Appendix 2 To - Vale of Glamorgan Council

Appendix 2
15th May 2014
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Learning and Skills
Provincial House, Kendrick Road, Barry CF62 8BF
Telephone: (01446) 700111
Ask for/Gofynwch am Paula Ham
Telephone/Rhif ffôn
01446 709161
01446 709376
[email protected]
Cyngor Bro Morgannwg
Dysgu a Sgiliau
Tŷ’r Dalaith, Heol Kendrick, Y Barri CF2 8BF
Rhif ffôn: (01446) 700111
Your Ref/Eich Cyf
My Ref/Cyf
All Library Staff
Dear Colleague
Update in relation to the Proposed Strategy for Library and Information Services
Thank you to all staff who were able to attend the staff meeting on the 29 th April in
relation to the above proposed strategy. As promised I am now able to send you a
summary of the questions raised during the meeting (with answers). I hope this is
If you need more information on any of the points raised then please contact Andy
Borsden, Lead Officer, Youth & Community Learning on 01446 709148.
The proposals in relation to the Libraries review will now be submitted to the Lifelong
Learning Scrutiny Committee on 19th May 2014 and then referred back to Cabinet for
further consideration.
It was agreed at the meeting on 29th April that a summary of all appropriate comments
from staff will be submitted to Cabinet before any further consideration is given to the
overall service strategy. Such comments can be submitted directly to Andy Borsden or
through your trade union branch secretary. You are reminded that such comments
should be submitted by 27th May 2014.
Please also note that this will not prevent comments being presented at a later date as
part of any formal consultation process. You will be aware that consultation with staff,
trade unions and the public is part of the proposed delivery plan subject to it being
agreed by Cabinet.
At the meeting on 29th April questions were asked about how to deal with queries from
the public about the proposed libraries strategy. Clearly it is important to be able to
respond factually and honestly to any questions and, if appropriate, refer customers to
the Council’s website for access to the full report and details of committee meetings.
Correspondence is welcomed in Welsh or English/Croesawir Gohebiaeth yn y Gymraeg neu yn Saesneg
Appendix 2
You will appreciate, however the requirements of the Council’s Code of Conduct and
particularly the need to ensure that personal opinions/interests do not interfere with
our work as Council employees. In this regard it is not appropriate for employees to
actively canvass views or seek support from members of the public on matters relating
to the service review. The views of our service users will be appropriately sought in
accordance with the proposed delivery plan if the proposals are agreed by Cabinet.
If you require any further information about the Council’s Code of Conduct then you
are advised to contact Reuben Bergman, Head of Human Resources or alternatively
your local or regional union representative.
Thank you again for your attendance on the 29th April.
Yours sincerely,
Paula Ham
Head of Strategy, Community Learning & Resources
Appendix 2
Questions and Answers Arising From Library Restructure Meeting 29th April 2014
Question Raised By Phil Carter, Unison
Question 1
Mr Carter asked if staff members were permitted to attend the Scrutiny Meeting to be
held on 19th May 2014. In particular, could individual Members of staff ask questions?
Answer 1
Staff members can attend the Scrutiny Meeting on the 19th May 2014 subject to the
requirements of our library services being covered and with the agreement of local
managers. It is a public meeting and as such open to staff and members of the public.
It would not be appropriate, however, for individual staff to ask questions or make
representations at the meeting as this would raise concerns about a potential conflict
of interest for such employees. This is in line with protocols for all committees
affecting both Members of the Council and employees.
The Chair of the Committee has, however, invited our local trade unions to make
representations at the Committee meeting, so long as such individuals are not
employees of the libraries or related to or have a close/personal relationship with
employees of the library service.
Question 2
Staff questions have been raised on how Community Libraries would work, who would
train volunteers and how many library volunteers would be needed.
Answer 2
Community Libraries are working in many areas of the UK, especially English
authorities. Many of these libraries have been working successfully for several years
and have ironed out many of the obvious difficulties which present themselves. The
Vale library service will seek to learn from the best examples. The numbers of
volunteers required would depend on the library, the opening hours and the
community group’s operational plan. Several of the Library Services Management
Team would be involved and responsible for elements of recruitment, induction and
training of volunteers.
Question 3
If the proposals were accepted, how would the Council manage a process of
redundancy for those affected by staff changes?
Appendix 2
Answer 3
Any potential changes would be managed through the Council’s agreed Avoiding
Redundancy Policy. There would be full consultation with the Trade Unions and staff
throughout any change or redundancy process if the proposals proceed.
