This section provides details of the proposal which we are consulting you on.
Our proposal takes full account of what you told us in the consultation exercise we undertook from 29 September to 21 December 2015. The proposal ensures that there will continue to be an excellent and comprehensive library service and multi service centre provision across the East Riding whilst also contributing to the savings that the council needs to make.
In the East Riding, we are proud of our record on libraries and multi service centres and we have invested significantly in these services over many years. We will continue to do so and we plan to invest £7.4million in developing more multi service centres over the next 3 years.
Compared to what is happening to library services and multi service centres in many parts of the country, we think our proposal is moderate and balanced and ensures that excellent services will be provided in the future.
Examples of options which were considered but not included in our proposal are:
The council looked at the option of no longer providing a mobile library service. Although this option would achieve significant savings the council is mindful that the East Ridng is a mainly rural area, with just under half of the population living in rural communities. For this reason, we are proposing to retain a mobile library service in order to ensure that our residents in rural areas will continue to be able access the library service.
The council considered closing small branch libraries and customer service centres in order to maintain the provision in towns and large villages. As with the mobile library service, the small branch libraries and customer service centres provide access to the library services across wide areas of the East Riding where the nearest large facility is located some distance away.
With this in mind the council has not included this option in our proposal.
The council has considered the option of using volunteers to run libraries. However, research into this option has identified that 95% of the libraries which operate under this model, still receive significant funding from the local council. This support often includes providing the building, book stock and professional advice and training. In addition, feedback received from the first stage of consultation showed that 95% of respondents thought that having ‘trained library staff’ in libraries was important or very important.
As a result of the research undertaken and the feedback from the earlier consultation we have not included this option in our proposal but we will continue to use volunteers to help deliver specific programmes such as the Summer Reading Challenge.
These improvements include, installing public WiFi in branch libraries and multi service centres, upgrading the People’s Network computers; the introduction of e-Books during 2016; and the continued development of health and well-being initiatives.
Access to services is and will continue to be supported through alternative methods of contact including telephone and online provision. This will provide customers with a choice of how and when they interact with the council and increase the availability of advice and information whilst effectively managing service delivery costs.
However, we will retain face-to-face support for vulnerable people and complex inquiries at multi service centres.
If the proposal were implemented it would save in the order of £1.2million from the council’s budget.
You told us that you did not want libraries to close but if necessary would be willing to accept reductions in opening times.
Our proposal would retain a library or multi service centres in each major town and larger village in the East Riding. However, we are proposing changes to the opening hours.
The proposal is to change the opening hours at libraries including those that are incorporated into multi service centres. Multi service centres are buildings where a number of services are combined such as libraries and customer services.
Section three of this document explains the approach that was taken to reviewing the opening hours.
In putting our proposal together, we also considered:
You also told us that wherever possible you would like the council to make savings by combining library services with customer services and other council services within the same building. We have listened to what you told us.
The council has already opened a number of multi service centres. These are at:
The council has now developed a programme to open further multi service centres which will include libraries within them. This will protect library services and provide a number of services conveniently under one roof at lower cost. As these sites are developed the council plans to use the approach we are currently consulting on when deciding the precise opening hours. However, the total number of weekly hours is specified in the proposal. This programme will mean that, over the next few years, library services will be delivered via multi service centres in:
Existing multi service centres will continue to provide access to information and transactions on the full range of council services through a blend of face-to-face service delivery, bookable appointments drop-in surgeries and digital facilities for self-service and supported online access.
Opening hours for all sites will reduce, however, these have been carefully planned to minimise the impact on all customer groups through a range of opening across the most popular times and days per week.
Future multi service centres will provide both integrated library and customer service sites in addition to the range of access methods and reduced opening hours, provided at the most popular times and days.
Part of the council’s strategic approach is to rationalise the number of buildings associated with different council customer facing services within the same area.
This approach aims to maintain or improve equity of access to services, whilst optimising the efficiency of the premises they are delivered from. The programme will eliminate elements of duplication and enable integration of services. The programme will see £7.4million of capital invested in premises to create energy efficient flexible buildings for the future, which will enable services to be delivered at a lower cost.
