A former assistant director of Lincolnshire County Council has written to the Government calling for them to take action to halt controversial changes to the county’s libraries.
Maurice Nauta wants Maria Miller MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to intervene and order an urgent inquiry into the changes which he has described as unlawful.
Mr Nauta was a senior manager in the library service - and several other frontline services
in the county - from 1988 to 2002.
He says his actions are a separate development to recent calls for a judicial review into the library process.
Mr Nauta said: “I would like to make clear that my decision to write to the Secretary of State at The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is not the result of any political agenda.
“Throughout my long career in library administration (in Lincolnshire and elsewhere) I worked comfortably with individuals and councils of all parties with the aim of providing both a high quality service and the best possible value for money to ratepayers.
“I am appalled at the way this whole affair has been handled. Decisions have been made before
proper debate and consultation.
“Promises to protect frontline services have been broken. The views of most people consulted have been ignored. Alternative proposals have been ignored or dealt with high-handedly.
“Local communities are being forced to run their local libraries on a take it or lose it basis, and yet what is being put in its place can be shown to be less efficient and not comprehensive.
“Even worse, little heed has been paid to the most vulnerable groups in society, many of whom will need to spend money even getting to library in future, or choose to lose their service completely.
“Little thought seems to have been given to any development of library services in the future.”
Mr Nauta says he wrote to County Council leader Martin Hill last June outlining his concerns.
He added: “I suggested a different approach which would start with residents being asked for their views on the future of library services.”
“I acknowledged that they do need to change. I offered my help with this. In the same letter, I suggested an alternative approach to budget reductions, which would mean LCC joining with co-
terminous library services and saving on management and support services.
“I did not and still have not had an acknowledgement, let alone a reply to that letter.”
Mr Nauta is waiting for a reply from the Government regarding his latest letter.
He said: “I have supplied the Secretary of State with detailed and factual information so that she can judge for herself whether she believes that LCC has acted appropriately in pushing through proposals which I fear will not only destroy the library service in Lincolnshire, but damage the sense of community, hope and democracy across the whole of the country’s second largest county.”