Libraries Savings Programme – Approval of Preferred Provider for
The Interim Head of Community and Neighbourhood Development introduced the report.
Councillor Mallory informed Panel Members that the meeting of the Stakeholders Panel went well. He said there were concerns raised about the financial arrangements of the Provider V22. The Interim Head of Community and Neighbourhood Development said that V22 was a not for profit arts organisation that would be responsible for running the community library. Councillor Mallory said the holding company was based in the Isle of Man which is worrying and members needed assurance that the library funds would be used for its intended purpose by the V22 Foundation.
The Interim Head of Community and Neighbourhood Development summarised the set-up of V22 and its various strands as set out in appendix 1 of the report. She highlighted that V22 PLC was registered in the stock exchange and this was set up to ensure that the people involved own a share of the organisation. She said those who could not afford to pay cash for their share could donate their artwork. The Interim Head of Community and Neighbourhood Development informed Panel Members that valuing artwork in the UK was very costly, hence their decision to be located in the Isle of Man were they had a simpler way of valuing artwork.
Panel Members asked what would happen if V22’s application for charitable status got turned down and they were told that V22 would still retain their not for profit status but the art studio would not get automatic rate relief. The Interim Head of Community and Neighbourhood added that V22 would have to meet their rates responsibilities. Councillor Sorba asked why it was cheaper to value artwork in the Isle of Man, and was told that Isle of Man value artwork collectively, whilst the UK value artwork individually which is time consuming and more costly.
Councillor Hilton asked whether the Council had its note of value, and what was the income streams for the library. The Interim Head of Community and Neighbourhood Development said the income streams would be mainly through letting out art studios. Councillor Hilton asked whether the rent could be affordable rent. She was told that the Artists would share the profit. Councillor Hilton asked how they could share the profit if they were not making any profit. She asked if Members could be assured that all the library money was at arms length. The Interim Head of Community and Neighbourhood Development said V22 Foundation was separate and could not pass its profit on.
Councillor Curran asked how this contract differs from the rest of the community library contracts and was told that the Council would maintain liability and the external fabric of the building and V22 would maintain the inside of the building and its plant. It was noted that another SLA between the Council and Community Libraries was that no money would change hands, and if the contract was terminated, then the lease would be terminated. The Chair said there should be a review of community libraries in future to ensure parity. He requested that the Executive Director for Resources and Regeneration provide Business Panel Members with information on Fair Tax Mark. He also asked that Business Panel be updated with the outcome of V22 application for Charity Status. Councillor Mallory asked officers to enquire if V22 would be excluded from CIO if they did not achieve the Charitable Status.
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