What type of support was the client seeking and why? 

The pandemic’s disruption created new momentum for libraries to evolve. As libraries transform from being solely places for books, to taking on new roles in society, they are becoming multi-use destinations, allowing users to enjoy new and unique experiences.

CIPFA C.Co Ltd was originally commissioned by Wolverhampton Council to undertake a high level exploratory piece of work considering how Wolverhampton Libraries Service should be developed, with a core focus on internal stakeholder engagement.

Wolverhampton’s Libraries Strategy (2017-2027) has a clear and simple vision: to create modern, vibrant, and sustainable libraries for the city of Wolverhampton.

Libraries in Wolverhampton work to six strategic aims:

  • Promoting learning and improving skills
  • Supporting literacy and reading
  • Widening access to quality information
  • Broadening access to culture
  • Increasing the use of digital services
  • Promoting and enabling health and wellbeing
What did C.Co do? 

C.Co provided an overview of Wolverhampton’s public libraries network, the current role they play within the city, outcomes of engagement with staff, and recommendations, which follow from work undertaken.  Within the final report, C.Co also considered national research and the CIPFA Statistical Annual Returns, as well as statutory and legal implications.

C.Co delivered a series of workshops with the workforce. Following workshop delivery, feedback was shaped into seven themes and emerging findings were identified and presented within the final report.  Suggestions of services, activities & approaches within Wolverhampton’s Libraries for the future were also provided.

C.Co’s nineteen recommendations concluded the final report, with the recommendations again shaped into three themes; working practices, working environment and service delivery.

What difference has C.Co made to the client?

The recommendations will enable Wolverhampton Council to put in place fundamentals that are essential to maximising the success of local delivery: accountability at every level, genuine transparency, on the-ground support, and mechanisms to spread and maximise good practice and innovation.

By implementing the wider set of recommendations, the Council will stabilise and strengthen the Wolverhampton Libraries Service as it considers the commencement of its transformation phase.

Why C.Co?

‘We have utilised the independent services of C.Co to help us think through a direction of travel for the Council’s library service. Through Sophie, a thorough and professional service was provided to help us understand objectively where we are at and what some of the future opportunities might be. The breadth of public sector knowledge across the C.Co team is extensive but their key strength is grappling with difficult issues and providing solution based recommendations in a timely, engaging manner. Would certainly recommend.’

Richard Welch, Assistant Director, Wolverhampton City Council