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Sunday, 8 April 2012

Surrey Judicial Review

I have been interested to see some of the reaction to the Judicial Review of Surrey County Council's library plans.  People seem to be picking on two aspects mistakenly.

Firstly, although the judge has ruled Surrey's decision as "unlawful" he has not yet decided what to do about it.  In fact, the unlawful element is that the Surrey Executive did not have any assessment of equality needs regarding the use of volunteers at one particular meeting.  That is a very narrow ground for quashing.  It would not surprise me if Surrey simply go back to the next hearing showing how they would train volunteers, and ask the judge to allow them to go ahead.

The second is that some people seem to have assumed that the judge is objecting to volunteer run libraries.  In fact, the fact that Surrey's proposal is for volunteer libraries does not relate to its unlawful nature.  It is merely incidental.  Still it is interesting that so many people are taking it to make an objection to volunteers, since there is clearly a lot of hostility to the idea of replacing paid staff with volunteers.

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