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Warrington’s libraries saga set to rumble on

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THE ongoing saga over the future of the town’s libraries looks set to rumble on until at least November.

Following the extensive public consultation members of the borough council’s executive board have now decided to go back to the drawing board by forming a working party to oversee the next phase of the “modernisation” of the town’s libraries.

A draft report by library operators LiveWire, which aimed to keep libraries open pending ongoing negotiations has now been shelved while representatives from the council, LiveWire and independent advisers form a working group.

One wonders what cost it has taken in man hours to get to this stage following the various public consultations – with many more hours head – all brought about by a need to cut £300,000 a year from the library budgets.

I’m glad I’m not the one who has to plan budgets for the year ahead!

Meanwhile LiveWire have yet again come under fire from Warrington North MP Helen Jones, this time for not paying their staff the Living Wage.

While Warrington Borough Council, who are implementing the squeeze on LiveWire may have agreed to pay their staff the Living Wage, they are set to put up council tax by 4.98 per cent, which is way above the rate of inflation.

Many businesses up and down the country are struggling to pay the minimum wage, let alone the Living Wage and in comparison to many in their industry, the rates of pay at LiveWire, which will be £7.50 an hour from April 1st are above the average market rates in their sector.

Maybe it is time for Helen Jones to sit down with the LiveWire Board and help come up with solutions. Theree is an invitation on the table from LiveWire.

It is always easy to criticise but not so easy to come up with solutions – particularly during these times of austerity and budget cuts.

Negative thoughts and comments can create negative outcomes.

We all need to try and pull in the same direction for the benefit of our town. Even if you don’t get on with people it is better to sit down at a table and discuss solutions rather than firing bullets.

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About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

5 Comments

  1. “We all need to try and pull in the same direction for the benefit of our town. Even if you don’t get on with people it is better to sit down at a table and discuss solutions rather than firing bullets”.

    Would sitting around a table holding discussions with WBC, LiveWire etc. actually achieve anything?
    Wasn’t the public consultation with regard to the libraries an ‘open discussion’ with the people of Warrington?
    And the result of that was? ………to disregard the opinions expressed by the public, scrap the report and form a working party to go ahead with the ‘modernisation’ of the libraries that the public had stated that they didn’t want.

  2. How do you know until you try? It has to be worth a go surely. ‘Nothing ventured nothing gained’ goes the saying. And this would not be a consultation. This would involve the decision makers and informed experienced Warrington people sitting around the table, thrashing out idea’s to end up with some kind of viable solution. And yes, maybe it won’t be an easy exercise. But that doesn’t mean that you reject it out of hand. For a certain person to sit firing bullets whilst offering no solutions of her own, even refusing to meet with officials is very very poor. She needs to be reminded that she is here to represent her constituents; the ones who voted for her and equally the ones who didn’t vote for her. They expect to see her get involved and play her part on their behalf. After all that is why she is an MP. Local people expect her to step up. They don’t expect to see her simply playing to her own party political agenda.

  3. Billy Wires says, ……… “And this would not be a consultation. This would involve the decision makers and informed experienced Warrington people sitting around the table, thrashing out idea’s to end up with some kind of viable solution.”
    No Billy, it would certainly not be a consultation – nobodies opinions are going to be asked.
    It seems that what is planned is a meeting at which the “decision makers” will be revealing the ways and means they have devised to bypass the results of the public consultation and will be directing the “informed, experienced Warrington people” on how to progress their original ideas to achieve the ‘modernisation’ of the library services.

    Billy you really need to remember that the people you refer to as “decision makers” are actually merely public servants whose duty it is to serve the people of Warrington and the people you describe as “informed, experienced Warrington people” are LiveWire – managers /employees – in whom the public have lately not expressed confidence. No doubt there will also be council officers present – employed to serve the servants of the public.
    Helen Jones – yet another public servant – has decided up to now not to join the ‘servants meeting’. Whether it’s to ensure that she properly fulfils her duties to the people she is paid to serve or just because she doesn’t want to put her well paid position into jeopardy is not the point The point Billy is that she is not taking any part in forwarding plans which have been overwhelmingly rejected by ‘The People’ who pay all of these servants.

  4. Sounds more like a dereliction of duty to me? It’s an easy excuse to claim that a perceived pre-ordained decision somehow justifies not turning up to give your opinions, state your views and offer possible solutions. Regrettably I’d say she is not taking part due to having little or no interest in the outcome. And the longer she stays away the more people may think the same. Modus operandi. Shout. Point finger. Bluster. Refuse to meet. Move on. Shout. Point finger. Bluster. Refuse to meet. Move on.

  5. It’s Helen Jones’ duty to support the People of Warrington not a group of public servants who are attempting to ignore the results of the public consultation and push their own plans through.
    The fact that the local MP considers LiveWire not fit for purpose together with the petitions against ‘modernisation’ of the libraries will seriously hamper their chances of obtaining outside funding to progress their plans – Helen Jones must continue to refuse to have any negotiations with them.

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