Libraries takeover moves a step closer
August 01, 2011
Discussions are likely to begin later this month between Wokingham Borough Council and private companies interested in taking over the running of Wokingham’s libraries.
At a meeting of the full council on Thursday, July 21, Councillor UllaKarin Clark, executive member for internal services, told members a dialogue process was likely to begin with shortlisted companies in August.
The chosen organisation will take over the day-to-day running of the borough’s 10 libraries in a bid to save the council £170,000 a year.
Speaking at the meeting of the full council Cllr Clark said: “Hopefully we will have three to six organisations by early August. We will then begin a more detailed discussion known as competitive dialogue. That means we will tell the shortlisted parties and we will ask them how they suggest we improve our library services.”
Cllr Clark said a business case will be provided by the companies and then the final decision of whether to proceed with the tender will be made by the council’s executive committee.
If approved Wokingham would be one of the first local authorities in the country to outsource its library service to a private organisation and a new company could be in place by May next year.
The council has said it will not be closing any libraries through the plans and the leader of the council, Councillor David Lee, reiterated the message to members at the full council meeting.