THE QUESTIONS LAMBETH COUNCIL MUST NOW ANSWER. IN FULL. POINT BY POINT. AND WITHOUT ANY OBFUSCATION. OR PREVARICATION. OR AVOIDANCE.
Questions posed in the People’s Audit report:
- Why have millions of pounds been budgeted to install gyms in library buildings when the money was urgently needed to support a service which, despite decades of upheaval and underinvestment, continues to see buoyant demand, and when the council have repeatedly said that cuts to library budgets are to prevent the loss of front-line services for vulnerable people?
- Given that Lambeth Chief Executive Sean Harriss met with GLL in July 2015 to discuss sites for ‘healthy living centres’, and when “detailed proposals” had been prepared for the centres at meetings the following month, did Susanna Barnes’ alternative plan for a community/staff mutual to save all ten Lambeth libraries ever stand a chance?
- Were “incumbent suppliers” other than GLL asked or encouraged to make an application to run healthy living centres, including at the Carnegie site?
- As LBL have admitted that Carnegie or Minet libraries may not re-open in 2017, will either be open to the public before the local government elections in May 2018?
- Why did GLL agree to reduce their leisure services fees by around one-third, with a c.£7m reduction from the total £20m leisure services contract?
- Council responses describe an initial £1m GLL management fee reduction as “a one off reduction in… management costs”, while elsewhere they state that it is “annual for several years”. How did this confusion arise?
- How did sponsorship of cultural services including the Black Cultural Archives, come to be contingent on GLL/Better providing other services in Lambeth, and why was no mention made of this in the (otherwise extensive) Culture 2020 report? The report says: “In reply to a council member’s enquiry from Green Party Cllr Scott Ainslie, Lambeth Council say ‘the £1m saving from the contract in 2015 is being used to underpin the transitional period (i.e. it was not taken as a saving). ‘Funds are being held and used to help underpin the parks maintenance budget – initially in 2016/17 and 2017/18. ‘From 2016 we’ve had to deliver savings in the leisure budget. These savings have been delivered through the reduction in the management fee.’,”
People’s Audit say: “This makes it clear that the GLL management fee reduction is the same one under discussion in the email correspondence. “However the decision to use it to “underpin the parks maintenance budget” is perplexing – the Carnegie and Minet libraries were both closed on April 1st 2016 to achieve savings in the Libraries budget.
- When the members’ enquiry response says these savings have been “delivered through the reduction in the management fee”, we must ask: why are the libraries closed?
- Was the management fee reduction contingent on the installation of leisure services at one or other of the Carnegie or Minet sites? (Source: People’s Audit report)