Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Libraries have awarded Civica, a market leader in specialist systems and business process services that help organisations transform the way they work, a five-year contract to enhance services to over 1.2 million library users.
The project went live this summer and will build on the two councils’ Shared Partnership in the East (SPINE) framework for shared procurement and library operations. It sees Civica’s integrate its Spydus library management system to streamline both services’ back office systems and business processes.
Through their SPINE partnership – a drive to share services in the East of England - Suffolk and Cambridgeshire’s library services are developing a collaborative environment where IT systems are consolidated, procured jointly and integrated to standardise and automate processes. This strategy will drive service improvements and target cost efficiencies, since both library authorities will harmonise their policies and procedures. Revenue costs have been reduced by more than 40%.
SPINE received funding of £250,000 from Improvement East to support this project. Improvement East is the Regional and Efficiency Partnership (RIEP) for the East of England. They support local authorities and Fire and Rescue Services in their drive to improve services and increase efficiency.
Through the combination of SPINE framework and Spydus updated library management system, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire will further benefit through service innovations that help meet increasing service demands and individual users’ expectations. These include developing a mobile application for end users to renew books, check records and pay any fines.
Suffolk and Cambridgeshire’s library services used the existing Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) framework to enable effective and dynamic procurement. Civica’s Spydus software was successfully chosen on the basis of the system’s efficiency, functionality and value for money.
The software delivers enhanced search capabilities, and online lending while speeding up access to library databases and catalogues and simplifying inter-library loans and has the potential to improve library management, branch staff and end-users productivity and user experience.
Christine May, head of libraries, archives and information, Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “The SPINE framework has enabled us to create the foundation for future consolidation and procurement of additional services, such as online resources and stock management systems. Our partnership with Civica has enabled our customers to benefit from a larger catalogue of resources and enhanced service delivery and drive discussions on best practice.”
Simon Parkes, libraries director, Civica, commented: “We are delighted to be supporting Cambridgeshire and Suffolk develop an environment for closer collaborative working. With the continued strain on resources, libraries need to ensure that not only can they maintain service delivery to customers, but also support neighbouring councils through a joined up approach.”