High Court Paper Filed Against Council Over Libraries (Update 2)

Isle of Wight council has, we hear, had legal papers filed against them over the closure of the libraries

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.”

Image: yinghai83 under CC BY 2.0

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12 Comments on "High Court Paper Filed Against Council Over Libraries (Update 2)"

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Over here...

Hooray for those willing to stand up & be counted!

Asite2c
Why do these councillors allow themselves to get in such a mess in the first place? As with many of their other short-sighted and boneheaded decisions, closing the libraries will probably end up costing them more money in the future than keeping them open. It really annoys me when I hear these Tories using spin to blame Labour councils for closing toilets, libraries and places of leisure.… Read more »
John Ward
My argument is that they are willing to spend £2.3 million on revamping the leisure facilities on the Island. Sure if they need fixed, fix them but do we at this point really need to make the pools bigger and deeper, and revamp the health suites etc. that is a job for when we have the money to play around with not now!! Use some of that… Read more »
foxy34
I was just surfing library consultations to see what others are up to, and this one strikes me as really pretty comprehensive, demostrating much thought, just interested in what others think and whether IOW ever went through such a process, this committee paper must have taken a great deal of research…hope this shows are a link. In any event I cannot relate in any way with what… Read more »
rosie

warwickshire consultation shows just how little the iw council did in consulting the people, all this council wanted to do was rush it through as quick as possible to get in time for the budget, showing no regard for the needs of its residents ,they just keep getting it all wrong , we need fresh faces in the council sooner the better .

Daveq

Having had a quick scan through the Warwickshire consultation, I think we could put it together with the IWC one and entitle the document “The best and worst ways of consulting the electorate”
or “How to and How not to run a consultation”

mark francis

The IWCC decided that the libraries were an easy option. That is why they never thought it through. They should have done some more research.

I understand there are places you can do this…with lots of shelves with books on them and internet access.

In future we might be able to do this by catching the Portsmouth ferry.

Richard Beet
Warwickshire seems to be a good model, so too it seems now, is Bucks County Council, home to the famous or infamous Chalfont Community Library. Although Chalfont got through by the skin of its teeth when BCC’s first closures were announced six years ago, others by their own admission fell by the wayside and failed due to impossible timescales, bad feeling and lack of consultation (Ring any… Read more »
rosie

having spoken to someone who lives near chalfont library , it seems it is not all that it is made out to be, there is continuing fund raising having to be done, helpers who are now wanting to leave /have a break , this is a long term commitment , and no one is being paid for it,

watching the pennies
Inside source says that the draft lease given to Bembridge is not all it seems and the legal department at the IWC are saying it should no be relied upon and is by no means a document that the parish council should take much notice of. How far have all the other library groups gone in negotiations? I do hope the legal challenge goes ahead but what… Read more »
Miffed

If its not worth the paper it’s written on, why issue it in the first place?

Daveq

Stalling for time!