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'Culture of secrecy' as Croydon chooses library company

Croydon Council has chosen the private company it wants to run its 13 libraries, with John Laing Integrated Services selected after a private bidding process. 

The new deal, which will be fully unveiled in the coming weeks, will see the local authority continue to hold the freehold on the buildings, while the services are taken over by the company.

Paul Greenhalgh, the council’s executive director for children, families and learning, said in a statement: “This has been a detailed and carefully run selection process. There was complete consensus that John Laing Integrated Services offered Croydon the best mix of quality and price.”

But Labour councillor Timothy Godfrey, shadow cabinet for member for culture, sport and libraries said: “The most worrying thing is the lack of detail in this plan. The culture of secrecy at the council is very worrying.”

At a meeting of the council’s corporate services committee last week, the councillors had to relocate when members of the public refused to leave the room for the decision-making process.

John Laing has previously partnered with the council for a £450m urban regeneration programme in the borough.

 

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There are many unanswered questions.

Why did Croydon deny residents and opposition councillors the details behind the decision?

Why has the decision been taken with such secrecy and why is Croydon still denying residents details of the deal, only willing to unveil it in the coming weeks?

Why would Wandsworth consider GLL the best candidate yet Croydon not rate them at all? Having seen how Laings have hollowed out Hounslow Library services, the hollowing out of Croydon libraries, that residents across the borough have witnessed in the past year or so, casts further doubt as to whether this really was a predetermined decision.

There are many unanswered questions.

Why did Croydon deny residents and opposition councillors the details behind the decision?

Why has the decision been taken with such secrecy and why is Croydon still denying residents details of the deal, only willing to unveil it in the coming weeks?

Why would Wandsworth consider GLL the best candidate yet Croydon not rate them at all? Having seen how Laings have hollowed out Hounslow Library services, the hollowing out of Croydon libraries, that residents across the borough have witnessed in the past year or so, casts further doubt as to whether this really was a predetermined decision.