Library services across Hertfordshire could be taken out of the county council’s hands and run by an outside organisation.

Following a consultation earlier in the year, county councillors have now approved a Public Service Mutual model.

This could result in the creation of a new independent organisation to provide library services on behalf of the council.

Although the library services would therefore no longer be owned or run by Hertfordshire County Council, they would still need to be supported by the full council.

Taryn Pearson-Rose, the assistant director of customer services and libraries said the model has already been successfully introduced in a number of other areas such as Devon, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk and York.

She said: “We have seen Hertfordshire Libraries make significant achievements in delivering the Inspiring Libraries Strategy 2014 to 2024, which has seen refurbished and new library buildings, new digital services, closer working with local communities and increased popularity with residents.

“We want our libraries to continue to flourish long into the future and given the financial pressures we are under and the savings we need to make, a Public Service Mutual is a model that would allow savings to be made without reducing the quality of service customers receive.”

The consultation received more than 2,000 responses after it asked for views on a range of different approaches to the services in a bid to reduce their spending on the service by a further £500,000 - extra to the £2million already saved.

The recommendation will now go to Cabinet for approval and a full business case will then be developed, alongside a plan to put it into practice.

They will both be considered by Cabinet in September, with a view to launching the new model in April 2019.

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