It has been brought to our attention that Gloucestershire County Council are running “library workshops”as part of the libraries consultation and are paying attendees £40 each in shopping vouchers to be spent at Tesco and Sainsbury as detailed in this invite Invite – workshops BME (this was sent to us by a FoGL member, we have not been notified by GCC, nor have we been asked to circulate the invite. We have no idea who this invite has been sent to). The invite states that the library review is happening due to “limited resources”. We are disgusted that Gloucestershire County Council sees fit to place tax-payers money into the pockets of retail giants like Tesco and Sainsbury when they claim they do not have the money to run basic public services?
It is particularly galling as this consultation is only happening because Gloucestershire County Council made such a monumental mess of the libraries review the first time around. Such a mess that a High Court ruled them to be guilty of “bad government” and a “fundamental breach of the law”. Despite plenty of warnings GCC insisted on leading the tax payers of Gloucestershire into the costly court case. They are now paying a research company £60k of our money to do a new consultation, one that has been roundly criticized, and now they are giving our money to big business – all because they would not listen. We are not against incentives to take part in the consultation but this is thoughtless and excessive. It seems unfair that Tesco and Sainsbury are benefiting from brutal cuts to our much loved library service. How many books would this money have bought? How many wages could it pay?
Gloucestershire County Council continue to make one mistake after another at our expense.
We have asked for further details regarding the format that these “indepth workshops” will take and the questions to be asked in them. We have asked
- Please can you provide us with the consultation briefing Vector received from Gloucestershire County Council?
- Please can you tell us how you are selecting groups for the “deliberative workshops”? Who has the invite gone to?
- Please can you tell us what format the workshops will take. What questions will be asked and how will the workshops be facilitated?
- Please can you also tell us how you intend to analyze the data you received before people were directed to answer “3.3” to the 10 point scoring questions? (3.3×3 does not equal 10 so this would not have been a natural selection for people to make. Clearly this will skew the data)
For some reason both Vector Research and Gloucestershire County Council have so far failed to respond to or even acknowledge our queries. Have you attended a “workshop”? Please feel free to email your thoughts about the experience at firstname.lastname@example.org
Update : the Vector representative has sent us an email refusing to answer our questions as we are not his “client” (after telling us at the roadshow in Cheltenham that he did not have time to talk to us and advising us to email him with our questions). As tax payers of Gloucestershire who are paying for the services of Vector we would argue that we ARE the clients. We are left wondering at the reason for the lack of transparency regarding the collection of data that will decide the future of our important public service!
Gloucestershire County Council have refused to answer due to “data protection issues”. a spurious reason given that we have requested no personal data and that they need to be at pains to demonstrate they are doing things properly this time. What ARE they afraid of?