Interim Board to run Suffolk Libraries announced

Clive Fox, Chair of Suffolk Libraries
Interim IPS
Suffolk County Council have announced the first initial members of the interim board of the Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) that is to run Suffolk's libraries in the future. The IPS Chair is to be Clive Fox who is the Chair of the Aldeburgh Library Community Group. The two other members are Shona Bendix who is the Chief Executive of Suffolk Association of Local Councils’ (SALC) and Mike Hosking, until recently head of Libraries in Cambridgeshire.

There are to be another five interim members of the IPS to be appointed using a curious process. Nominations will be sought from library groups and from staff and then the County Council will "appoint" four library group members and one staff member following a "selection process".

Of course a more straightforward (and democratic) process would be for the nominating bodies to elect the five additional members.

I think Clive Fox will have an uphill struggle to get credibility amongst local library groups. When Suffolk County Council's scrutiny committee met I personally heard him describe library campaigners as "rent a mob". It looks likely that he will now be sat next to at least some of these people in Board Meetings....

There will be those who see his appointment as a reward for being at times about the only voice in support of of Suffolk County Council's initial library proposals and he is certainly "on message" with his quote today:
Overwhelming public support for our library services led the county council to give priority to sustaining a comprehensive service despite the acute economic pressures it was facing. That’s the right decision, but now we must make sure the new community partnership-based service delivers. I’ve taken on this challenge because I believe it is the way forward for public services. 
Shona Bendix comes from SALC who are supposed to support local town and parish councils but during the library campaign SALC seemed to side more with the County Council than the town and parish authorities they were supposed to be supporting.

Of course these initial members will now be joined by five more but call me old fashioned but it would inspire more confidence if they were elected rather than appointed and if once they were elected they could choose their own Chairman.

We are promised all this in 18 months but by then the IPS will have completed its most important function and be up and running. Now more than at any time it needs credible and accountable members from across the spectrum of political opinion in the County, not appointments for loyalty to the County Council.


A "vision document" written by Clive Fox is now available on Wikisuffolk
libraries 8239905223862492316

Home item

New Blog

This is my old blog, new posts can be found at

Blog Archive