Venue: County Hall Worcester
Contact: Alison Spall/Samantha Morris Overview and Scrutiny Officers
Apologies and Welcome
Apologies had been received from Mr J A D O’Donnell, Prof J W Raine, Mrs M A Rayner and Mr R P Tomlinson.
Declarations of Interest and of any Party Whip
Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by e-mail indicating the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case 5 June 2014). Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/e-mail address below.
Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 May 2019 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Attending for this Item were:
Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member with Responsibility
Hannah Needham, Assistant Director for Communities
Carol Brown, Service Manager – Libraries and Culture
Jennifer Edwards, Senior Project Manager
The Cabinet Member thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to attend the Panel and provide an update following the consultation process and before the Cabinet made decisions about this at its meeting on 11 July 2019. The Peer Review had been welcomed and the Cabinet Paper had incorporated some of the feedback. In addition, thanks were given to Worcester City Council for their financial contribution to the library service.
The Assistant Director reported that any future remodelling would have to be based on the Council’s Corporate Agenda, which was very focussed on services for adults and children and Public Health.
It was clear that libraries should be at the heart of the community and the physical space be more than just about books, with the wider community being able to benefit.
Subject to Cabinet approval, work would start on creating a Library Strategy and likely areas for inclusion were:
o Social value of library service to Council agendas
o Pathways for improved connection with other Council services
o Skilled workforce for now and future
o Commissioners take a Libraries First approach when planning services for local communities
o Hive as ‘launch pad’ and ‘hub’ to attract investment and sponsorship for new service initiatives that cascade county wide
o Service will become ‘commission ready’ (service offer, pricing structure, marketing and comms plan, build network with commissioning services)
o Potential Growth
o Openness to new ways of working.
Officers and the Cabinet Member agreed that the key to the success of the ongoing transformation of Worcestershire’s Library Service was a robust communication strategy which would engage with staff, stakeholders, residents and Councillors to develop it. Regular updates for these groups would also need to be scheduled.
There would be a need to convince residents of the benefits of new service delivery models, such as Open Libraries and Community Managed Libraries and the Council’s web pages would need to be re-designed to highlight the vision and social impact of libraries as well as transactional services.
The Chairman invited questions and the following key points were made:
· The Panel commended the Cabinet Member and Officers and welcomed the positive consultation, peer review and subsequent reports
· Members supported the approach that Libraries should be a Council service supporting the Corporate Agenda ensuring that libraries were embedded into all of the Council’s priorities. In addition, they supported the likely areas for inclusion in the Strategy
· It was clear that what had started as a cost saving exercise had become a whole system re-design for this decade and the future, which was welcomed by Members
· The Panel was pleased to hear that other services, such as commercial opportunities would be explored, ensuring that the Library was a gateway to other services
· Some Panel Members had visited an Open Library in Yate and one reported back on their ... view the full minutes text for item 227.