Statutory role of culture secretary for libraries "not being discussed", says DCMS

Statutory role of culture secretary for libraries "not being discussed", says DCMS

<p>A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has denied that the statutory role of the culture secretary in superintending libraries is up for discussion in government this summer.</p><p>This follows comments made yesterday by <a href="www.thebookseller.com/news/124564-clare-attacks-cilip-posturing-over-mla... target="_blank">Roy Clare, chief executive of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA),</a>in which he said most of the MLA functions looked likely to transfer to the Arts Council, and that &quot;ministers also have to decide whether they want public libraries to go [fully] into local authority control&quot; rather than the current situation of &quot;divided responsibility&quot; with the secretary of state superintending the service.</p><p>Library campaigner Desmond Clarke said he had &quot;real concerns&quot; over the comments, saying: &quot;The provision of public library services with 151 authorities does vary so dramatically - good, poor, bloody awful - it&#39;s critical that the minister retains responsibility to superintend them.&quot;</p><p>A DCMS spokesperson said today: &quot;The statutory role of the culture secretary is not part of the discussions being had this summer. We are focusing on where the MLA functions will be managed and we recognise it is important to clarify this for the library service.&quot;</p><p>Mention of the Arts Council was &quot;speculation&quot;, said the spokesperson.</p>