Lincolnshire County Council reveals library procurement plan

Lincolnshire County Council EMN-150104-103809001
Lincolnshire County Council EMN-150104-103809001

The search is on for an external organisation to deliver library services on behalf of Lincolnshire County Council.

The authority is undertaking a competitive procurement process after an approach by Greenwich Leisure Limited - a not-for-profit organisation interested in running local libraries.

The contract notice for this procurement will be published today, Thursday, April 16.

Lincolnshire County Council officer Tony McGinty said: “Although we potentially face a second legal challenge, we intend to continue working on the procurement of the new-look service.

“The need to make substantial savings within the service remains, and it’s important we do what we can to achieve this.

“And we’re confident that, under our proposals, we can do this in a way that both saves money and creates a library service that is fit for the 21st century.”

Council-operated heritage sites will be included in the contract notice, although no decision has been taken on their future.

Mr McGinty added: “The council is currently considering how best to make the £120 million of annual savings required as a result of reduced funding and rising demand for services.

“That means looking at how all our services are delivered, including those relating to culture and heritage.

“One thing we may want to consider at some point in the future is whether these services could potentially be delivered by someone else on our behalf.

“And by mentioning them in this contract notice we simply leave that door open.

“If we do eventually decide to go down that route, this will avoid unnecessarily duplicating work, enable us to explore with bidders potential alternative ways of delivering these services and give us the flexibility to extend the contract if the proposals have merit.

“However, I must stress that at this stage, no decisions have been taken, and none will be taken until we have consulted with stakeholders.

“Identifying the best approach will require extensive preparatory work, and it is unlikely that a decision on the best way forward for these services will be taken before 2016.”

Campaigner and former headteacher Julie Harrison has issued a statement on the latest activities by the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign group.

She said: “Our position is that we are exploring the possibility of launching further legal action. However we are exploring not only action against the council but also against the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport who seem blind to the effect of cuts by councils crippled by central government cuts.

“DCMS’s decision to accept the complaint by Maurice Nauta but then be minded not to set up an enquiry is a disgrace. We are submitting further evidence and considering our options.”