Jobs could go at TIC and library

Fewer staff will be needed at library and tourist information centres across Northumberland as part of a proposed shake-up.

Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 12:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 12:23 pm
Berwick Library.

Active Northumberland is proposing to make some changes to its organisational structure and has begun a formal consultation with its staff and union representatives.

The proposals mean that, for leisure services, the activities of the community sports and development teams would be more closely aligned with leisure operations to improve services for the community while also making services more efficient.

In terms of library and tourist information centre services, the proposals are designed to retain and improve the county’s services, bringing them together with other facilities where possible and developing them to meet the needs of residents and visitors in the future. Combining services will mean longer opening times for visitors and in some locations it would also provide the public with a one stop shop for their information, library and leisure needs.

The proposals are that:

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Services are integrated at main sites such as Cramlington, Bedlington, Morpeth, Ponteland, Ashington, Blyth, Berwick and Hexham

Morpeth Library is co-located at a new site in Manchester Street

Guidepost Library is moved into Cleeswell Hill Centre alongside Schools Library Service

Retail goods at tourist information sites are reduced or removed over the next 12 months and alternative methods of providing those services are considered

Active Northumberland’s back office functions and administration support are combined within a central unit at County Hall for resilience and efficiency

Mobile library services are reviewed and options to work in partnership with others are considered to make services more efficient

There will be no change to Prison Library service

There will be no change to Schools Library service

Acting chief executive Stuart Crichton said: “While we as a charity needs to reduce costs in the region of £3.5m over the next two years, this is not the sole reason for these changes.

“The aim is to better integrate the organisations brought together under the umbrella of the charity over the last two years. The changes are proposed to make the structure of the charity and the services it offers sustainable and stable for the future.

“Integrating services at a number of locations across Northumberland will also mean fewer staff will be required. We are planning to reduce posts with voluntary redundancy wherever possible. We will do everything we can to avoid any compulsory redundancies.

“I do believe we have an exciting future ahead of us and that these proposals will help to ensure we are on a firm footing to embrace it.”