…£5 MILLION ‘HERITAGE CENTRE’ PLANNED – LIBRARY TO REVERT IN ‘VERY TRUNCATED FORM’ TO LAMBETH?
Plans to turn Carnegie library Herne Hill into a £5 million heritage centre – with the library being run in a “very truncated form” by Lambeth council – have been revealed by the Carnegie Library Association.
The revelations come in an appeal document by the Carnegie Library Association against the decision to give Carnegie library, Herne Hill to the Carnegie Community Trust.
The CLA say in their appeal:
1. The basis of the invitation to tender for the transfer of the asset changed;
2. Assessment of the tender was based on incorrect information in the assessor’s report;
3. The successful tender has not been disclosed nor shown to be compliant with the invitation to tender, and
4. The process for selection, and this appeal, does not follow the rules of natural justice.
INVITATION TO TENDER
Lambeth’s Invitation to Tender (ITT), in a letter dated 25 May 2016 stated that the Carnegie was to be a “community space…(and) will include a Neighbourhood Library.” The ITT (Invitation to Tender) also stated that the transferee would have full responsibility for the management of the building, its opening and closing, etc.
“The implication was that proposals for the asset transfer would include provision of library services, albeit with staff support from Lambeth, in conjunction with other community activities which would produce revenue for the running and maintenance of the building” say the CLA (Carnegie Library Association).
“Our proposal was for exactly that. “The proposals were made in a business plan, discussed with Lambeth’s assessors and presented to a panel from Lambeth in April 2017.
“At no time was it suggested that the basis of our proposals, namely to provide library and ancillary community services, was not what was required.
“Since Lambeth’s decision to give preferred bidder status to another bidder, it has emerged that Lambeth’s future plans for the building were radically different to what had been suggested in the ITT.
“Lambeth have announced that it intends to re-open the library service independently of the asset transferee. “This was never proposed nor discussed.
“Such a proposal would have needed detailed information about, for example, hours of opening, space to be used by the library, shared responsibility for staff and the building, so that bidders could have tailored their own proposals for the building accordingly.
“This never happened.
“In fact, the ITT requirement to take full responsibility for opening and closing the building, and its management, would have been incompatible with a separately run library in the same building.
“The assessment letter dated 21 July 2017 said Lambeth could provide support to the successful bidder, a crucial fact that had never previously been made known to us.
“In the feedback session provided by Lambeth after the selection process, we were advised that our proposal had been rejected because it constituted “more of the same”, i.e. continuation of the previous use of the building, whereas Lambeth had been searching for an entirely new use for the building.
“Again, this was never suggested in the ITT nor mentioned on any of the occasions when Lambeth discussed its bid with us.
“It is therefore submitted either:
that the ITT gave an incomplete and/or misleading view of what Lambeth was looking for when transferring the asset; or
Lambeth have changed their views at some point subsequent to issuing the ITT without giving us the opportunity to respond to the changed requirements.
“INCORRECT INFORMATION” IN ASSESSOR’S REPORT
The Carnegie Library Association in their submission say Lambeth’s decision was in part based on the assessor’s assessment which was “flawed and error-strewn” and goes on to list various examples from the assessment.
“It is therefore submitted that Lambeth’s decision was in part based on taking into account inaccurate and misleading material, further contributing to the flawed decision that was reached.”
DETAILS OF SUCCESSFUL TENDER NOT DISCLOSED
“It is the basis of any appeal in a competitive tender situation that the successful tenderer was incorrectly selected. “To make such an appeal, it is necessary to see details of the successful tender in order to judge whether or not it met the criteria laid out in the ITT.
“Further, this tender involved a community asset, being transferred to benefit the local community, and all tenders should have been made public for the community to see whether its asset was to be used in future to benefit the community.
“Both Lambeth and the successful preferred bidder have steadfastly refused, despite many requests, to make public the details of the tender. “This in itself makes the appeal process, and indeed the whole tender process, invalid.
“Some information about the plans of the successful bidder has been provided in an undated, anonymous flier from the successful bidder, and from our feedback meeting with Lambeth.
“Some information could also be gleaned from the post assessment letter sent by Lambeth to us.
“The various pieces of information suggest that the successful bidder:
would initially host the library, an enterprise centre and a range of community activities, and was working with Lambeth to get the library open (in an undated flier from the successful bidder, pre-selection) and/or
had a “heritage development” project which required funding, not currently available, of £5,000,000 (from the assessment letter post-selection).
“It is impossible to judge from this scant, and not necessarily full or accurate information, what the successful bidder’s plans are.
“What is this “heritage development”? “What is its purpose?
“In particular it is not possible to see whether the plans meet the requirements to provide a community hub or at least a building for the community. “Nor is it possible to see whether the plans are financially viable either in the short or long term.
“If a large cash injection is required, and the funds are not currently secured, it would seem not.
