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Bromley council award contract to manage libraries to Greenwich Leisure Limited

PUBLISHED: 11:10 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:45 24 July 2017

Bromley Central library

Bromley Central library

Archant

An agreement was made that all libraries would stay open and staff would keep their jobs

Bromley council have decided to make the controversial move and award Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) the contract to run it’s library services, a move which campaigners are calling ‘privatisation’.

The decision to award the 10-year contract was made at the executive meeting on Wednesday, July 19.

The council say this will generate savings, and protect the library service .

The awarding to GLL, a leisure operator which already manages a number of library services, follows a market testing exercise, with the specifications meaning that the successful provider would need to operate the existing library service, with the same number of libraries and exisiting staff.

Peter Morgan, executive councillor for renewal and recreation, said: “I am enormously encouraged by this news, which effectively guarantees the future of our library service.

“The council remains in full control of this much valued service and whilst other boroughs have closed libraries, we have invested multi-millions to deliver new libraries. Whilst other boroughs have reduced staff, we have found a way to maintain existing staff levels and the service they provide.”

Chris Symons, director of development at GLL, added: “We look forward to working in partnership with Bromley council and existing library staff, to maintain and improve library services within the borough.

“Our ethos has always been to enhance services, make a genuine contribution to the local communities in which we operate and offer solid career pathways for those who work for us.

“We intend to share our industry expertise, garnered from running libraries across England and to encourage many more local residents to use and enjoy Bromley’s libraries.”

Unite the union, regional officer, Onay Kasab, said: “We are appalled, though not surprised, that the council has again failed to listen to residents.

“The reassurance regarding staffing levels is not backed up by the reality. On taking over the library service in Greenwich, GLL refused to fill vacant posts, which hit service levels hard.

“The meeting last night refused to debate the most important detail in public. So a decision was made without any public scrutiny of how GLL will make savings, the cost value of these savings and how much the contract will cost.”

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