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Saturday, 25 May 2013

Questions posed on #Croydon libraries decision

The following correspondence from Sean Creighton, a resident from Norbury, has been emailed to all Croydon councillors.  It is reproduced here with his permission. Sean raises a number of issues.

Dear Councillor,
I have read the report on the outcome of the re-tendering of the Library Services and Cllr Pollard’s recommendation that the bid from Laing be accepted. 
Those of you who were at the Overview Committee in December may recall that I was given permission to speak to the Committee.
I have a number of questions which seem to me to justify a further meeting of the Oversight Committee to review the report and recommendation. 
1.   Why are the  overall sums of both bids not included – these cannot be regarded as commercially confidential?
2.   Given the Overview Committee decision on 5 December ‘That future commissioning reports should contain as much information in Part A of the agenda as possible in order to allow Members and the public to know whether the commissioning exercise meets the Council’s commissioning strategy’, why has this not be complied with in the report?
3.   Why is there no discussion on the implications of the Social Value Act on assessing the bids which is now in force and which the Council has a policy on?
4.   Why is there no discussion on the outcome of the pensions issue which caused the re-tendering?
5.   Have the union reps. been consulted on the TUPE process under the terms of the revised bid and on the implications for pensions?
6.   Why is there an option to extend the contract for 8 years beyond the initial 8 years?
7.   Is quarterly monitoring sufficient especially in the first year? Would it not be better to monitor monthly and then review frequency after the first 12 months?
8.   How much did the firm of Sharpe Pritchard cost to advise on the procurement process?
9.   How much has the total procurement process cost to-date?
10.  Should an apology be made to staff re-the use of the word ‘stuff’ in describing them? Obviously a typo but one that suggests a degree of contempt?
11.   Given the opposition of local people to outsourcing the Library Service, given the contract start date is thought to be October, and  given the local elections will be in May next year, what is the justification to proceed to outsource, when both political parties can set out their proposals in their manifestos and ask the voters to choose between the two set of proposals?
If you do decide to convene the Overview Committee in order to explore these and other questions, it would be helpful publicly if both bidders were invited to do short presentations and be questioned by Committee members in open session, and that they be asked before hand to agree to lift ‘commercial confidentiality’. The Library Service will need to be run in an open and transparent manner otherwise there will be continuing suspicion about how the service is being run. Therefore for example the monitoring reports should be seen by a Committee on public agendas. 
JLIS’s views (January 21012) on running libraries to the House of Commons Committee looking at Library closures can be seen on
Yours sincerely,
Sean Creighton 
Norbury resident

What are your thought on the matter? Please feel free to leave your comments. 

And please spread the word! 

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