Kent looks to outsource over 90 libraries

Kent looks to outsource over 90 libraries

Kent County Council is considering handing more than 90 libraries to an outside body, as it begins a major programming of outsourcing.

The authority is looking at the option of retaining the ownership of the libraries, but passing the running to bodies such as charitable trusts, arms-length companies and joint ventures.

A similar scheme has already been carried out by the City of York, with libraries in the city now run by Explore York Libraries and Archives, a mutual benefit society supported by the council.

Kent Online reported that the Conservative-run Kent council was considering the move to save on the £13m budget the council had for library and archive services this year.

A trust operating with charity status is eligible for various tax breaks, such as an exemption from paying business rates, and would have greater access to grants from bodies like the National Lottery.

Councillor Mike Hill told Kent Online: "We are looking at a range of options and are drawing up a business case. There are number of different models but in principle, it would work as some kind of trust."

Kent County Council is currently carrying out a wholesale review of its services as it looks to make future savings.