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The simple way forward is to strip LiveWire of its responsibility for libraries, says Helen Jones MP

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10 Feb 2017
Helen Jones H&S Warrington North MP Helen Jones has called for libraries to be taken back into council control following the latest development in the long running library reorganisation saga.

Helen Jones MP said:
"It is difficult to remember any other issue in recent times that has been so badly handled.

"It now appears that the Executive Board is to receive a report which puts the whole issue on hold whilst a "working group" is set up to look at the matter again. Surely that was LiveWire’s job but they have botched it badly.

"The vast majority of constituents I have spoken to do not trust LiveWire and have lost confidence in them when it comes to managing our library service. They are simply incompetent when it comes to running libraries. It beggars belief that they have only just come round to realising they need a Board Member with knowledge of libraries and a strategic library lead. These posts should have been filled before they embarked on their review not after it has ended in such chaos. However, it comes as no surprise from an organisation that is in hundreds of thousands of pound of debt and can’t even pay its employees a Living Wage.

"How much money has already been squandered on this matter? We are still no nearer a sensible plan for our libraries. No-one seems to have taken responsibility – in the real world the Chairman, Board members and senior management would have resigned, but with LiveWire it is everyone else’s fault.

"We need to watch carefully who is to serve on the “task group”. It can’t be the same people who got us into this mess and must not be a sneaky way of kicking the issue into the long grass for a while and coming up with equally poor recommendations. There needs to be one task group and it must have representatives from all the resident groups who have concerns across the borough.

"The simplest way forward would be to strip LiveWire of its control of our libraries and return them to the local authority. This has been done with great success in other authorities and can be done here. Perhaps the first task of the new task group chair could be to phone those authorities and see exactly how they have put their libraries back on track. That call should have been made a long time ago."

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