Question 4
Could the Council have sought voluntary redundancies prior to the report being made
Answer 4
The proposals are not yet approved. In the event that the proposals are agreed
consideration will be given to options for voluntary redundancy in consultation with the
trade unions.
Question 5
Have I been served notice of redundancy?
Answer 5
No one has been given notice of redundancy or formally advised of a reduction in
Question 6
What will happen in relation to staff changes if the proposals are approved by
Answer 6
If the proposals are approved then appropriate consultation will be carried out with
Trade Unions and staff. This will be carried out in accordance with the Council’s
Avoiding Redundancy Policy in order to seek to minimise any adverse implications
for staff.
Question 7
What sort of steps will be considered as part of the above?
Answer 7
Some examples of steps that may be considered are:
Seeking applications for voluntary redundancy
Seeking applications for voluntary reductions in hours
Appendix 2
Seeking opportunities for redeployment
Looking at secondment opportunities
Please be assured that if the decision is made to implement any of the changes, your
managers and HR will work with you and the relevant unions to implement whatever
proposals have been agreed.
Question 8
If redundancies are necessary, how much notice will we get?
Answer 8
Staff are entitled to 3 calendar months’ notice.
Question 9
What other support is available?
Answer 9
During any notice period, the Council will look for redeployment opportunities.
Question 10
Staff felt that their suggestions on income generation had not been listened to, why
hadn’t the council reintroduced reservation charges for books?
Answer 10
All suggestions have been considered and many are included in the draft delivery
plan, though not all of them have been mentioned in the report.
For example, free reservations are one of the core entitlements for library users in
Wales and this has been backed up with systems and funding to share books in
Wales for free.
In the last full year when there was a charge for reservations, 2008/9, the charges
brought in £4730. Interlibrary loan books from outside Wales are charged for at £2
per item. Last year this earned just £94.
Question 11
Mr Carter asked for clarification on the role that cost would play in determining
applications for voluntary redundancy.
Appendix 2
Answer 11
If the proposals are approved the process would be managed in consultation with the
trade unions. Consideration of voluntary redundancy would be based on a range of
considerations and not solely cost.
Question 12
Staff raised issues over data protection and giving volunteers access to Council
information systems with readers’ information contained within them.
Answer 12
If the proposals are agreed, agreements with Community groups would meet specific
criteria and would be legally scrutinised. Operational arrangements for data protection
would be tailored to the needs of each community group.
Question 13
Can the Council provide the exact number of posts being deleted and the process of
Answer 13
At this stage we cannot identify the exact number of posts affected. If the proposals
are agreed staff should be assured that the Council wishes to avoid any compulsory
redundancies. The Avoiding Redundancy policy will be followed and all staff and
Trade Unions would be consulted.
Question 14
Why are administration staff in Provincial House not included in the restructure, were
they protected?
Answer 14
Administrative posts in Provincial House were restructured in 2012. No Council posts
are exempt from any future reviews.
Question 15
Staff queried the number of posts being deleted in Barry Library.
Answer 15
It is too soon to answer this question. The answer to question 13 provides some
further comment.
Appendix 2
Question 16
Have the Council considered using the Section 106 funding which might be used for
library facilities in Wenvoe? This is connected to the Wenvoe Redrow and
Culverhouse developments.
Answer 16
A community facility contribution has been negotiated for two developments in
Wenvoe. The terms of the clause relate solely to community facilities and it is
reasonable to assume that the library would benefit from the contribution. The
establishment of a community supported library in Wenvoe would secure the future of
the library ensuring that it will benefit from this investment in the future.
Question 17
Was there a library representative on the review group?
Answer 17
Chris Edwards and Katherine Owen sat on the review group and represented the
library service. There were also focus groups which all staff were invited to attend.
Question 18
Why have managers and PT staff not had their hours reduced?
Answer 18
If the proposals are approved then an option would be to review the hours of work of
all library staff in order to progress any changes. This would be considered in
consultation with staff and the trade unions and in accordance with the Council’s
agreed Avoiding Redundancy Procedure.
Question 19
Why hadn’t staff been informed about the changed level of saving?
Answer 19
Staff were informed early on in the review of the possibility of further savings being
required in light of the settlement from the Welsh Government. This was referred to in
the introduction to the consultation questionnaire.
Question 20
Is a full Council decision needed?
Answer 20
No, this is a matter for decision by Cabinet.