As these sites are developed the council plans to use the approach we are currently consulting on when deciding the precise opening hours. However, the number of weekly hours is specified in the proposal.
You said that you wanted us to keep libraries open.
By following this approach the council would retain a library service in each major town and larger village within the East Riding and the council would continue to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service.
As all towns and villages would retain a library, any impact is kept to a minimum. In most cases, there will be a reduction in opening times. There is a particular issue in Bridlington which currently has two branch libraries and this is set out later in the document.
Details of the proposed changes at each library are available at libraries, mobile libraries, multi service centres, customer service centres, leisure centres and children’s centres, or on the consultation page of the council’s website.
Link to consultation questionnaire
You told us that you wanted to keep the mobile library service but, if necessary review the current level of service.
The mobile library service currently delivers to a number of locations across the East Riding, as follows:
We have looked at the opening hours and level of use at every location visited, with the exception of the ‘At Home’ service.
We have also looked at:
We propose to retain a mobile library service delivered across the East Riding. However, we have reviewed where the mobile library visits, how often it does so and the length of its stay.
We are mindful of the predominantly rural nature of the East Riding and this has been a key driver in our decision to propose to retain a mobile library service unlike many other councils across the country.
However, we have to make sure that the mobile library service offers value for money. We think that our proposal will make the service more sustainable whilst continuing to deliver a service to our more isolated and vulnerable residents.
Under our proposal, the frequency of visits would change as follows:
3 of 4 weekly
The criteria and rationale that has been used to develop the proposal for mobile libraries is as follows:
Mobile library stops will be scheduled on a fortnightly or 4 weekly timetable
To create a regular, consistent and easy to remember service for all customers
An average of more than two people must have used the mobile library in the past at each village
To ensure that the mobile library service offers value for money and benefits the maximum amount of people
The mobile library will not make ‘single stops’ for housebound users
Customers who are unable to leave their home will be served by the ‘At Home’ library service
A service will be provided by the ‘At Home’ library service to ensure that vulnerable customers retain access to library services
You said that you wanted us to keep a mobile library service but, if necessary review the current level of service.
This proposal would allow the council to continue to deliver a mobile library service which will benefit the most amount of people.
As the mobile library service would continue to visit locations where it is well used, the impact will be minimised.
The ‘At Home’ service would be provided to ensure that vulnerable residents retain access to the library service.
An individual will not be classed as vulnerable if they are able to leave their home environment on their own or with minimal assistance to visit public or social recreational services (including shopping).
As Bridlington is the only town in the East Riding which has two branch libraries, the council has reviewed this provision and proposes that the two branch libraries are amalgamated into one library on the current King Street library site.
There are currently two branch libraries in Bridlington:
Our proposal would see the two libraries amalgamated together to provide one library, in line with other East Riding towns.
The current North Bridlington library site would be retained by the council. Its future use would maintain access to the building for community use and bookable space for local activities. The intention would be for the site to become a venue for adult education and training.
It will provide a range of community learning opportunities provided by the council’s employment, education and skills team.
The team deliver both courses that lead to a formal qualification and community learning courses that do not lead to a formal qualification, but provide a range of benefits to those who participate.
These benefits range from social inclusion, health and well-being, active and healthy minds and equipping learners to be active participants in the technologically advanced society in which we now live and work.
All other towns in the East Riding have one library, therefore by amalgamating together the two branch libraries in Bridlington, this provides the same level of service as in all other towns. It is proposed that Bridlington will still have a library open for at least as many hours as any other library in the East Riding.
Bridlington would retain a branch library so this would help reduce the impact. It would affect current users of North Bridlington library. Analysis of users of Bridlington North library has shown that many also use Bridlington King Street library.
We would do this by continuing to offer an excellent library service in central Bridlington, in Flamborough and via the mobile library and ‘At Home’ services.
What feedback would we like from you?