Introduction
 In common with local authorities across the country, the Council is having to make significant savings to balance its budget and protect essential services. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Council’s finances has further increased these budget pressures.

Bexley’s Library Service receives funding of £4,393,000 a year (with a net controllable budget of £2.91m). The Council is considering options to reduce the cost of the Library Service in order to respond to the challenging financial position, whilst continuing to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. The options outlined  are based on: a Needs Assessment undertaken by the Council; changing patterns of customer behaviour before the Coronavirus pandemic and new ways of working developed during the pandemic; and technical innovation.  We are seeking to implement changes that will have the least impact on the service, whilst also being mindful of the substantial financial challenges that the Council is facing.

More detailed information about the proposals can be found in the  Consultation Proposals 2020 document. An Equalities Impact Assessment has also been undertaken by the Council (and forms part of the Needs Assessment)  in order to ascertain the likely impact of the options being considered by the Council on those with protected characteristics (such as those with disabilities etc) and the measures which can be introduced to mitigate any such impact wherever possible. A copy of the Needs Assessment and the Consultation Proposals 2020 document can be found online at www.bexley.gov.uk/consultations or can be obtained from libraries in Bexley. They can also be provided by post upon written request.

Below are a number of questions that will help us to ascertain your views on the proposals being considered.  Before completing the questions, please read and refer to the Consultation Proposals document and the Needs Assessment which set out the Council’s options under consideration in detail.

We would welcome your feedback to help shape the way the Library Service adapts to library users’ changing needs and patterns of usage as well as the challenging financial climate.  If you do not support some of these proposals, we would welcome your reasonable alternative suggestions regarding making significant savings in the cost of the Library Service whilst ensuring that the service remains comprehensive and efficient that meets the needs of library users.
 
Your feedback will be used to help the Council make decisions on the future of library provision in Bexley. The indicative timescales for the decision making process is as follows:
 
Consultation begins 28 September 2020
Consultation ends (survey closes) 19 December  2020
Consultation outcome reported to Public
Cabinet meeting and decisions taken
25 January 2021
Implementation of changes to the Library Service Late spring/ early Summer 2021

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