The report provided an update to Members on the performance of Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) in delivering the Library Service contract and requesting that a temporary remodelled pattern of opening hours be made permanent.
The GLL Libraries contract commenced on 1 November 2017 with a ten-year contract term and the option of a further five years by mutual consent. Performance by GLL Libraries was measured against 26 bespoke Key Performance indicators and all contract milestones relating to monitoring and service planning had been fully met during the monitoring period. In December 2019, the Portfolio Holder agreed a temporary pattern of library service opening hours for a six-month period with a further six-month extension option to better fit local need during the COVID-19 service recovery period. The response to a recent consultation undertaken with customers and staff indicated a strong community preference to make the temporary pattern of library service hours permanent, subject to minor adaptations to Mottingham and Hayes Libraries’ opening hours.
In response to a question from a Member, the Assistant Director, Culture and Regeneration advised that the proposed changes to library opening times maintained the required 527.5 hours of library service provision across the borough set out in the GLL contract and offered increased evening access at some libraries. The library service was primarily delivered by permanent staff; however, consistent use was made of a bank of trained casual staff who provided cover, including some evening and weekend work. Quarterly meetings were held with union representatives to resolve arising issues with the most recent meeting being held on 17 February 2022 and the next to be arranged for late-June 2022.
A Member raised a recent incident of anti-social behaviour at Biggin Hill Library and asked what security measures had been put in place to ensure staff safety. The Assistant Director, Culture and Regeneration confirmed that a security guard was based on site during at-risk periods and that CCTV was being installed on site. No similar incidences of anti-social behaviour had been experienced at other libraries. Another Member queried whether previous proposals to move Beckenham library were being progressed and the Assistant Director, Culture and Regeneration explained that feasibility work undertaken two years previously had demonstrated that maintaining the library in its current location was the better option. The operational property review was underway and would review all Council-owned buildings, including libraries.
The Chairman led the Committee in thanking the library staff for their excellent work in supporting Bromley residents, workers and learners throughout the pandemic.
RESOLVED: That the Portfolio Holder be recommended to: