Big news about the Island’s libraries and the desire of some to keep them open.
We’ve just heard that the group of Islanders that were planning to take legal action against the council have, through their Solicitors Leigh Day & Co, have filed legal papers with the High Court.
Lack of Equality Impact Assessment
VentnorBlog understands that the Judicial Review is based on the council’s lack of Equality Impact Assessment before taking action to reduce the library service, therefore, the group says, not providing an equal service for all Island residents.
Judicial Review gives an individual the opportunity to challenge and give grounds to reverse a decision made by a Government minister, local council or a statutory tribunal. The basis for the legal action can often be by identifying problems with the process that have been undertaken.
It appears that if the council did not carrying out Equality Impact Assessments prior to taking action on closing the libraries taking place, the process could have been flawed and therefore invalid.
Allegations of ‘do your own’
VB has heard allegations of the council officers asking the Library’s steering groups to carry out their own Assessments after the Full Council voted to reduce the service.
While a Judicial Review is expensive for the people taking the action – legal fees are usually in the order of £20,000 – they are also expensive for the body, in this case the Isle of Wight council to defend.
Update 12:43 – We’ve contacted the council asking them if they intent to fight the legal action. We’ll let you know what we hear back.
Update 1:58pm – Here’s the reply we’ve just received – Ian Anderson, Director for Community Wellbeing and Social Care said “At present, the council has not been served with any papers in relation to High Court action and the future of the library service. Until we get these, we cannot say what action we will take.
“However, we do reiterate that the council believes its decision on the future of the library service meets its statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service.”