Croydon and Wandsworth Councils considering new way of managing libraries
7:40am Tuesday 13th September 2011 in Where I Live
A new way of safeguarding libraries in Croydon and Wandsworth is being considered with the aim of protecting branches and improving services to residents.
Croydon Council is looking to work in partnership with Wandsworth Council to carry out a tendering process to find an external organisation to run libraries in both boroughs.
At the end of the process, each borough would be able to individually decide who they would award the contract to.
The proposals will be discussed at the council's cabinet meeting on September 19.
The move comes after 20,000 residents responded to proposals to potentially close six libraries in order to save money following government funding reductions.
Acting on the results of the consultation, the cabinet agreed it would not take the proposals any further in light of such strong community reaction.
A market testing exercise was conducted instead, to see if there were external organisations such as private companies, trust, community organisations and other local authorities that could viably bid to run the service.
A range of parties registered their interest prompting the council to consider tendering for the service to be run externally.
By working jointly with Wandsworth, the council hope to share the costs, knowledge and benefit from the potential economies of scale, particularly if one company is appointed to run both boroughs' service.
Councillor Sara Bashford, cabinet member for customer services, culture and sport said: "Throughout this process, we have always prioritised listening to residents wishes.
"When people said they didn't want to see libraries close, we listened and opted to see who else could help run the service."