Public Libraries: Complaints

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 14th March 2017.

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Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) (Arts and Heritage)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she will publish the criteria used to determine whether a complaint received by her Department regarding library services is considered a formal complaint.

Photo of Rob Wilson Rob Wilson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Local library authorities in England have a statutory duty under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 to provide a comprehensive and efficient public library service. The Department carefully considers on a case by case basis all correspondence received about library services in England before deciding whether the correspondence will be treated as a formal complaint, within the scope of section 10(1)(a) of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, and whether a library authority has failed to carry out its duties relating to the public library service under the 1964 Act.

Not every item of correspondence received by the Department concerning changes to public library services will be treated as a complaint within the scope of section 10(1)(a). For correspondence to be treated as a formal complaint it is expected that it will provide some reasoning or evidence as to why the complainant considers the library authority is in breach of its statutory duties. In addition, correspondence would not fall within the scope of section 10(1)(a) if it is considered trivial or vexatious.

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