Gloucestershire county council have recently released their latest "exciting"* plans for the library service. I say released, re-released is actually a better phrase since they are almost identical to the plans they put out last time. While this has been going on they have been making very savage cuts to the bookstock spend which is now minuscele compared to the other shire authorities.Not only are they cutting libraries that will close unless volunteers come forward as they have in Oxon, they are actively encouraging their library uses to hop across to the libraries in surrounding counties instead of using their own. The first hint they were doing this was when they released a map showing what was happening to their libraries and I noticed our library was it:
They drew a five mile circle around the libraries of all in neighbouring counties. So according to GCC 30% of the library service from Wychwood and Burford covers the residents of Gloucestershire. But wait, we are being cut too! Burford and Wychwood are having the staffing cut by 50% and the volunteers are going to have to cover this and lots of the other duties of the paid staff. We are also no longer statutory so presumably the 1964 act which states provide a service to those who live, work and study doesn't apply.
I am in no way saying that if OCC do force us to volunteer to cover the staffing cuts we would ever turn people away because they were not from Oxfordshire. But personally, if I have to volunteer for something I have already paid for, and I also have to provide for free to another authority then the other authority has to contribute to our library, I will be billing them for my time.
I have FOI'ed the cipfa and the management and support structure data for Glos. I am going to go through and see how much duplication there is in the back office. The 313k savings (only really about 170k, see previous posts) could be made by sharing two or three of the back office staff with Glos. Glos have around 900k to save (I think) and I'm sure that just sharing a building and with us and ditching the Holton head office would easily make that saving.
Both these authorities are tory, they doubtless all know each other from the endless, expensive jaunts to London pointless LGA** meetings. What are they playing at?
Here is the links:
GCC consultation which has the full map and lots of really useless data:
The article on the officer telling a Glos group to use libraries in other counties:
p.s GCC seems to be experts in Orwellian/Humphrey Appleby double speak. They are even worse than OCC!
*Exciting is political double speak for crap
**LGA-Local government association, a lobbying group that taxpayers pay for so councils can lobby parliament. One part of government lobbies another with taxpayers money. They spent 27 million on consultants in 2010: