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Plans for private firm to run new Library of Birmingham are shelved

Plans to find a company to run the £187 million Library of Birmingham have been shelved, it has emerged.

The new Library of Birmingham is due to open in September 2013

Plans to find a company to run the £187 million Library of Birmingham have been shelved, it has emerged.

The city council’s own library service will instead run the Centenary Square building, due to open in September.

The authority’s Labour administration stopped the tender process, saying it wanted to focus on finishing and opening library rather than worry about appointing a management firm.

But it also emerged that bosses were concerned about the risking of paying out more cash if they agreed an early contract and then ran into unforeseen problems with the building.

A council spokesman said: “A procurement process for the operational management of the new library was started earlier this year but is not currently being progressed.

“The priority at this point is that the iconic building is completed, opened and starts to deliver an excellent range of services for residents and visitors to Birmingham.

“Once this enormous task has been completed successfully, and we start to get a greater understanding of the requirements of the service, we will be in a better position to put together detailed specifications for the running of the new library.

"We have commissioned a world class library and we will not be rushed in the process to ensure it delivers an excellent service that is value for money and sustainable.”

Protest group Communities Against the Cuts campaigns against the privatisation of council services.

It argued companies should not profit from the taxpayer-funded library and said it would keep a close eye on future developments.

A spokeswoman said: “The council has only suspended this proposed privatisation.

“It said it would review its decision in March, 2014. They can expect an angry and vigorous public campaign to stop this privatisation from taking place.”

 

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