"THE public get more for less," claimed Tim Grier, managing director of John Laing Integrated Services (JLIS), speaking at the recent Conservative Way Forward Local Government conference.
JLIS takes over the running of library services in Ealing, Harrow and Croydon later this year, but Grier focused on how marvellous things are in Hounslow, where JLIS took over in 2008 and "all 11 libraries remain open and for longer hours" while buildings have had "significant refurbishment" thanks to outsourcing.
Hold on. The refurbishment was fully paid for by council taxpayers, with £5m given to JLIS by Hounslow in 2009 to tackle things like leaky roofs and faulty lifts. And it may not have closed a library, but in 2010 JLIS did close Hounslow library service's Skills Suite for teaching people to use computers, with 12 job cuts.
Source: PRIVATE EYE | Library News
Libraries campaigner Ian Anstice points out that, as JLIS's first library service takeover, Hounslow has acted as a loss leader to convince other local authorities to hand over their library services. In both Harrow and Ealing significant job cuts in the library service have already been announced in advance of the September takeover.
Issue No. 1347
23 Aug - 5 Sept 2013
And, as library users in Croydon know, Croydon Council have already cut library opening hours, reduced staffing and stock in Croydon libraries ready for the JLIS takeover.