I attended the meeting of the Scrutiny Committee yesterday.
Alasdair Ross never attended the meeting but still felt he should post some complete waffle on his blog today.
Andrew Grant-Adamson was at the meeting and has written about it here
Obviously lib Dem James Hargrave was there and has written about Library Manager Theo Clarke’s brilliant statement about the fact that “The only thing that was clear about the consultation was that nothing was clear. here
The first thing that chair, Colin Hart, said was that they were not scrutinising the consultation but at one point Library Manager, Theo Clarke got it in
The clear thing about the consultation was that it wasn’t clear. It is not fair what has been done to the council’s employees. The whole thing has been confusing.”
He also made the good suggestion that Ipswich libraries work together in partnership instead of individually.
There was a lot of people talking about the feeling that communities had a gun put to their heads.
The obvious fact that nothing has been clear made a question by Councillor Whybrow to James Hargrave sound ridiculous. “How was the dialogue between you and the council?”
Holywells councillor Liz Harsant was also at the meeting. She stood up and spoke about Ipswich Borough Councillors being made powerless because of the loss of locality budgets and the fact that libraries are the counties responsibility.
Councillor Sandy Martin at one point spoke a lot of nonsense about the Borough being called in to save libraries and claimed that as a Borough Councillor as well as a County Councillor he needed to state an expression of interest. After a while of deliberating such nonsense his final sentence was true. He said that “The problem has been that the county administration has kept changing its mind.”
I also asked a question asking the County Administration to make a decision on what its position on Libraries is, make a clear statement about what it is and keep its position instead of changing it all the time. Eventually we got a clear statement about what the position is.
Portfolio holder Councillor Judy Terry said that the consultation has shown that libraries are important to the community.
They plan to have an overarching Community Interest Company which would be a social enterprise for tax advantages.
The framework would be designed to support communities wishing to make bids as well as those who have put in bids already. The social enterprise will be given a budget and the county council will retain its statutory responsibility.