Case study

Carillion Plc managing library contracts

A library service outsourced and managed on behalf of a local authority.

Lego club in a library managed by CCS Ltd
Lego club in a library managed by CCS Ltd

This case study is on outsourced library services that are no longer delivered by the named supplier.

Carillion Plc manage library contracts through the not for profit subsidiary of Cultural Community Solutions Ltd (CCS Ltd).

Description of the service provided

Cultural Community Solutions Ltd (CCS Ltd) currently manages library services for Carillion Plc on behalf of four local authorities in London: Croydon, Ealing, Harrow and Hounslow. There are three contracts because Harrow and Ealing procured their services as a joint contract. In Hounslow, CCS Ltd also manages the Parks Service. In three of the four boroughs, CCS Ltd are also responsible for managing the facilities in libraries. All support functions are also provided including HR, procurement and finance.

In the four boroughs, the full service is provided including operations and service development, but this does not stop CCS Ltd considering alternative delivery models. All service planning is completed in partnership with the local authorities to provide a service to communities on behalf of the local authority.

The contract is monitored through monthly reporting and client meetings and measured using key performance indicators. Carillion attend scrutiny meetings where required. Efficiencies in service delivery are a driver but service innovation and partnership working is critical in the sustainability of libraries.

Outcomes achieved

The outsourcing of a library service to Carillion has resulted in:

  • partnership working with the University of Sheffield, LEGO Education (resulting in the launch of LEGO education workshops) and Amazon Lockers (resulting in the installation of their lockers in 14 libraries)
  • the launch of three Workary areas in libraries for co-working arrangements
  • the formation of CCS Ltd stock consortium leading to beneficial arrangements for all boroughs with physical stock but also with the digital offer
  • inclusion in the Guardian’s library card top 10
  • successfully winning £74,000 of external funding during 2015 including one Arts Council grant and one Awards for All grant
  • participation in the Reader Organisation’s research project for Reading Aloud
  • being one of two London authorities participating in the Library Takeover project funded by European funding and organised by Apples and Snakes
  • participation in the British Library’s Enterprising Libraries project
  • the formation of code clubs in all boroughs featuring in the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) Code Green digital guide as part of the launch of the Universal Learning Offer
  • testing an app in partnership with Storyjacker ‘DipIn’ to encourage people to try new genre
  • forming a community group to run a maker space

Sample statistics

Across the 4 boroughs:

  • visitor numbers are now 6 million
  • there were 75,000 new members in the last year
  • event attendance January to October 2015 increased by 12.4% reaching 163,766 customers
  • the Summer Reading Challenge was completed by 7126 children, a 6% increase
  • 342 volunteers aged 13-24 volunteered to support the Summer Challenge, a 13.2% volunteer increase


Strategic partnerships with the University of Sheffield, jointly organised two workshops involving SCL, The Reading Agency, Libraries Taskforce, and the Arts Council. Carillion also work in partnership with LEGO Education.

Partnerships are key to any library service remaining relevant and vital and CCS Ltd has developed over 60 partnerships across the 4 boroughs.

Future plans

Plans are to continue to develop service innovation, improve on the KPIs and seek growth opportunities.

Additional resources

CCS Libraries

The Workary

Customers, clients and councillors demonstrating a positive relationship in each borough. The Story so far - Ealing The Story so far - Ealing

LEGO libraries launch LEGO libraries launch events

Summer Reading Challenge Summer Reading Challenge

Contact for further information:

Published 16 December 2015