“In layman’s language, the alternative bid appears to be a “pie in the sky” heritage development – no-one is prepared to divulge what –with no evidence of community engagement or demonstrable community benefit and which needs a cash injection of £5,000,000 which the bidder does not have.
“In addition, it does not include a library which is now to revert, in a very truncated form, to Lambeth.
“It is therefore submitted that Lambeth have failed to demonstrate it has selected either a compliant, or the better bid for transfer of a community asset.”
PROCESS OF SELECTION AND APPEAL
“In a competitive bidding situation, all bidders must be given exactly the same information, even if a question is raised by only one of the parties, and the same financial support.
“We were not made aware of any additional information or financial support provided to the alternative bidder.
“In electing to have an asset transfer policy, Lambeth also realised the need to provide an appeal process for unsuccessful bidders. “It is the essence of any appeal process that it is heard by objective and independent people.
“But the appeal process provided by Lambeth requires the appeal to be addressed to the local councillor, even though, as in this case, the local councillor may have a very strong interest in the project which may not align with that of an appellant;
states that the appeal is presented by that councillor to whoever is to hear the appeal in Lambeth’s organisation – in other words, the appellant has no control over how his appeal is put forward;
allows the appeal to be heard by the very people who have already made a decision on the tender;
provides no detail on a timetable, process, information to be submitted and so on.
“This specification was requested from Lambeth but never provided. “The whole appeal process is fundamentally flawed.
“By failing to provide an independent appeal system, with a clear timetable, and not allowing us to present our own appeal directly to those hearing the appeal, the whole procedure offends against the rules of natural justice.”
A CLA spokesman told News From Crystal Palace: “Any appeal has to be lodged with one of the three ward councilors for Herne Hill in which the library sits.
“As Cllr Jim Dickson has consistently promoted the CCT and its predecessor Shadow Trust Board and Cllr Jack Holborn was on the STB, the CLA trustees sent the full appeal to Cllr Michelle Agdomar, who passed it to cabinet member Sonia Winifred on 20 October.
“We’ve had an acknowledgement, and a promise on 13/11 that a response would be sent asap. “So far we still have not seen the CCT business plan or details of how our appeal will be dealt with.”
Both Lambeth council and the Carnegie Community Trust have been asked for a comment. If we ever get one…….- Ed.
FURTHER READING:Here is just a small selection of SOME of the previous stories posted on News From Crystal Palace relating to the Carnegie library. Please search ‘Carnegie’ for the (many) others. Thanks. Ed.
CARNEGIE LIBRARY – WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? WILL THERE BE A GYM IN THE LIBRARY AS WELL? July 5, 2017
CARNEGIE COMMUNITY TRUST CRITICISE NEWS FROM CRYSTAL PALACE September 14, 2017
CARNEGIE LIBRARY: INDEPENDENT PANEL NAMED – BUT THERE’S A CATCH…..Public meeting tonight (Tuesday) May 2, 2017
CARNEGIE: GREENWICH LEISURE TO GET ‘FIRST DIBS’ ON NEARLY ALL THE LIBRARY’S GROUND FLOOR COMMUNITY SPACE November 18, 2016
CARNEGIE GYM WITH ‘LIBRARY’ PLANS – THE HORRIFYING TRUTH: October 11, 2016
NOT THE HERNE HILL LABOUR NEWS Summer edition (Draft version) September 15, 2017
Herne Hill Labour News: DINOSAURS SAVED FROM EXTINCTION AFTER PUSH BY LABOUR COUNCILLORS September 14, 2017
YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP……….FAKE LIBRARY NEWS FROM LAMBETH LABOUR
September 4, 2017
People’s Audit – Four LIBRARIES: GREENWICH LEISURE GETS £1 MILLION REDUCTION IN ITS MANAGEMENT FEE AFTER OFFERING TO RUN TWO LIBRARIES AS ‘HEALTHY LIVING CENTRES’ – “There is no such thing as a free lunch” July 7, 2017
COMMUNITY INTEREST ORGANISATIONS RULES – “INVOLVEMENT WITH POLITICAL PARTIES MUST BE BALANCED” SAY CHARITY COMMISSION March 24, 2017
SECRET DIARY OF A LAMBETH LABOUR COUNCILLOR (Age uncertain) – Chapter Three
February 9, 2017
“DEMAND WAS SUCH THAT THE LIBRARY MANAGER HAD TO JUGGLE TO FIT EVERYTHING IN” – CORRECTING LAMBETH’S WEBSITE November 18, 2016
LAMBETHWATCH: NOTES ON A PREVIOUS ‘EXHIBITION’: “I DON’T KNOW” WAS THE MOST FREQUENT REPLY. CLUELESS AND UNPREPARED. STOCK ANSWERS AND EVASIONS AND, MORE FRIGHTENINGLY, A WHOLE LOAD OF SPIN. October 11, 2016
LAMBETHWATCH: NOW LAMBETH’S LABOUR CHUMS TURN ON THE COUNCIL! August 17, 2017