Written statement to Parliament

Exercise of functions under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This document fulfils the Secretary of State’s obligations, pursuant to Section 17 of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, to present to Parliament a report on the exercise of their functions under the same Act.

On 3 April 2009 the Culture Secretary exercised his power under section 10(1) of the 1964 Act to commence a local inquiry into Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s (Wirral MBC’s) compliance with the duties imposed upon them by section 7 of the same Act. The Inquiry was the first of its kind since 1991.

This document fulfils the Secretary of State’s obligations, pursuant to Section 17 of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, to present to Parliament a report on the exercise of their functions under the same Act.

On 3 April 2009 the Culture Secretary exercised his power under section 10(1) of the 1964 Act to commence a local inquiry into Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s (Wirral MBC’s) compliance with the duties imposed upon them by section 7 of the same Act. The Inquiry was the first of its kind since 1991.

This followed a request to Wirral MBC in February 2009 to work with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) on the proposed restructuring of library services. Following their work the MLA wrote to the Secretary of State to express concerns about the situation in the Wirral.

On 29 April the Secretary of State appointed Sue Charteris to carry out the local Inquiry and produce a report.

After the Secretary of State received the report on the Inquiry, Wirral MBC revoked their plans to restructure their service. On 30 November the Culture Minister issued a statement closing the Inquiry. The statement explained that, in the circumstances, it was no longer necessary for the Secretary of State to take a view on proposals which had since been dropped. There was therefore no finding that Wirral MBC were in breach of their statutory duty.

The report of the local inquiry and the Culture Secretary’s statement are available on the DCMS website:
 • A Local Inquiry into the Public Library Service Provided by Wirral Metropolitan Borough CouncilStatement on Wirral library service

July 2010