The Advisory Council on Libraries (ACL) was established by the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. The 1964 Act sets out at Section 2 that it is the duty of the Council “to advise the Secretary of State upon such matters connected with the provision or use of library facilities whether under this Act or otherwise as it thinks fit and upon any questions referred to it by him”. That is its sole statutory function.
The Secretary of State issued a ministerial written statement in July 2010 announcing the intention to abolish the ACL and those public bodies proposed for abolition, which includes the ACL, were listed in Schedule 1 of the Public Bodies Act 2011. The legal power by which the Government proposes to abolish the ACL comes from section 1 of the 2011 Act and the Government’s preferred option is to use these powers to implement the proposals outlined in the consultation and to abolish the ACL. Other options considered include transferring the ACL’s advisory function to another body, and retaining the ACL and appointing new members.