Library campaigners slam Business influence on arrangements to run Library of Birmingham

library privatisation godzillaLibrary campaigners have criticised the unrepresentative composition of the proposed Strategic Management Board of the Library of Birmingham. In a open letter to Sir Albert Bore the Friends of the Library of Birmingham have raised the disprortionate influence of Business interests on the new Board.

The City Council Cabinet is to meet on Monday 29th July 2013 to discuss a new Governance arrangement to oversee the future development of the Library Of Birmingham.

The Strategic Management Board proposal provides equal weighting on the Board to members of the Library of Birmingham Development Trust and to Officers and members of the City Council. The proposed arrangements identifies that the Board of eleven members will include ‘five Library of Birmingham Development Trustees with connections to Birmingham businesses’.

The original Business Case for the Library of Birmingham, published in 2007, explicitly identified the priority and the challenge of combatting social exclusion in the city, and the need to do more to attract users to the new Library from groups at risk of social exclusion.

The Library campaign has criticised the selection of the trustees to the Library of Birmingham Development Trust as unrepresentative of the diverse population of Birmingham. According to the open letter:

The selection of trustees with such a narrow range of business interests and ethnic backgrounds cannot take forward an inclusive vision of the Library of Birmingham as a cultural resource for all of the citizens of Birmingham.

The campaigners are also concerend that the Trustess will adversely influence the development of the Library as a corporate and commercial space.

Regarding the privatisation proposals for the Friends of the LoB welomes the Cabinet’s acceptance that an ‘in-house service is now considered to be more appropriate’ for delivering the running of the new Library.

The Library campaign remains concerned that the Strategic Management Board might propose a future procurement and has called the terms of reference of the Board to include and explicit commitment ‘which charges the Strategic Management Board with ensuring that the service will be publicly run in perpetuity.’

A spokesperson for the campaign said:

The future development of our Library of Birmingham should be citizen led not handed over to millionaires. It is appalling that there is no representation on the Development Board from Black and Minority ethnic communities. Their conception of the ‘Great of the Good’ of Birmingham is positively victorian.

The trustees for the Library of Birmingham Development Trust:

SIR DAVID CANNADINE
DAME CHRISTINE BRADDOCK
STEWART TOWE CBE
MR TIM PILE
MR PAUL FAULKNER
MR KEITH BRADSHAW
SIR DOMINIC CADBURY
MS FRANCINE HOUBEN

Source: The Charity Commission

Background on the Trustees

Sir David Cannadine A British historian and is currently a professor at Princeton University.

Dame Christine Braddock The Principal and Chief Executive of Birmingham Metropolitan College Group . A member of the Birmingham Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). She is also a council member of CBI West Midlands.

Stewart Towe The Group Managing Director of Hadley Industries Holdings Ltd.

Tim Pile Executive Chairman of Cogent Elliott Tim leads the strategic direction of Cogent.

Paul Faulkner is CEO Aston Villa FC

Keith Bradshaw is chairman and 50 per cent owner of Listers – the largest privately owned motor group in England. He appears as No 38 on the Birmingham Post Rich List (2013):

Sir Dominic Cadbury joined Cadbury Schweppes in 1964. He was appointed to the Board in 1975, serving as Group Chief Executive from 1983 to 1993, then as Chairman until his planned retirement on his 60th birthday on 12 May 2000.

His non-executive positions include Chairman of the Economist Group and Joint Deputy Chairman of EMI. Since November 2005 he is the chairman of Misys plc. He was appointed Chancellor of the University of Birmingham on 2 May 2002

Francine Houben the architect and director Mecanoo, and designer of the new Library of Birmingham

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One response to “Library campaigners slam Business influence on arrangements to run Library of Birmingham

  1. Pingback: Birmingham Trades Council » Library campaigners slam Business influence on arrangements to run Library of Birmingham

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