCA LE LE MINI MAXI MUM MUM 2011/12 Base Budget 1 £3,25 £3,25 8,130 8,130 2011/12 Proposed Structure 8 £1,98 £2,20 Budget 0,830 7,590 Saving £1,27 £1,05 7,300 0,540There are currently 15 FTE vacant posts and the number of existing poststhat are to be reduced through the voluntary redundancy/early retirementprocess is 21 FTE, therefore 17.75 FTE posts could face compulsoryredundancy if existing staff cannot be redeployed elsewhere.Premises - Sites Facing Closure: 2011/1 2 BASE BUDG ET Non-Domestic Rates £73,23 Budget 0 All Other Premises Budgets £87,95 0 Total £161,1 80There is only a 3 month Non-Domestic Rates exemption for emptyproperties and so it is prudent to assume that this budget will be required inthe short-term. Also building security costs for empty properties can besignificant - boarding up is in the region of £1 - £2k per site with on sitesecurity costing up to £1,700 per week. Again, it is prudent to assume thefull premises budget is required until disposal.The purchase and installation of self service machines will be met fromexisting resources - WNF as a funding source is being investigated. On-going maintenance is to be funded from within the existing Library ServiceIT budget.The proposed extended opening hours to include additional evenings andweekends have been included in the above proposed staffing structure.Building costs, such as utilities, may increase due to longer opening hours,but it is expected that this will be minimal.The book stock and building maintenance budgets are set to remain
  7. 7. unchanged, and therefore by being allocated over fewer libraries will enablethe lending material, decor and fittings to be enhanced in the remainingsites, from within the existing budget.The Service Offer for 2011/12 – 2014/15 put forward for the Library Servicehas identified savings of £1,173,490 to be achieved over 2011/12 and2012/13. Plus an on-going service pressure of £121k makes a savingsrequirement of £1,294,490 to be found from the proposed structure.
  8. 8. Scale Scale Minimum Maximu m Employees saving £1,277,3 £1,050,5 00 40 Premises saving £161,18 £161,18 0 0 Library IT saving £20,000 £20,000 Total saving £1,458,4 £1,231,7 80 20 Savings requirement £1,294,4 £1,294,4 needed 90 90 £- £62,770 163,990 The premises saving can only be included in the above calculation providing closed sites are disposed of prior to the start of 2012/13. There is a risk that this will not be the case. In addition to this, disposed sites may require extensive IT work to relocate network hubs at a cost of approximately £90k with additional annual lease costs of £172k. Further work can be undertaken when closure decisions are taken - careful monitoring of the strategy is required against the Service Offer savings so early action can be considered should there be a shortfall.REPORT AUTHOR:Julie Grant, Assistant Director of Customer Strategy & DevelopmentTel 01302 862496Email: Peter Dale Director of Regeneration and Environment