HC Deb 09 February 2001 vol 362 c703W
Ms Coffey

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how he proposes to take forward his consultation about draft public library standards. [148158]

Mr. Chris Smith

I am today publishing public library standards. They will come into effect from 1 April 2001, and my Department will monitor and assess performance against them through the annual library planning process. There will be a three-year period for compliance and my officials will be happy to discuss the practicalities with individual library authorities. The draft standards, on which I consulted last year, have been refashioned to reflect better on library service outcomes and the requirements of best value, rather than simple inputs. Within the context of best value, they are resource neutral. I believe that library standards, together with best value provisions, will be a powerful combination to help authorities to drive up library performance. Copies of the library standards, and of the analysis of responses to the consultation exercise which I am also publishing today, are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses. In addition, both documents can be accessed via the Department's website:www.culture.gov.uk