DCMS consults on closing library advisory body

DCMS consults on closing library advisory body

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a consultation into the closure of the Advisory Council on Libraries (ACL), four years after the body was last convened.

In 2010, the secretary of state for culture announced the intention to close the ACL, as part of wider plans to close down several public bodies.

The ACL was created as part of the 1964 Libraries and Museums Act, as a statutory body to advise the secretary of state on the provision of library facilities. However, in the consultation document, the DCMS makes clear that it no longer thinks the body is necessary.

It said in the document: "The Government considers that it is no longer necessary for ACL to continue as a statutory body and that its abolition will enable the Secretary of State to more efficiently and effectively fulfil the legal duties under the 1964 Act.  The Secretary of State’s power to intervene has only been utilised on one occasion since 1964 with intervention by way of public inquiry taking place into the Wirral library authority in 2009.  The ACL was not consulted in relation to this intervention and did not provide any advice."

It added that the DCMS now works with bodies such as Arts Council England and the Society of Chief Librarians to ensure it has "appropriate intelligence about the library sector", and said the "DCMS has mechanisms in place to advise the secretary of state on the use of the statutory powers".

Responses can be sent via email to cal@culture.gsi.gov.uk until 9th May, and hard copy responses can be sent to Advisory Council on Libraries, Libraries Team, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 4th Floor, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ.