We reported just last month about the delays campaigners had experienced in receiving a response from the DCMS on the subject of an inquiry.
The time has finally come to hear from Ed Vaizey – the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries – on the matter. Yesterday (3rd September) he wrote to Isle of Wight council leader, David Pugh, advising that he is, “not currently minded to direct a local inquiry”.
Bolton and Lewisham (London) both received an identical response from Mr Vaizey.
Last chance to comment
However, before making his final decision, he added that he’s keen to hear further representations from community groups, members of the public, etc., see details at bottom of article.
The Secretary of State feels that judgement of whether the local authority is providing a ‘comprehensive and efficient service’ – as set out in the 1964 Libraries Act – should be left to the local authority. Decisions about local issues should be taken by those voted into the positions by the public, he adds.
The letter goes on to say that, “Too ready an intervention would risk preventing prompt and efficient reforms of library services.”
“A valuable supplementary resource”
He states that the five libraries transferred to the local community provide a “valuable supplementary resource for residents”, but as they are not considered part of the council’s statutory public library service, the Secretary of State is basing his decision on whether an inquiry is relevant purely on the remaining six council run libraries, mobile library service and home library service.
Ed Vaizey finishes his letter by stating that the careful thought has been given to ensure that library service continue to be available to residents on an efficient basis.
“There appears to be no good reason why an inquiry ought to be commenced.”
Have your say
Before making his final decision Ed Vaizey is calling on members of the public to have their say.
If you have something to add, email your points to firstname.lastname@example.org by 17 September 2012.