November 2009 Archives
The leader of the Conservative opposition group has responded to the libraries report:
Cllr Jeff Green said the "public of Wirral owe Sue Charteris a huge debt of gratitude".
He added: "She has exposed the way this administration has treated the Wirral public and how they disregarded the needs of the most vulnerable in our community."
Lib-Dem leader Simon Holbrook has released a candid response to the report by Government-appointed library inspector Sue Charteris.
Cllr Holbrook said they withdrew their library closure plans because "having been unsuccessful in challenging Sue Charteris' interpretation of the 1964 Libraries Act, we simply considered the risk of being found in breach of the Act too high for the Council to take".
He reiterated the comments made after the council abandoned the library closure plans that the delays were also affecting setting Wirral's budget.
But Cllr Holbrook added: "In any event, we believe that many of the opinions of Sue Charteris expressed in her report will be superseded by the results of the national consultation on the future of libraries which we understand the DCMS will launch tomorrow. We hope that the Government's consultation on the future of libraries will provide the guidance on the Libraries Act which this inquiry has shown is sadly lacking."
This is the press statement in full from Cllr. Steve Foulkes, Leader of Wirral Council following announcement by the Secretary of State on the libraries public inquiry,
Wirral not in breach of their Statutory Duty
I welcome the fact that the Secretary of State recognises that we are not in breach of our statutory duty and I welcome too the fact that the statement recognises the autonomy of local authorities and the fact that they are well placed to decide on local needs.
A DAMNING report by libraries inspector Sue Charteris says Wirral Council was in breach of its statutory duties over its plans to shut 11 out of 24 libraries.
In her report Ms Chareris said: "the Inquiry has found the Council to be in breach of its statutory duties under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, because it failed to make an assessment of local needs in respect of its Library Services".
The council revoked the plans at the end of September - although it was later revealed the authority had been given a draft copy of Ms Charteris report.
In the report, published today, Sue Charteris said: "I am also concerned that although the Act does not specifically cover the role of schools in library provision, the Council has not been able to demonstrate that it has had due regard to the general requirements of children which I consider to be a breach of its statutory duties."
The Culture Minister Margaret Hodge has finally issued a statement closing the Inquiry into the library services in Wirral.
However, she says since Wirral Council have withdrawn their proposal to close 11 libraries, it is clearly no longer appropriate to rule on their earlier decision and the authority is therefore not in breach of its statutory duty.
WIRRAL Council's legal director has written to councillors to tell them a decision following the public inquiry into the now abandoned library closure plans is expected next Monday, November 30.
When I spoke to the DCMS on Wednesday they had indicated it would likely be Monday or Tuesday, and an article in the Bookseller said an announcement was expected next week.
2009 seems to be the year of the U-turn.
First it was Wirral Council and the libraries and yesterday, along came meat packaging firm Tulip International's decision to return to Bromborough.
Investing Â£12m into the plant to make it a "sausage production facility" will create 270 new jobs - but only seven months ago, Tulip said the Bromborough site didn't have a future, closed it and made 303 people redundant.
WITH the Government report on the (now abandoned) proposals to shut 11 of Wirral's 24 libraries due imminently, we have put together a timeline showing how the story had developed.
You can use the scale bar on the left of the timeline to zoom in or out - necessary for periods when many stories were published in short periods of time, such as during the actual inquiry hearing.
Please feel free to use the comments section, below, to highlight any gaps in the timeline, or to express your views.
THIS week we will (maybe) find out how much Wirral Council will repay a group of vulnerable adults who were overcharged while in local authority care.
The "final statement" by Martin Morton, the man who highlighted the overcharging of vulnerable people by social services and lost his job, has been published on the council's web page.
At 28 pages long, it's quite a read although it has been "redacted" (funny how that word keeps coming back) by the council's director of law.
A preface to the statement says: "This statement has been redacted by the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management to remove all names of present and former officers except for current Chief Officers and the Chief Internal Auditor. This has been done in view of the current investigation into other allegations by Mr Morton. In addition a small number of other potentially defamatory comments have also been redacted."
IN 2007 I attended a meeting in Birkenhead High School for Girls, accompanying anxious parents who had recently discovered it was to become an academy.