Greenwich Council

Agenda item.

Petition Responses

Decision:

Noted the action taken in response to petitions presented at recent meetings of the Council.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that a member of the public had requested to speak on this report and, as such, it was taken as the first item of business.  The Mayor invited Sian Stringer to address the Council with regard to the petition relating to mobile libraries.

 

Ms Stringer expressed her grave concern regarding the closure of the mobile library service despite the Council’s own consultation indicating support for its retention.  It was stated that whilst a new library had been built in Greenwich, this was a leisure centre, with a library in it and served the local and mobile population.  Further, that despite assurances given as part of the consultation process, the mobile library service would not be closed until the enhanced home library service was in place, the service was due to close this Friday, with no alternative ready.  

 

Ms Stringer expressed concern that alternative provision had not been made for residents, schools and nurseries that made use of the current service.  The suggested proposals were also inadequate and that effectively the Authority was not providing a comprehensive library service and not meeting the needs of residents.  It was stated that the proposed deposit / collection arrangements for schools and libraries were inadequate.   Ms Stringer stated that the current outreach service, in the form of the mobile library service met the needs of the community and this should be developed and built upon.

 

In conclusion it was stated that it was felt that the Council had failed the Service; failed to promote the service or allowed staff to input in a meaningful way on how to improve or promote the service, and left it to deteriorate.

 

Ms Stringer was pleased that there would be no redundancies but staff had not been concerned about their jobs but about the provision of service to the children of the Borough and it was felt that the Council was letting them down. Mr Stringer urged the Council to reconsider its position on the future of the mobile library service.

 

In response, Councillor Scott-MacDonald, Cabinet Member for Creative Industries and Community Wellbeing thanked Ms Stringer for her address and advised that the Council was committed to delivering a high quality library service.  It was stated that the Council had made substantial financial investment to its library services, across the Borough with positive results.  Furthermore, the changes were being introduced following extensive consultation with the unions, library staff, service users and the public.  Consequently, it was agreed that there was a need for the service to modernise as the numbers using the mobile service were in decline.

 

Councillor Scott-McDonald stated that she believed that the approach set out will improve the existing home delivery library service and the service provided to residents.

 

A member of the public made a vocal outburst from the Public Gallery and following warnings the Mayor asked the named individual to leave the meeting.  The warnings were not heeded and the Mayor asked for the meeting to be adjourned to allow for the named member of the public to be removed from the Chamber and order to be restored.

 

At 20:25 the meeting was adjourned and reconvened at 20:40pm

 

Councillor Scott-MacDonald declined the Mayor’s invitation to continue her response.


Councillor Hartley requested that his thanks to Councillor Smith for the response to the Petition relating to
Fairy Hill Park and Southwood Park in New Eltham which addressed the residents’ concerns be put on the record.

 

Resolved

 

That the action taken in response to petitions presented at recent meetings of the Council be noted.

Supporting documents: