Suffolk, pulls out of "SPINE" library stock management deal with Essex and Cambridgeshire

It has been revealed that Suffolk have pulled out of the  "Spine" partnership for library stock management that was expected to begin in September 2011 between Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. Plans were already well advanced within Suffolk libraries for this service to take over with its own stock management unit reduced in size. Considerable savings were promised as part of this plan.

Suffolk's press office issued the following statement:
SCC's SPINE partnership with Essex and Cambs county councils has had two strands: a strategic relationship aimed at having a joint electronic library management system in the medium term; and a joint provider relationship which was expected to start in September 2011. The strategic relationship with SPINE continues, but SCC has now decided to disengage from the provider relationship as it can no longer deliver what was expected. 
Instead we have opened dialogue with our major book supplier, to develop a model for supplier-delivered book services. Because the book supplier services very many library services in the UK, we can look for the removal of duplication at this national level, rather than regional level. This, together with the delivery of books direct to local libraries, rather than the central stock unit in Ipswich, which has already started, should bring at least the savings that we expected from SPINE, and perhaps more in future years.
So Suffolk are suggesting that they might get an even better deal from another supplier than they would from SPINE. However a note of caution was seen in an email sent to all staff in Suffolk libraries :
We also intend to pilot full bibliographic service delivery by a library supplier, as a means to find savings in future years. The market is immature, so the pilot really is a trial, and no decisions have been made about the outcome.
Whatever the longer term situation for staff on the ground this is yet more uncertainty as another plank of the County's future strategy on library services collapses. That said, if the County have avoided signing a contract that is bad value then this could be good news in the longer term and possibly indicate that lessons have been learned from the mistakes of the BT Customer Service Direct contract.
Suffolk County Council 4626061962582788561

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