Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Ruthin and by video conference


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No. Item



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The Chair advised members that Plaid Cymru had changed its representative on the Committee, with Councillor Arwel Roberts replacing Councillor Delyth Jones as the Group’s representative.





Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting.

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Responding to enquiries relating to declaring personal or personal and prejudicial interests in the meeting’s business the Monitoring Officer advised that:

·       councillors who periodically used library facilities were not deemed to have an interest that affected or favoured them more than any member of the public; and

·       being a signatory to a call-in was not deemed to be a personal or personal and prejudicial interest as the right to call-in an Executive decision was part of a non-Executive member’s role.




Notice of items which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

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To consider a report by the Scrutiny Co-ordinator (copy attached) the purpose of which is to seek the Committee, in accordance with the Council’s Call-in Procedure Rules, to examine the decision taken by Cabinet on 19th December 2023 in relation to the Library/One Stop Shop Savings Proposal.

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The Chair welcomed Councillors Gwyneth Ellis, Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets and Emrys Wynne, Lead Member for Welsh Language, Culture & Heritage to the meeting and explained that they were attending at his request to answers members’ questions relating to the decision.


The members who were signatures to the call-in were called upon to give statements on the reasons for the call-in; these members were Councillors Hugh Irving, Terry Mendies, James Elson, Justine Evans, and Brian Jones.


Councillor Hugh Irving thanked the Chair for allowing him to speak. He reiterated the reasons for the call in were as follows –


  1. The decision to reduce library opening hours by 40% was inappropriate as the reductions would prevent a high-performing service from maintaining its standards and would affect the Council’s Key Performance Indicators. This effect was yet to be clarified.
  2. One-stop shops located in libraries provide significant support to the community particularly for less able residents who will no longer be as fully supported. Public access to IT technology will be reduced and opportunities for residents to enter a warm environment for social reasons will be diminished.
  3. Potential Redundancy Costs and the impact of losing fully trained, experienced staff have not yet been fully calculated or included in figures for corporate savings. Detail anticipated savings have not yet been provided to members.
  4. The town/city Councils of Rhuddlan and St Asaph have not yet indicated whether they will continue their financial support for their local libraries in light of the reduced service proposed. These figures need to be known and considered before final decisions are made.
  5. Outside organisations providing services through library premises have not yet indicated whether they will continue to do so with the resultant effect on community well-being. Financial losses from commercial organisations such as banks from loss of access to library facilities have not yet been calculated or their loss to the community taken into consideration.


In addition to the already stated reasons, Councillor Irving queried whether the officers and lead members had visited the libraries before the decision was taken to understand the impact the decision would have on residents and the surrounding communities, as well as on external organisations which used the libraries.  All would suffer from the reduced opening times. Councillor Irving felt that the Cabinet decision had not considered the whole picture or fully realised the widespread impact the cuts would have on experienced staff, residents, along with both voluntary and commercial external organisations who wished to utilise libraires for community engagement purposes.


Councillor Terry Mendies informed the Committee that he thought the proposed savings were admirable, however, they would not be viable. Councillor Mendies queried the proposed redundancies as it had been indicated during the December Cabinet meeting that redundancies would the last option and that relocation would be sought in other services across the Council for staff under threat of redundancy.  He queried whether if staff were redeployed whether any savings would be achieved. In closing his statement, Councillor Mendies added that the public consultation response was the largest the Council had experienced and yet the public’s responses were not being reflected in the decision taken.  Concluding, he stated that there were larger projects which the Council could mothball to achieve more significant savings.


Councillor James Elson echoed the previous statements.  Adding that he thought the libraries were a soft target, fearing that if the cuts were permitted to proceed, the service would not return to the outstanding service it was at present.


Councillor Justine Evans advised that she agreed with what all that had been said.  She also stated that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.