Salford City Council – Libraries Review

The review of Salford library service was one of the most in-depth KKP has undertaken in a portfolio that now extends to audits, reviews and restructure support for more than ten library services across the country.

Underpinned by an up-to-date review of the work of the Libraries Taskforce – Ambition for Public Libraries, the Universal Offer, Six Steps and Children’s Promise Initiatives, the Shaping the Future/Good Practice Toolkit, Libraries as a Statutory Service – we conducted an in-depth appraisal and public consultation in respect of the service in Salford.

The methodology encompassed analysis of the existing position: facilities, structures, assets, co-location, stock, customers, staffing, mobile and home deliver plus evaluation of financial and cost data. This was supplemented by individual library audits, staff consultation and analysis of customer perspectives via a survey which reached 3,600 residents. We tested the current (and proposed) operating model to assess impact on access, geographic coverage and how to generate savings based on staffing review and further co-location.

Work was underpinned by GIS-based mapping to facilitate review of scenarios, including the testing of closures and other variations to determine the extent to which key catchments continue to be serviced. This was accompanied by a modelled cost-coverage matrix whereby the marginal cost/subsidy of running each site is factored into a savings calculation.

Upon completion and adoption of the report, the City Council announced its intention to invest up to £590,000 over the following four years across the service, which is managed by Salford Community Leisure Ltd (SCL). The outcome will be expanded provision and opening hours at lower net service cost. Concurrently, the Council will invest in new state-of-the-art IT equipment, digital learning and extra services delivered at and via libraries.

It will also expand into seven new co-located sites, including the Helly Hansen Watersports Centre and its planned new leisure centres. As a result, weekly opening hours will double. This investment should also take £1.26 million off the revenue costs of the service over the next four years.

This review is one of a sequence of assignments that KKP has conducted for Salford City Council and Salford Community Leisure, which also includes key business development support, indoor and built facilities strategy (which is informing major new capital investment), and the fourth iteration of the City’s playing pitch strategy.

Contact: john.eady@kkp.co.uk