Description of the service provided
The library, council services and museum are delivered from one building – Globe House – in the Warwickshire market town of Alcester. Globe House is the former office of Stratford District Council but in recent years became surplus to requirements. Warwickshire County Council, who operated a library from a nearby, outdated building, saw an opportunity to bring a range of public services including county, district and town council services together, along with the town’s Roman Museum (a much valued learning and cultural hub). Warwickshire County Council’s library service has helped safeguard Globe House – a cornerstone of the local community – by taking on a 99 year lease and redesigning the building using the proceeds from the sale of its library site.
As its name ‘Globe House’ suggests, the building spans a wide range of services from one place. The service offer has been designed to fit around the customer rather than the other way round and demonstrates services working together from one location. The proceeds from the sale of the former library building are being reinvested to create a modern, more effective space for the customer, where people are supported to access digital services and learning.
The presence of the library and museum from one site offers enhanced learning and heritage opportunities. As well as offering local people a more convenient joined-up facility, Globe House is making public money work more efficiently. Rather than two public buildings being maintained just a few hundred yards from each other, the taxpayer only pays for one and makes use of the £800,000 of public investment in Globe House which was received in 2001. Multi-agency and volunteering also enables annual savings in staffing.
By integrating with a volunteer-led museum, Globe House is also helping to attract more visitors to Alcester and boost the local economy. From a town development perspective, the previous library site is also providing an opportunity for outside investors to turn a surplus asset into a new facility for the town.
The project has demonstrated the importance of involving partners in development plans and for them all to shape the service offer. There is a greater awareness of how to work with other local authorities and community volunteers to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome when different agendas may be involved.
Alcester has tremendous scope to further join services together. The town and county councils are already working together to make Alcester a Wellbeing Town with a shadow health and wellbeing board, bringing together local council and health services for the benefit of local people. Their plan is to further increase partnership working within the local community, to increase use of the building and improve access to council or other related services for the local population.