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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

JLIS, now Carillion. What next?

The saga of Croydon Libraries continues...

The background

Croydon outsource libraries, without consulting properly and ignoring the responses of those consulted.

The service in libraries was cut to the bone, before outsourcing, through a major reduction of experience library staff and librarians, major book cull, reduced promotion of events, limited access to working PCs and a system for loans, returns and reservations that has seen library users unable to get access to the books they want or left with heavy fines for books returned but not processed on the system.

The procurement process faltered. The companies applying were all asked to re-tender, adding to the delay and the expense. As predicted, JLIS won the contract, though quite how this win was achieved when Wandsworth chose GLL to run their libraries in this joint procurement process.
Private Eye, 10th January, 2013

The future?

Despite JLIS fighting hard to win the contract, just three weeks in, it came to light that Carillion have taken control of Croydon Libraries, outlined here.

Staff were unaware,
"...members of staff at the libraries were not informed of the sale and only realised a change had taken place after they noticed their emails had changed..." 
John Laing no longer sees libraries as core business,
"Adrian Ewer, chief executive of John Laing, said running libraries no longer fitted the company’s core strategy."
And Carillion, who have no history of running library services, are trying to get to grips with what it means to run a library service.
 "A spokesman from Carillion said they are undertaking an operational review to gain an understanding of the library service and it will ensure all staff are kept fully informed of any future developments." 
In the meantime, Croydon residents and the staff in Croydon libraries are left with the shambles.

Private Eye, Issue 1352, 1-12 Nov. 2013
What next?