We sent an open letter earlier this week to Peter Milton, Head of Cultural Services at SCC, pointing out the myriad ways in which SCC’s current equalities survey is fundamentally flawed.
The outcome of the Judicial Review gave SCC an opportunity to take a step back, review its policy and make some adjustments that would make the policy more agreeable to Surrey residents. But instead of taking that opportunity, SCC has got hung up on trying to overcome a perceived “technicality”, only consulting with the minimum number of people to satisfy the “technicality”, and only on questions that it feels the High Court judgment demands.
The consultation documents have been to sent to some library users many times over whilst many other library users have received no documents at all. The questions themselves are complicated to answer and demand too much knowledge of regulation, training and equalities law for a library user to reasonably answer.
As one resident put it to us, SCC has tried to be “too clever by half”.
SCC could have avoided all this confusion and complication, and it still can. We recommend that the Council sends out a simple referendum to all residents in the affected communities with this simple question:
Given that there is no financial saving in replacing paid, professional staff with volunteers, would you rather your local library was run by
A. Experienced, paid, professionals (with volunteers providing additional services where appropriate)
B. volunteers only
We have evidence that leads us to believe that most people will vote for option A. But if we are wrong and the majority of people vote for option B, then we will accept defeat gracefully and wrap up this campaign. You will hear from us no more.
Come on Surrey County Council, let’s see localism in action.
LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE!