In a move to safeguard their future and make savings
A plan to enhance and safeguard the borough’s library service by appointing a new management organisation to run it, will be considered by councillors next week.
Councillors in Wandsworth have been advised by council officers to award the management contract for the borough's library and heritage service to charitable social enterprise Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL).
The recommendation follows a competitive tender process involving three organisations - from which GLL was deemed to offer the best value for money for local tax payers.
If councillors agree to follow the recommendation, GLL would run the service from April next year for a period of eight years. It is expected to produce yearly savings in excess of £500,000 compared to current running costs, at a time when the council is facing challenging financial pressures.
The move is designed to ensure that the borough's library and heritage service continues to evolve and keep pace with fast changing needs and demands from the public.
Under the contract, GLL would be expected to continue providing core library services free of charge to users, while library buildings will remain in the ownership of the local authority.
Should councillors approve the proposal, all of the permanently contracted staff within the library and heritage service, up to and including the head of service, will be subject to TUPE transfer to Greenwich Leisure Limited.
Wandsworth's executive member for environment, culture and community safety, Councillor Jonathan Cook, said: "Our libraries are among the best in London and we are proud to be looking at ways to safeguard and enhance the service at a time when other councils are considering closures.
"We realise, just like all councils, we have to reduce our spending. Bringing competition to the market place will ensure that our taxpayers continue to receive the best value and best service possible."
Last year, Wandsworth and Croydon councils began working together to explore new ways of running libraries and the potential benefits of harnessing the knowledge and experience of different service providers.
A market-testing process led to three organisations being identified as having the vision, the expertise and the financial backing to deliver top quality library services.
This evaluation process in turn led to three organisations being shortlisted - from which Wandsworth's council officers judged GLL to be the best value for money. Croydon Council will make its own decision which of the three to award its library contract to.
Borough councillors will discuss the recommendation to award GLL the management contract at a meeting of Wandsworth's environment, culture and community safety overview and scrutiny committee on November 15.
To find out more about the borough's library service visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/libraries.- GLL was the UK 's first leisure trust. It was formed in 1993 to run leisure centres in Greenwich - managing seven centres to begin with.
The charitable social enterprise created jobs and added new services to existing leisure centres. Since then, it has expanded and is now responsible for running a variety of community services and spaces across the UK .
GLL was the first leisure operator in the UK to be awarded both the Social Enterprise Mark and the Prime Minister's Big Society Award.
November 9, 2012