Lincolnshire – Day two at the High Court – It’s a nail-biter!

It’s a nail-biter!

The planned two-day judicial review hearing is now running into a third day (Thursday), with a decision not until Friday or (more likely) Monday, and the full judgement later still.

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Where are we now?

Lincs CC (LCC) wants to throw dust in everyone’s eyes by asserting that Save Lincs Libraries (SLL) has no right to bring a judicial review at all.

Might this mean LCC don’t think they have a very good defence? So they’d rather dodge the fight? Who knows?

Anyway, the judge hasn’t yet quashed the case.

Maybe that means SLL is OK, at least on that score.

It’s honestly hard to tell.

Day 1

Day 1 was a blizzard of arguments about who is entitled to bring a JR, and when, and why, and how, and about what. With a storm of references to different cases.

And all inevitably mixed in with stuff about what LCC was actually doing about its libraries, and when, and how, etc etc. Quite confusing.

One thing stood out for me – LCC stated early this year that no libraries would close until September. But they already have – on a devastating scale. And a good few libraries have nobody to run them at all. Lots of withdrawals. A shameful mess, built on what looks like a lie…

Day 2

Day 2 had more blizzards. Plus lots of stuff on whether LCC has really done what the judge in last year’s case told them to do.

Mr Justice Collins said, put simply, that LCC’s consultation was flawed because it gave the impression that there was no alternative to its mass closure plan. And that LCC should have properly examined a viable-looking alternative from experienced library provider GLL.

Has LCC remedied these flaws? Yes, says LCC. No, says SLL.

No brainer

The juiciest bit was LCC’s case that it really, really did look properly at GLL’s ideas in December 2014. GLL presented a no-brainer list of areas where big savings could clearly be made. LCC rejected the lot.

Reasons? They included…

(1) “We can’t figure out how to make savings, so nobody else can.”

Really?

If so, the whole principle of seeking alternatives is destroyed. Nobody should outsource anything, ever, anywhere.

(2) “The library management can’t influence in any way the colossal bills charged by LCC for central services, which eat up over half our budget.”

If so, chums, you really aren’t worth the high pay and status you have in LCC’s hierarchy. What do you think your job is?

(3) “GLL’s proposals are too risky. We should keep to our Plan A because it’s sure to be sustainable.”

Sustainable? It’s collapsing already. Sustainable? To dump 30 libraries by force on to reluctant ‘communities’, with peanuts for funding and NOTHING AT ALL after three years?

(4) “GLL’s proposals would deny communities the lovely ‘hubs’ we want to set up on the ruins of their libraries.”

Are you kidding?

Where on earth has LCC got this childlike faith in the magic of ill-defined and ill-supported ‘hubs’? What ARE hubs? Nobody knows. I’m sure LCC doesn’t.

The DCMS (and everyone else) declines to do any research on what happens when proper libraries get turned into… er… hubs. So anyone can say anything.

Half-baked schemes like LCC’s are wrecking library services nationwide.

Will the High Court rule in favour of taking a bit of thought on this matter?

We can but hope…

Laura Swaffield, Chair,  The Library Campaign

2 comments for “Lincolnshire – Day two at the High Court – It’s a nail-biter!

  1. Pauline Palmer
    July 23, 2015 at 11:01 am

    As the writer of two of the alternative solutions I know quite a bit about the history of all this. Wainfleet library closed (because the lease ran out and LCC did not renew) some weeks ago. Deepings library shut a few weeks ago for ‘refurbishment’ but no guarantee it will open again. Last Saturday (July 18th) was the last day that the other 28 libraries were open as all staff made redundant from that date. None of the libraries have been provided with a mobile service except the Deepings (on a temporary basis).

    What will happen if the ‘volunteer’ groups do not sign the leases and take over I don’t know because there does not seem to be provision for mobiles to replace them as originally planned. The whole thing is a complete mess.

  2. Ken Syrett
    July 28, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Pauline Palmer is not correct when she says that the 28 libraries are now closed because staff have been made redundant. Staff have been given their redundancy notice to finish, in most cases, on 30th September. If volunteers don’t come forward then provision will be made for a mobile service. One would have thought that someone “…know quite a bit about the history of all this” would know this.

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