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Libraries under scrutiny at Suffolk County Council meeting

PUBLISHED: 09:21 14 June 2011

Suffolk County Council HQ at Endeavour House

Suffolk County Council HQ at Endeavour House

Archant

LIBRARY protesters will today (Tuesday) be given the opportunity to have their say on proposals for the service in Suffolk.

Suffolk County Council’s scrutiny committee is to look at plans to change the way the library service is run at its meeting today – and recommendations it makes will be fed through to the cabinet, which is due to debate the service next month.

Campaigners have been invited to give their views at the meeting, while members of the public will be able to express their thoughts during an “open mic” session.

The committee will hear evidence from groups and individuals involved in the consultation process, with those who have expressed an interest in running a library also being invited to speak.

Elizabeth Williams, of the Save Suffolk Libraries Campaign Network, said that groups of protesters around the county had joined forces against the plans to divest the service.

She said: “We are calling on the scrutiny committee to make the recommendation that a decision on libraries is pushed back until those making the decision are completely informed on all the information they need to be.

“We believe that the consultation period has been flawed and, for that reason, we ask that various things are looked at in more detail and that more information is given to the cabinet.

“It must be ensured that they are given all the information possible to ensure that they can make an informed decision. As it stands, we do not believe they have that level of information for various aspects of the consultation.”

Scrutiny chairman Colin Hart said: “This is an important opportunity to look at how the council is moving forward with the libraries review – and give interested parties an opportunity to air their views in public.

“I’ve long called for the scrutiny committee to be given the opportunity to have a say on key issues before they are decided on by cabinet.

“The council’s new leader, Mark Bee, has made it clear that he wants the council to listen more carefully to what people in Suffolk are saying about the changes to public services being made in the county.”

On the claims that the county council has approached the consultation period with “fundamental flaws”, a spokesman said: “The legal advice we’ve received is that Suffolk County Council has acted entirely lawfully during the libraries consultation process.

“It goes without saying that we will continue to act lawfully.”

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