Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries welcome the news that the Equality and Human Rights Commission have stepped in to help ensure that Gloucestershire County Council comply with equality legislation when drawing up their new library strategy. The County Council’s original library cuts, which were first announced in November 2010, were completely quashed in the High Court on November 16th 2011 as they were ruled by Judge McKenna to be “bad government” and a “substantive breach” of equalities legislation.
We have been concerned by Council Leader Mark Hawthorne’s comments, widely reported in the press since the ruling and repeated in a full County Council meeting, claiming that he was “tripped up by a small technicality”. We hope that EHRC intervention means that Gloucestershire County Council will now be fully briefed on the serious work that needs to be done to make sure they do not make the same errors again. We expect to see substantial changes to their library closure and cuts plans in light of this.