News

Vaizey to give evidence in library inquiry

Culture minister Ed Vaizey will be interviewed by the culture, media and sport select committee on 13th March as part of the inquiry into library closures. Vaizey is the only witness called to give oral evidence at the session that day.

The evidence session will coincide with the lobby of parliament by librarians and authors set to take place on the same day.

The 13th March session will be the third and final one of the inquiry, following tomorrow's (21st February), when CILIP chief executive Annie Mauger, Arts Council England chief executive Alan Davey and Isle of Wight council leader David Pugh will be among the speakers.

Individual campaign groups have been left disappointed after the inquiry declined to call them to give evidence. Campaigners in the Isle of Wight are particularly unhappy, given the presence at tomorrow's evidence session of council leader Pugh.

Inquiry manager Elizabeth Bradshaw said: "The Library Campaign and Voices for the Library [who spoke at the first evidence session on 7th February] represented library users. They were chosen as witnesses because they represent a national group. The committee can't delve into individual campaigns. The written evidence does take the same weight as oral evidence."

She added: "The parliamentary select committee can only make recommendations to government, such as whether legislation needs reviewing, or they can make recommendations to the Arts Council. They are not going to say whether Brent is right or wrong or make government intervene on particular cases."

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Mr Vaizey or should I say Evaizey giving evidence? Thats about the only thing he will have done during the Campaign by so many communities to keep their Libraries open apart from ignoring thousands of letters and taking no action at all.

Why are the committee not hearing and asking questions of campaigners, hearing the lengths they went to in order to stop closures AND stay within budget, the stonewalling of alternative ideas to closures by councils, the clear agenda to cut services not just budgets.Could it be because its a predetermined outcome.

As coordinator of the Friends of Somerset Library legal challenge against SCC, and having requested intervention from the Secretary of State to no avail, I submitted written evidence to the Select Committee. This detailed the difficluty of dealing with the whole situation and especially focused on the failings of DCMS. I volunteered to give verbal evidence to support my written evidence. I am therefore very disappointed that the equiry will not be calling for supportive verbal testimony from those actually involved locally with the issues the inquiry is trying to evaluate.
I note the comment from the Inquiry manager Elizabeth Bradshaw who said: "The committee can't delve into individual campaigns" This was the major criticism of Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt and Minister Ed Vaizey that they have refused to 'delve' and intervene in any individual library campaign. The inquiry therefore seems to be repeating the same policy error.

John Irven

Why is this enquiry not taking evidence from grass roots campaigners? It is the young, the poor and the elderly of our nation that are feeling the effects of the cuts and closures, so why not hear from a few of them? Despite the number of submissions made from the Isle of Wight, the only oral evidence they are taking is from the architect of the Draconian cuts they have made (5 out of 11 libraries now have no council funding)- the IOW Council leader. Despite a meeting with officers of the DCMS at which some 500+ pages of written evidence were submitted, numerous letters and email sent the Ed Vaizey and his department, the only response was "We'll sit back to wait and see what happens and treat each case individually" Is it not time that Ed Vaizey changed his name by deed poll to Emperor Nero? The entire handling of this matter, the statutory duty of the DCMS, has been a total disgrace and certainly does not come under any definition of democracy that I have ever seen.

Millions of people depend on public libraries -- These millions are the 'electorate'. Users of public libraries are calling for this CMS Committee's members to represent the electorate and demonstrate that its purpose is to monitor the performance of DCMS and its associated bodies (in line with their mission statement, below).

"The Culture, Media and Sport Committee monitors the policy, administration and expenditure of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and its associated bodies, including the BBC, on behalf of the House of Commons and the electorate." http://www.parliament.uk/cmscom

Ms Bradshaw's statements to The Bookseller on behalf of the Committee indicate a misunderstanding of the electorate's complaints. The electorate is requesting that, in line with its mission statement, the Committee scrutinise the Culture Minister and Secretary of State's performance in office and report on whether the electorate's complaints are or are not justified. They also ask that, correspondingly, the policies of DCMS and its associated bodies be analysed as to whether they are fit for purpose of providing an improving library service. Similarly, they expect the Committee to examine how and whether the Department's use of public money has improved the service for users.

