To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with reference to the Government response to the Third Report of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of Session 2012-13, on library closures, Cm 8535, page 6, when her Department plans to issue guidance highlighting potential efficiencies from sharing services.
The lessons learned from the Future Libraries Programme, a joint Local Government Association (LGA)/DCMS initiative, were published by the LGA in “Local solutions for future local library services” in June 2012. The publication includes advice and examples of shared services work being undertaken by local authorities, as well as the potential benefits that can be derived. In addition, Arts Council England (ACE) developed the Library Development Initiative to test new approaches to library service delivery, including shared services. LGA and ACE have also now engaged directly with nearly 100% of elected councillors with executive responsibility for the library service through joint leadership seminars and peer support, and this included learning about models for shared library services. A crucial part of the LGA's work is to spread best practice, including shared services, and they also have a wider programme looking at shared services across all kinds of services, not just libraries. The Department will continue to engage with LGA and ACE and provide further information relating to sharing services as it becomes available.