Councils consider joint venture for libraries, seafront and tourism services

Posted on Wednesday 8th March 2017
Councils consider joint venture for libraries, seafront and tourism services

Borough of Poole and Bournemouth Borough Council have unveiled proposals to create joint library, seafront and tourism services.

A new joint library service would oversee the operation of 22 public libraries across Poole and Bournemouth. The new service, managed by Borough of Poole, would save the two councils over half a million pounds over the next three years.

In a separate proposal, a joint seafront and tourism service, run by Bournemouth Borough Council, is intended to save nearly one quarter of a million pounds annually from 2019/20.

Reports on both proposals will be considered by Poole Cabinet members on Tuesday 14 March and Bournemouth Cabinet members on Wednesday 22 March. They will also consider a report setting how the two councils will share more joint services in future

Cllr Mohan Iyengar, Poole Cabinet Member for Economy, Culture and Leisure said, “Our councils are working together across a range of services to protect and modernise them while keeping within tighter budgets. The joint library service is one example. It’s not about closures or reduced hours, but about pooling our resources and know-how to expand the service, as well as making efficiencies where it makes sense.

Cllr Lawrence Williams, Cabinet Member for Tourism, Leisure and the Arts at Bournemouth Borough Council said, “Providing services jointly creates an opportunity to deliver significant budget savings and make services more sustainable in the long-term. Tourism within Bournemouth and Poole is worth £940million to the local economy, providing jobs for 16,400 people. A joint seafront and tourism service would build on the strong reputation of both destinations in the increasingly competitive tourism market.”

Changes to the Tourism and Seafront operation have met with industry support. John Green, Chairman of Bournemouth Tourism Management Board said, “Bournemouth and Poole attract over 11 million visitors a year and so it makes perfect sense to combine the management and development of Tourism and the Seafront, for the benefit of the whole area.”

Paul Dredge, Acting Chair of the Poole Tourism Management Board, added, “I welcome the recommendations since they show the councils’ commitment to Tourism and to the fantastic brands that make up the identity of Bournemouth and Poole. We look forward to Bournemouth and Poole Tourism Management Boards working closer to provide a strong leadership, strengthening tourism which is vital to the economic growth of the area.”

All councils address their budget position through short, medium and long-term strategies, which need to align and complement each other to ensure sound financial management, effective future service planning and balanced year-end budgets.

In the short term, councils set their budgets annually. Since 2010, this has taken place against an incredibly challenging background of budget reductions, rising demand for services and increasing need to raise income and identify additional & alternative funding streams.

Medium Term Financial Plans (MTFP) forecast three years ahead for each council, based on knowledge about actual and expected income and expenditure. For Bournemouth and Poole, the MTFPs need to deliver £11million and £6million of savings respectively by the end of the financial year 2018/19.

Working together, the councils aim to contribute to these savings through a programme of joint service delivery that will see a number of departments come together in order to reduce costs across both councils. During 2017/18, joint service delivery will be progressed across a number of corporate services.

In the long term, plans for Future Dorset – which would see the county’s existing nine councils replaced with two new unitary authorities - will create sustainable councils beyond 2019, protecting local services in the future. All the details can be found at www.futuredorset.co.uk.