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Issue - meetings

Explore Gateways

Meeting: 21/03/2011 - Customer and Corporate Services Scrutiny Management Committee (Calling In) (Item 34)

34 Called-in Item: Development of the Explore Vision in Libraries pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To consider the decisions made by the Executive Member for Leisure, Culture and Social Inclusion at his Decision Session held on 8 March 2011 in relation to the above item, which have been called in by Councillors Crisp, Alexander and Simpson-Laing in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.  A cover report is attached setting out the reasons for the call-in and the remit and powers of the Scrutiny Management Committee (Calling In) in relation to the call-in procedure, together with the original report to and decisions of the Executive Member.

Additional documents:


Members received a report which asked them to consider the decisions made by the Executive Member for Leisure, Culture and Social Inclusion at his Decision Session on 8 March 2011 in relation to a report detailing proposals to extend the ‘Explore’ vision across the whole of the city’s library service.


Details of the Executive Member’s decision had been attached as Annex A to the report and the original report to the Executive Member attached as Annex B. The decisions had been called in by Cllrs Crisp, Alexander and Simpson-Laing, on the grounds that:


-        There has been a lack of pre-decision consultation with staff and library users;


-        No proper Equality Impact Assessment has been conducted;


-        The report is based on data, which is in some cases five years old and in others, at least a decade out of date;


-  The Executive is trying to carry out a consultation and the implementation of the decision concurrently;


-  The decision should not be taken so close to the purdah period - the Council should wait until the electorate’s verdict in May before proceeding with such a far- reaching policy decision.


Members were asked to decide whether to confirm the decisions of the Executive Member for City Strategy (Option A) or to refer them back to the Executive Member for re-consideration (Option B).


Councillor Crisp addressed the Committee on behalf of the Calling In Members, expressing concern at the speed at which this decision appeared to have been made prior to full consultation and the conducting of a full Equality Impact Assessment (EIA). Pointing out that data on which the report was based was out of date.


In answer to questions Officers detailed the lengthy staff consultation already undertaken and the vision for the popular Explore concept in place at York and Acomb, which was now to be extended across the whole service. It was confirmed that the next stage would involve local communities and examine how they wished to see their library service delivered. It was also explained that the EIA was a living process, leading to an action plan, which would then be further developed for each community. It was also confirmed that the decisions taken did not rely on census data.


After a full debate, Councillor Simpson-Laing then moved, and Councillor Taylor seconded that Option B be approved and the decision be referred back to the Executive for reconsideration, with the recommendation that the decision be deferred pending completion of a full Equality Impact Assessment and consultation with staff and library users prior to a report back to the Executive Member after the election in May.


Four members voted for this proposal and four voted against. The Chair then used his casting vote against the proposal, which was accordingly declared LOST and it was therefore



RESOLVED:             That Option A be approved and that the decision of the Executive Member for City Strategy be confirmed.



REASON:                  In accordance with the requirements of the Council’s Constitution.

Meeting: 08/03/2011 - Decision Session - Executive Member for Leisure Culture and Social Inclusion (Item 36)

36 Development of the Explore Vision in Libraries pdf icon PDF 113 KB

This report details how the Explore vision will be extended across all of the library service, performance graphs are included as an Annex to the report.

Additional documents:


The Executive Member considered a report which detailed how the Explore Vision would be extended across all of the library service.


In response to comments from Councillor Crisp and the Unison representative, the Executive Member was informed that staff consultation on the new model for the city’s libraries began in the New Year and that this was done in a variety of ways reflecting the complexity of communicating with staff spread over 14 locations and 2 vehicles across the city. They also spoke about how staff views had  influenced the production of the proposals for example the proposal to continue circulation of stock between libraries.

Officers stressed that approval of the vision and the model would represent the start of a process of consultation and engagement with communities about how their local library should reflect their needs.  This would cover all issues such as: stock, activities that take place at the library, and opening hours.


In relation to comments raised about accessibility issues at Rowntree Park café, officers responded that as part of the Heritage Lottery funded restoration project some of the steps had been removed and the ramp regraded to create an alternative access route to the café.


The Executive Member noted that the libraries in the city had experienced a radical transformation over previous years and that the first Explore Centres in Acomb and New Earswick had seen their visitor figures double. He also stated that other Authorities had noted the success of the Explore centres in the city and how this was sustainable when across the country libraries were being closed. The Executive Member underlined that the current proposals actually increased the number of libraries in the city, and believed that this could set a trend nationally for library provision.


RESOLVED:             (i)            That the report be noted.


(ii)               That the implementation of the innovative Explore Gateway model be agreed.


(iii)That the precise model for each Gateway to be developed as outlined in paragraphs 21-22 of the report.


(iv)              That the EIA (Equality Impact Assessment) be updated to consider the affect on staff and customers.


(v)                That the book stock in each Gateway is be developed in consultation with staff and the community.


(vi)              That the proposed extension to Rowntree Park Café be agreed.


REASON:                              So that the library service can continue to develop its Explore vision.


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