In a move to enhance the community experience, Nottingham City Council has approved a £505,628 contract to procure creative design work for its libraries.
The decision was made under the authority of Kam Harte, Business Manager of the Communities, Environment and Resident Services Department.
The council says it aims to create vibrant, inspirational spaces for the community to enjoy. Over the past five years, several new joint service centre builds have been completed, including Strelley Road Library and The Dales Centre Library, with improvements also made to community libraries such as Bilborough Library.
Investment and grant funding
The council says it is committed to investing in its buildings and has successfully sought grant funding to improve some of its library spaces. Over the next four years, the council plans to implement a programme of investment, using a combination of grant-funded income and internal library budgets.
The decision authorises a procurement process to seek a creative design agency to provide inspiring library interiors. The council has also approved spending on a project-by-project basis, subject to the appropriate approval being in place.
The council has delegated authority to the Head of Service for Libraries to award contracts for approved projects on behalf of Nottingham City Council under the framework contract during the term, to ensure best value for money.
The council believes that public libraries are crucial in providing safe, welcoming, and neutral spaces. They contribute to personal development, community cohesion, local identity, health and well-being, reading and literacy, imagination and creativity, helping to build confidence in both individuals and communities and offering equity in service delivery.
The council rejected other options, including doing nothing, going out to open tender to procure a design consultant, and entering into a contract with a design agency. These options were deemed unsuitable due to the need for specific public library design experience, the timescales associated with an open tender, and the need for library budgets to be flexible with no commitment to spend.
The decision is subject to call-in until July 10, 2023. Legal, finance, procurement, and property advice has been sought and provided, with no significant issues raised. The procurement of interior design services by way of a call-off from a framework agreement is in compliance with public procurement rules and the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules.