The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport - assessment of complaint

The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced it is looking into the changes to Darlington's library service – what is the current situation?

The Council was contacted by the DCMS in mid October regarding representations it had received relating to the changes to Darlington's library service and the Council’s duty under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 (1964 Act) to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service.

DCMS is treating the representations as a formal complaint under Section 10(1)(a) of the 1964 Act. As part of its consideration of the complaint officials from DCMS met with Darlington Borough Council officers on 12 December for an initial discussion regarding the background to the agreed changes to Darlington's library service provision. To assist analysis of the complaint DCMS has requested information from the Council relating to the changes to their library service provision. This detail will be reviewed and together with other representations received will be assessed to provide advice and recommendations to DCMS Ministers as to whether they are minded to order an inquiry or not.

There is no set timescale for consideration of the complaint and it will vary dependent upon a number of factors including the complexity of issues to be addressed and the volume of detail to be analysed. All relevant detail will be carefully considered to enable the Secretary of State to decide whether a local inquiry is necessary to resolve any real doubt about the Council's compliance with its statutory duty under the 1964 Act