Wrexham Council scraps plans to outsource libraries

Wrexham Council scraps plans to outsource libraries

Wrexham Council is scrapping plans to hand over its libraries to a trust after a review revealed it would cost it £200,000 a year less to continue running the facilities itself.

A financial review showed transferring the North Wales county's 11 libraries to a trust would cost the council £371,000 worth of additional costs, such as paying for the trust's management structure, eating into the council's projected savings of £169,000 a year in business rates relief, the Daily Post reported.

The plans to outsource Wrexham's libraries to a new culture trust were first announced in 2014. Its aim was "staving off the threat of closure" to the county’s libraries "in light of the ongoing budget cuts" and to give them a “sustainable” future. An alternative method of delivery was to be provided by April 2015.

It explored and dismissed the possibility of partnering with South Wales Trust amid calls to create a local trust for Wrexham libraries, according to Wrexham.com, and now has decided to keep things inhouse, because the plan to outsource is "no longer financially viable" or "cost effective".

The report to councillors said: “Taking into account the outcome of both the legal and financial review, it is felt no longer financially viable at this time to set up an independent trust to potentially deliver the council’s library, heritage and archives services and that the most cost-effective option at this point in time is to retain these services within the council.

“A trust would need to form a management structure, funds for which would need to be sought from within the service budget which would inevitably lead to either increased costs or a need to find a saving from within the operational budget.

“This would inevitably lead to service changes such as reduction of service/opening hours. Even the most efficient management structure would result in a trust costing £202,000 more per year than an in house model.”

Members of the executive board will be asked tomorrow (12th July) to vote against proceeding with the trust proposal and to retain the services.