How Croydon Council tries to hide a consultation (Part 94)

Today is D-Day as far as the future of Croydon’s libraries is concerned, with a public meeting at the Town Hall from 6.30pm.

It represents the latest example of how a “consultation” works in dystopian Croydon in 2011.

Step 1: Spend a couple of months getting the views of thousands of local residents after asking them about the closure of six local branch libraries.

Step 2: During the “consultation” process, repeatedly lie to the public about the council’s  statutory duty for the provision of a library service.

Step 3: After the deadline on the consultation, keep the outcome of the public response secret while you try to cobble together another policy.

Step 4: Issue a report, but somehow fail to publish it widely, and come up with an entirely different policy – the privatisation of all 13 libraries – on which no one has ever been consulted.

For Inside Croydon‘s background coverage on the libraries saga, click here.

For the council’s long-delayed libraries report (and much easier to locate than on the council’s website) click here.

To read the Sanderstead Library Campaign’s assessment, click here

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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2 Responses to How Croydon Council tries to hide a consultation (Part 94)

  1. ndavies144 says:

    Most people think that ‘to consult’ takes the preposition ‘with. It doesn’t. It takes ‘to’. You get it right as an organisation if you consult to the public while all the time making them think they’re being consulted with. That’s how expensive PR advisors make their money. Croydon Council haven’t got it right: they should sack their PR agency.

  2. Chris Wilcox says:

    How on earth do you turn a profit on lending out books? Seriously.

    Libraries are services that run at a loss, and are funded by Councils to help The Poor, The Needy, and Parents etc etc to get access to decent literature.

    I was chewing the cudd on this with Wayne Lawlor and Andrew Pelling and the only thing I can think of is that they will start charging for the loan of books. And if they do that a hell of a lot of Poor people will lose access to a very important piece of cultural enrichment.

    Merton Library Service is still in the Public Sector and runs significantly cheaper than Croydon from what I have been told.

    What I have also been told is that the Croydon Tories have simply ignored the option of examining this very successful Public Sector Business Model. Martin Whelton is the cabinet member for Merton who runs The Libraries there, and he gets the same satisfaction results as Croydon. For a fair old lump of cash less.

    I just don’t get why such a successful model would be ignored over something as risky as Privatisation. Especially when Tim Coates is the former CEO of Waterstones and says it does not work. He states there is no real income to earn any money on, as I have pointed out.

    Croydon Council seem to think the profits from a Cafe in the same building (for example) will be able to cover the costs of the Library bit as well as its own costs. Assuming the Library is big enough to have a cafe obviously.

    Expect minimum wage then. And you can forget having a Qualified Librarian if the wages get THAT low. This is one of the hugest long-shots I’ve seen for a while. With a very small chance of success. And that’s not just me saying that.

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