Suffolk: Library service recruits for frontline positions

LIBRARY bosses have said they hope a recruitment drive to fill frontline positions across Suffolk will help “reassure” concerned staff.

The statement of intent comes one month after the Suffolk County Branch of Unison wrote to Suffolk Libraries’ general manager Alison Wheeler to criticise proposals to reorganise the service’s staffing structure.

The strongly-worded letter said staff were concerned the organisation was becoming “top-heavy” and felt “money could be better spent on the frontline replacing the vacant posts.”

Ms Wheeler, who leads the Industrial Provident Society (IPS) - the agency that took control of Suffolk’s 44 libraries at the start of August, said: “Although change can be very challenging, we hope that the recruitment of more staff to help with gaps in libraries will help to reassure those staff and customers who have voiced concerns.

“This is something we were always planning to do and now we’re clear where those gaps are, it’s the best time to do it.”

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She added: “There has never been a more exciting time to join Suffolk Libraries. We are a new organisation created especially to run the service, with an excellent team of staff who help us to deliver the service.

“We are looking for versatile, talented and innovative people to join our team. If you share our vision for libraries as hubs at the heart of community life, then please look at our website for jobs which range from seven hours at the weekend to full-time work.”

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The advertising of the jobs on follows a two year recruitment freeze imposed by Suffolk County Council that led some workers to claim the service was understaffed and at “breaking point”.

At the time, in mid September, Ms Wheeler said someone had been brought in to “look at all of the vacancies and to do analysis to improve staffing levels.”

She added that those working at libraries should be reassured that the agency had “acted immediately.”

Yesterday a Unison representative said it would take “more than recruitment to reassure staff”.

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