The contract for a new library service for Croydon has moved a step closer to a decision.
The contract was originally recommended to go to John Laing Integrated Services (JLIS) as the Council’s preferred library-operating partner but the process was halted after issues were raised over its pension contributions.
Now JLIS have been recommended once again as the preferred bidder, although the scrunity committee may still decide to examine the contract.
The council’s original decision to award the contract to JLIS last November proved controversial. Due to the company making a last minute amendment to its obligations concerning employer pension contributions, the bidding was reopened.
“In line with EU contract tendering rules, the council reopened the bidding to other final-stage bidders,” a council press release said.
Two revised bids were submitted and “carefully assessed” to find the most “economically advantageous terms.”
Councillor Tim Pollard, the cabinet member responsible for the service said: “I’m very pleased that we’ve reached this point so quickly after the recent delay.”
The council said: ”The move continues to be seen as the best means of ensuring there will be no risk of Croydon losing any of its libraries.”
Back in 2011 Croydon Council went out to consultation on the idea of closing several libraries in order to meet budget savings targets. Residents were asked their opinion on what impact the closure of some branch libraries might have as the council attempted to make savings of £90 million over four years.
There was at the time considerable local disquiet about the privatisation of the library services, and the secrecy of the tendering process which were reported on ELL at the time.
The council anticipate that the new privately run library services will start from the beginning of October.