The Tri-borough project which aims to combine various services across the three local authorities Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster Council was hailed as the great saviour of libraries and other public services in the age of austerity. According to both the BBC and the Guardian, not a single library would close due to the groundbreaking savings that would come from this bold new project.
So now that St James' library has closed, and Hammersmith and Fulham has relinquished responsibility of two libraries we all sit with baited breaths waiting to see how much more Tri-borough can save. The plan is that across all three boroughs, the Tri-borough project will save £33M per year across all affected services and emphasis has been put on savings being generated by combining purchase contracts and sharing services.
In Libraries the expected saving is £1.1M per year across the three local authorities since the service is already very inexpensive, most of those savings will come from further reducing staff numbers across all three boroughs... bold?... Yes... New... No!
Every Library across all three boroughs that now has a self-service machine has seen a reduction of staff due to the introduction of those machines to the detriment of the level of service Westminster prides itself on. As the project announces progression towards its first £1M saving and in Libraries this would be through staff reductions, one can only hope that the architects of these great new remember the service's obligation to the public above financial conveniences and profit.