Sunday, October 05, 2008

Safe in their Hands?

a desk top computer taped up with crime scene tape We’ve all read the news about how government officials have been mislaying data discs and laptops containing sensitive or personal data and security breaches at places like the DVLA.

Now Redbridge Council are at it too. An eagle eyed reader of this blog spotted a Job Advert on the internet. [It is no longer there but we have the evidence.] It was for a position in the Redbridge Libraries Department. The thing is it gave the complete library hierarchy with names and grades – that is, who earns what. You just have to look up the grade rates, it’s not difficult. The disclosure of personal information such as this on the world wide web is a bit of a drop off, but despite repeated enquiries there has been no admission of guilt or apology. Just the removal of said web page.

However, we now come to the really interesting bit. A page of text describing the Library Department that included this: “A number of projects are currently being investigated. The remodelling of the central library, one of the largest central libraries in London, is considered a priority and would be a major project. At least two other libraries could be replaced in the next few years as part of local commercial redevelopments. Discussions are also taking place with a housing association with a view to opening a further new library.”

This appears to indicate that two Libraries are to be sold off for commercial development. They do say “replaced”, but they also promised to replace the Public Toilets demolished for a commercial development at the north end of Barkingside High Street, er, let me think when was that, 3, 4 years ago. Not there yet! Still no replacement. Another question we might raise is that the so called Big Conversation made no mention of selling libraries nor the potential funding that could generate. Hmmmm. I wonder which two?

Mind you, according to this report in the Wanstead & Woodford Guardian they probably expect us to access the library “service” via a remote terminal in the future. A library with no books – whatever next. Who remembers the “paperless office”? It never happened did it!


  1. mr angry of fullwell8:22 am, October 06, 2008

    Are you aware of the current Government plan to spend £12 BILLION to enable GCHQ to monitor all our mobile calls and internet blogging?

    Come the revolution, I shall expect to find you with me at the barricades!

  2. One would applaud the Library Service for some medium/Long term planning, if the proceeds of the possible sales of Libraries went towards improving the Library Service, and did not interrupt the current service, however, the danger is the the money would be spent elsewhere on grandiose and unsustainable Leisure projects or to prop up a Council Budget.


  3. ......... or on special responsibility allowances to be doled out to puppets by the leader of the council.

    The writing appears to be on the wall already for Gants Hill library, doubtless for yet another block of grotty flats. "Reprovision" of the facility will probably be made in a shop unit unfit for purpose. Has anybody actually seen the so-called library at Claybury Broadway (just round the corner from Stradbroke Grove) open? Or is it simply a facade with nothing behind it (and I'm still talking about the "library"!)?

    ROLL ON 6 MAY 2010.

  4. Yes! I've bin in there. And my daughter uses it too. But we live just round the corner and have an opening times leaflet.

  5. PS. It's not a patch on the community library in Aldersbrook but they have an MBE.

  6. It's surprising how much you can already do from your home computer. You can join a library (just take ID to pick up your card). You can search the library database, which includes a lot of London libraries. You can order books online (charge £1 payable when you collect your book; they email you when it arrives or a robot phones you). You can renew your books from home. For some of these sevices you need a PIN number as well as a library card number.

    Visit Tesco in Barkingside to see how customer self-service works there. Some libraries have already introduced a similar system, but some of them have found that they need more staff, not less, to help the readers use self-service!

    Arts Council England will soon be publishing 5000 novels online, so you can order in time for Christmas.

  7. The problem is not that the council is thinking about redeveloping some Libraries, but the perpetual secrecy behind all these things, as though we are not old or wise enough to be trusted with this information.
    2 examples -

    the council,when asked REFUSED to publish the quantities of returns of the "Conversation" what possible reason could there have been?

    The council refused to publish the figures and the report for
    the refurbishment of the swimming pool.

    This conspiracy of secrecy
    engenders a huge distrust by the electorate,(quite often justified) It would be much better to have it all out in the open for discussion, not 6 weeks before it happens,but when Officers start thinking about it, hopefully months or years in advance


  8. It isn't the library buildings in Redbridge that worry me it's the attitude to staff. Professional - ie qualified staff- have left the library service and there has been NO filling of their posts for five years whilst a "reorganisation" goes on. Istead they've staggered along using temporary staff. No way to run a library service.

    When Martim Timms retired as haed of libraries this year, doubtless to his great relief, he wasn't replaced by a qualified librarian. The head of culture (a very able woman but not a librarian, and already with a full workload) was appointed in his place. No advertising. No attempt to put in anyone qualified. Frankly libraries are regarded as a third tier service and treated as such by the Lords and Masters. And the bookstock looks the worse for wear due to inadequate book fund.

  9. Such strong comments, such valuable comments.
    Whenever the beleaguered deputy- leader is attacked from all sides :libraries, swimming pool, (the s has disappeared), allotments (the s is still there, just), she sighs, 'I would if I could but I have no money'. So, if she cannot do anything because she has no money, is she still drawing her salary whilst the CPCP are sent on a search for gold?
    This has gone on for months.
    Even when the CPCP have located the rainbow with pots of gold or spotted the goose which lays golden eggs, it will take years to sell the gold and get the money in the bank.
    So, the Cabinet has no use at all while there is no money.
    It's like paying a driver (I was not even thinking of the Leader, but it fits nicely!) when there is no fuel in the motor!

  10. The major problems that concern contributors to this forum (as well as many of those who manage to secure a published post on Redbridge-i) seem to be in the area of leisure and culture. An additional £860k is required for the restoration of Valentines Mansion and the Park over and above the £2-millions already committed; Fairlop requires some £400k (will they deliver on budget?); and we have the fiasco of the swimming pools and the near public revolution on allotments.

    This entire cabinet portfolio is clearly a poisoned challice. And to be fair to those who are or have been the cabinet members (and even I am fair occasionally) my opinion is that the real blame lies elsewhere. Those cabinet members who have held this portfolio appear to be extraordinarily badly served by a person or persons who may have little, if any, regard for the public who ought to be better served.

    Time for the cabinet to exert its management role.

  11. Thanks to B21, I read on the redbridge i that the CPCP meeting next Monday 13th October is the final meeting.
    Well, that was a closely guarded secret.
    If it was not for the effort of B21 (and the vibes from the maquis) I would not have had the slightest idea of how important that meeting is.
    I have been scanning the website for an entry in the calendar every day, more than once.
    I have been emailing the chairman of the CPCP, more than once. Is it a surprise that I am repetitive.
    If my English was better, I would use a stream of swear words.

  12. Merde, alors!

  13. Morris !!!
    And, no, that would not be powerful enough to describe my feelings!
    I probably should use bad words in English and simply write lots of *s but, then, you have to be really careful how many *s you write!

  14. Annes comment
    whilst the CPCP are sent on a search for gold?
    at this moment in the economy,the only thing they may find is Pyrite
    (Fools Gold)