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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Croydon spends £40K on library consultant

The Croydon Advertiser has covered the news that £40K is being spent on a consultant to oversee the outsourcing of all Croydon libraries. You can read the full article here. 

We encourage you to read the comments, including those of the campaign group:
“Anyone who wants more details can follow @SaveCroydonLibs @SaveSanderstead on twitter, the blog and website 
We need to ask ourselves why is Croydon Council so shy to share any details of their plans. The council only consulted on six libraries, ignored the "do nothing" option and admit it was mainly the users of only those libraries who responded. They have denied residents the breakdown on 412 responses they say informed their decision and are outsourcing the whole network without consulting users of the other libraries. 
There is also the plight of Upper Norwood Library @SaveUNlibrary and the announcement that New Addington Library will close and move to a yet unknown part of the cramped accommodation within the CALAT centre.”
and the detailed response by Cllr Timothy Godfrey:
“Basically Croydon Conservatives have lost control of the budget. The Library budget is approx £8million a year. They run 12 libraries and one central library for this. Upper Norwood Library, run jointly with Lambeth costs £400,000 a year (it is far larger than a branch library) with £200,000 being contributed by Croydon. 
Given how popular all the Croydon libraries are, with residents keen to get involved and support their local library, this is a golden opportunity to devolve the running of the libraries to local library panels. Keep the staff on Croydon payroll. Devolve the library budget, just like the government did over 15 years ago to schools (LMS) and you could end up with big savings and involve the community in setting priorities, and help to grow library use. 
Based on the costs of the much larger Upper Norwood Library, a budget saving of at least £1.8million could be made. Here is the maths:
Croydon branch libraries 12 x £400,000 = £4.8millionCroydon Central Library and home book service = £1.2millionUpper Norwood Library Contribution = £200,000Total budget requirement = £6.2millionBudget surplus: £1.8million
Instead of spending £40,000 on an expensive consultant, the Council should work with the local community to release a new era in community run libraries.  
I have set these plans out at full council and have written about this on my blog ( You can read the post in full here I have also has an article published on this on the website of the national Co-operative party (
The Tory Council ignore these positive suggestions because they are only interested in selling our libraries off in one contract and not working with local Croydon communities."
The comments left clearly demonstrate that local residents view the council's plan as ludicrous.

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