Davina Fiore’s Legal Advice On Libraries Revealed (Updated)

This response is of relevance for the legal action against the council on the closure of libraries

VentnorBlog has been sent the legal advice from Davina Fiore, Head who oversees legal at the Isle of Wight council (in her role as Director of Corporate Services), on the council’s plan to close Island libraries (thanks to those who sent it to us).

Davina Fiore's Legal Advice On Libraries RevealedIt’s relevant to the legal challenge initiated against the Isle of Wight council and the council’s subsequent response.

Here’s the contents of it in full …

I have been involved with the libraries review, and the proposed options and the need for consultation set out in the report take into account the factors listed in this letter are set out and considered in the delegated decision report.

I am satisfied that we are acting in accordance with our statutory duties – we do need to balance them all, so the one in relation to providing a comprehensive and efficient library service and the one requiring you to pass a balanced budget!

To have on record that you considered this letter at this stage, I suggest that either you or the Deputy Leader make reference to this letter when presenting the report tomorrow night, and it can then be mentioned in the minutes.

Davina Fiore

Is there more?
What’s not clear is that if this is the full extent of the advice that Davina has given on the libraries.

Her saying, “I am satisfied that we are acting in accordance with our statutory duties,” doesn’t give any citations to what lead her to the being satisfied.

We’ll ask the council.

What led to this?
Davina’s email was prompted by council leader David Pugh writing on 4th December 2010 to senior officers involved with the libraries, copying Davina, “It would be helpful if we would demonstrate that we are taking this account, either on Tuesday or in the subsequent delegated decisions paper.”

The day before Ed Vaizey MP had written to council leaders about the libraries and local council’s responsibility under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below must comply with the Commenting 'House Rules' and are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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23 Comments on "Davina Fiore’s Legal Advice On Libraries Revealed (Updated)"

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Oh boy, well done whoever supplied this, I have a copy of that email but was not sure about the risks involved in releasing it. Basically it tells us the Davina Fiore did not study any of the available evidence and certainly did not take notice of Ed Vaizeys letter. Another “advisor” who has no real idea of what she’s talking about. This is more ammunition for… Read more »

The incompetance of these people running County Hall is not only revealing but staggering.

Steve Goodman
Two thoughts immediately prompted: 1. How much are we paying for our council’s legal eagles? 2. How much more are we wasting on the mainland lawyers being used to (fail to) defend the malicious prosecution claim against the council by the Brownriggs? (Which also makes me wonder by how much we would have benefited in the long term if the council had not chosen to break the… Read more »
retired hack
How odd that someone paid to offer legal advice should apparently not understand the following simple proposition: if you have two legal obligations, you have to meet both of them, not choose one of them, and not dilute either of them. The IW Council has the following two duties in this context. 1. It must meet its obligations under the Libraries Act. 2. It must produce a… Read more »
Mr Sandown Sally

I find myself wondering, is this the first time she’s offered poor advice?

Most solicitors I ever spoke to don’t hold any of the council lawyers in any regard, despite the huge amounts they earn.

The sickening part is, with the complainants on legal aid, this mess will cost more than keeping the libraries open.

Mr Sandown Sally

By the way, our old mate Joe Duckworth is in todays Sun newspaper! He’s featured at £280,000 a year as one of Britains top council earners. Must be a very clever bloke for that much, no wonder Beynon is so grumpy at just £3,000 a week plus extras.


If Beynon feels grumpy about what he is earning then he should b*****r off.Go and work for a council that can afford to pay him twice what the PM gets!Minus No 10 and the other perks of course.


bit of old news for the Sun…he left Newham under a cloud last year and has been appointed……wait for it…..chief exec of The League Against Cruel Sports..apparently on a huge wage cut

Sally Perry

Very old, it was last July we reported the move from Newham

Wight Social Worker
montana sliver

It appears that the old adage of the island only getting police officers rejected from the mainland doesn’t only apply to police then.


I believe the most councils employ legal teams who have been unable to find legitimate legal work to do because of their lack of understanding of even plain English, never mind legal problems, then, when the council has real problems they employ “real lawyers” who can actually do the job (even be it at very inflated prices)

Mike Starke
In answer to Steve Goodman’s question (1): Davina Fiore is paid 106,000 of our tax quids a year, as has been published already. Update on Joe Duckworth: The Currant Bun’s yarn is way out of date. He (ahem) left Newham Borough Council under a cloud a few months ago, on about what the Sun quoted. Latest news: he has just been appointed CX of the League Against… Read more »
montana sliver

Ducky is a rogue without a doubt but you really cant give him credit for pulling the wool over the Councils eyes with the Eco-Island scam, as it was like taking candy from a baby and they still haven’t even worked out that they were fleeced, they still think this is Eco_Island, hilarious really if it wasn’t so sad.

Please don’t go off the subject. Let’s ask Ms Fiore on what she based her opinion. She hasn’t told those making decisions but perhaps the council tax payers of this Island have a right to know on what legal basis her advice is given. Chapter and verse Davina please, after all we pay your inflated salary. Surprising that Pugh and Brown did not ask the question. Her… Read more »
When Davina Fiore gave her advice, the IWC were proposing to close 9 libraries by March 2012 ( 5 1 year earlier)and /or invite local community groups to take on their future operation. The Council has since back-tracked to where we are now, so if her advice was sound then, why have they changed their position? Of course,had the IWC adopted an alternative budget, we would still… Read more »

If there wasn’t still a very small part of the gentleman in me, I have a few very choice names for Ms Fiore and legal exert isn’t one of them.

witchfinder general

After the Pughgate fiasco I bet devious was one of them, Nudge, nudge, say no more, say no more, nudge, nudge, know what I mean.


that should of course read “expert” not “exert”, thats not in the vocabulary of our overpaid council officers

montana sliver

Whittaker had a very small part of the gentleman in him and it didn’t stop him getting called some very choice names.


Sounds like you speak from experience?

montana sliver

Why waste an email she could have fitted this on the back of a fag packet

Appalling English, written in a ‘nudge nudge’ style. This woman should be taking her hugely responsible role more seriously. This is very sad; the fact such a hugely contentious and detrimental decision requires so little consideration is a shameful indication of why things are so wrong. This Council in the political and structural/managerial sense should be dissolved to pave the way for some real change with some… Read more »