The electorate will, with reason, be dismayed if Committee Members indicate by their lack of response to oral and written evidence that they find the whole matter tedious or unworthy of their expertise. It is bad for Parliament's credibility, generally, if the CMS Committee is perceived, in this matter, to be a less than rigorous body which might pull out all its guns for one Inquiry, but appear to keep them holstered for another. The public have not come to any judgment about that ... yet; they merely trust that the well-being of the library service on which they depend will be be in sharp focus each time the Committee sits and that witnesses who may intend to mislead the Committee will not go unchallenged or sent home after a nice cup of tea.

Mr Vaizey or should I say Evaizey giving evidence? Thats about the only thing he will have done during the Campaign by so many communities to keep their Libraries open apart from ignoring thousands of letters and taking no action at all.

Why are the committee not hearing and asking questions of campaigners, hearing the lengths they went to in order to stop closures AND stay within budget, the stonewalling of alternative ideas to closures by councils, the clear agenda to cut services not just budgets.Could it be because its a predetermined outcome.

As coordinator of the Friends of Somerset Library legal challenge against SCC, and having requested intervention from the Secretary of State to no avail, I submitted written evidence to the Select Committee. This detailed the difficluty of dealing with the whole situation and especially focused on the failings of DCMS. I volunteered to give verbal evidence to support my written evidence. I am therefore very disappointed that the equiry will not be calling for supportive verbal testimony from those actually involved locally with the issues the inquiry is trying to evaluate.
I note the comment from the Inquiry manager Elizabeth Bradshaw who said: "The committee can't delve into individual campaigns" This was the major criticism of Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt and Minister Ed Vaizey that they have refused to 'delve' and intervene in any individual library campaign. The inquiry therefore seems to be repeating the same policy error.

John Irven

Why is this enquiry not taking evidence from grass roots campaigners? It is the young, the poor and the elderly of our nation that are feeling the effects of the cuts and closures, so why not hear from a few of them? Despite the number of submissions made from the Isle of Wight, the only oral evidence they are taking is from the architect of the Draconian cuts they have made (5 out of 11 libraries now have no council funding)- the IOW Council leader. Despite a meeting with officers of the DCMS at which some 500+ pages of written evidence were submitted, numerous letters and email sent the Ed Vaizey and his department, the only response was "We'll sit back to wait and see what happens and treat each case individually" Is it not time that Ed Vaizey changed his name by deed poll to Emperor Nero? The entire handling of this matter, the statutory duty of the DCMS, has been a total disgrace and certainly does not come under any definition of democracy that I have ever seen.

Millions of people depend on public libraries -- These millions are the 'electorate'. Users of public libraries are calling for this CMS Committee's members to represent the electorate and demonstrate that its purpose is to monitor the performance of DCMS and its associated bodies (in line with their mission statement, below).

"The Culture, Media and Sport Committee monitors the policy, administration and expenditure of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and its associated bodies, including the BBC, on behalf of the House of Commons and the electorate." http://www.parliament.uk/cmscom

Ms Bradshaw's statements to The Bookseller on behalf of the Committee indicate a misunderstanding of the electorate's complaints. The electorate is requesting that, in line with its mission statement, the Committee scrutinise the Culture Minister and Secretary of State's performance in office and report on whether the electorate's complaints are or are not justified. They also ask that, correspondingly, the policies of DCMS and its associated bodies be analysed as to whether they are fit for purpose of providing an improving library service. Similarly, they expect the Committee to examine how and whether the Department's use of public money has improved the service for users.

The electorate will, with reason, be dismayed if Committee Members indicate by their lack of response to oral and written evidence that they find the whole matter tedious or unworthy of their expertise. It is bad for Parliament's credibility, generally, if the CMS Committee is perceived, in this matter, to be a less than rigorous body which might pull out all its guns for one Inquiry, but appear to keep them holstered for another. The public have not come to any judgment about that ... yet; they merely trust that the well-being of the library service on which they depend will be be in sharp focus each time the Committee sits and that witnesses who may intend to mislead the Committee will not go unchallenged or sent home after a nice cup of tea.