Brent council has hit the headlines - and the courts - for planning to shut half its libraries. Other councils have already done so.
But there is an alternative as demonstrated by this article(Guardian Society, 19 October) which reiterates the need for councils to make strategic decisions about services across council departments rather than in isolation.
Shared sites – like libraries, children’s centres and schools - are the way forward for cash-strapped local communities and make economic and social sense for councils in tough times.
But this kind of working can only happen if council departments stop the historical model of working in silos with separate budgets. Councils and other local agencies need to be creative and work with local residents to develop ‘centres for all ages’.
They need to develop locality models to deliver a range of services around hubs with integrated teams. It’s short-sighted to close libraries, children’s centres and other local facilities. Where there’s a will, there’s a way – councils can save money and deliver services in different ways to better serve communities. 21 October 2011