Agenda item



Report HPR2020/022


Members considered an update on the Provision of Library Services contract with Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) over the last six months of operation.  The value of the contract over a 10 year period was £40,908,465.


The report updated Members on the performance of the contractor since the previous report in March 2020


The report demonstrated how the contractor had delivered the service in line with the contract specification and key performance indicators.


The Principal Client, Libraries informed the Committee that the report covered the period from January-June 2020. This unprecedented period saw the closure of libraries in March due to COVID-19 and the report addressed the pre-Covid period, closure and service recovery and how libraries had adapted. GLL Managers, Diana Edmonds and Rebecca Gediking were in attendance to answer Member questions.


Referring to the number of complaints received about the service, Councillor Allatt asked how many were justifiable.  Members were informed that many related to the refurbishment of Central Library however, customers appeared to adapt well and accepted the changes.  Letters had also been received from customers who were happy with the refurbishment.  A number of complaints concerned the knock-on effect of the union strike action. 


Councillor Allatt requested that an appendix giving details of the top 20 complaints and resolutions be included in future reports.


During lockdown GLL had created and developed the online ‘Library Without Walls’ offer, which included book groups, crafts and story time.  Summer activities were looked at and a You Tube page had been developed. Staff remained positive and had enjoyed participating in the expansion of services.


Further work on the introduction of ‘Zoom’ chats for isolated mums was also being undertaken.


It was confirmed that during and following lockdown, members of the public were able to join libraries on line.


It was noted that many customers had migrated to using e-books during lockdown along with e-audio and downloads etc.  However, if this trend were to continue, there would be no reduction in the physical book stock.


Referring to the statement that 10.6% of the population of Bromley used their library card to borrow an item in 2019, Councillor Benington asked how this figure compared with other libraries.  The Principal Client, Libraries agreed to circulate these details following the meeting.


Members were informed that the Summer Reading Challenge did take place.  The official count for take-up of this activity had been extended until schools’ October half-term break.


Following lockdown, some libraries had re-opened with limited hours of operation however, Bromley Central Library, Beckenham, Orpington and Biggin Hill Libraries were all open 9.30 am – 5.30 pm.


It was anticipated that certain activities and services would become operational again from 14 September.  Ms Gediking agreed to provide Members with details of the timeline for returning to a fully operational service.


Ms Gediking also agreed to contact Councillor Cuthbert in regard to the ‘Tackling Loneliness Strategy in Bromley’.


Councillor Michael referred to stock purchasing (page125 of the report) and was informed by Ms Edmonds that customers were the influence behind what books were bought as there was no point in having books on shelves that were of no interest to customers.


RESOLVED that the performance of the service provider in the last six months of the contract be noted.


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