Ramsbottom Libraries and Civic Halls Go To Cabinet
|Published: 22nd November 2012 17:56|
Proposals which will affect the future of the borough's libraries and civic halls will be discussed by the council's cabinet on 28 November.
They have been drawn up under the council's Plan for Change which looks at how the council can continue to ensure services can be delivered in a changing world, while recognising the need to make unprecedented budget cuts.
The cabinet will be asked to approve a two-phase restructure of the library service, following a consultation process which attracted nearly 4,000 responses.
Under Phase 1, none of Bury's libraries will be closed under this proposal, which primarily affects Bury central library. The current opening hours at Bury Library will be maintained; the council information point will be retained, as will the computer room with public internet access. The proposals include developing the purchase and availability of eBooks, and introducing self-service for customers to check their books in and out.
The proposals would save £240,000 in 2013-14, and put at risk 5.8 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) posts at Bury Library, plus a further 3.4 FTE posts across the service. Of those, 2 would be covered by not filling vacant posts, and 1.4 by accepting existing applications for voluntary early retirement.
The second phase will follow next March, with a further consultation on a redesigned service to meet identified needs.
Councillor Jane Lewis, cabinet member for leisure, tourism and culture, said: "We are striving, in a time of huge government cuts to council finances which are outwith our control, to protect essential front-line services. We also need to make sure that the services we provide will meet the needs of today and tomorrow, building on new technology and the services which are most valued. Around 4,000 people responded to our consultation exercise concerning libraries, and their views were very much taken into account in drafting these proposals."
The cabinet will also consider ways to give the borough's civic halls a brighter future.
An independent review of the halls has been carried out by Price Waterhouse Coopers, looking at all aspects of how the four halls are run and how their financial subsidies can be addressed.
Cabinet will be asked to approve an action plan, which will look at:
Removing charges for using outside caterers
Providing in-house catering at the Elizabethan Suite only
Better marketing and promotion
Venue management and co-location of services
Creating a civic management group
Councillor Lewis said: "Closure of any hall is not an option at this stage - we want to give the halls every chance to succeed. We hope this action plan will help to turn their finances around and encourage many more people to use these venues, which is essential if they are to thrive and serve the community."
The cabinet meets on Wednesday 28 November at St Bernadette's Church Hall in Whitefield, starting at 6pm. The agenda can be read at