Decision details

Surrey Performing Arts Library- Evaluation of NewSPAL Business Plan

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The report will summarise and evaluate the NewSPAL business plan for the transfer of the undertaking to the newly formed charity (premises, charges, IT transition, arrangements, financial sustainability and the terms of transfer agreement.)





  1. That NewSPAL use the current SPAL collection and equipment, to offer a Performing Arts Library service to the public be approved.


  1. That authority be delegated to the Director of Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture in consultation with the Cabinet Member for All Age Learning to finalise the phased transfer of the collection and equipment on a conditional basis for a transitional period in anticipation of a final unconditional transfer and gifting of the collection and equipment.


  1. That the responsible officer agree a set of performance measures with NewSPAL throughout the transition period in order to evaluate progress and performance and inform the final decision by the Council on the transfer.


  1. That approval be given for officers to report on progress to the Cabinet Member for All Age Learning and set a deadline for completion of the lease negotiations between NewSPAL and Woking Borough Council that is appropriate with the transition period.


  1. That approval is given to the responsible officer to report annually on progress towards the final transfer to the Cabinet Member for All Age Learning.


  1. That Cabinet will review progress in the Summer of 2021 with the final decision on unconditional transfer and gifting of the collection and equipment to be taken by the Cabinet at the end of the transitional period.


Reasons for Decision:


The public consultation on options for the future for the Surrey Performing Arts Library, carried out in 2017, indicated a strong level of public support for an independent future for the service which would provide new opportunities for development and funding streams not currently available.


NewSPAL’s proposals had received expressions of support from potential users.  They had presented a business plan which on evaluation by officers was seen to be capable of delivering an independent future, keeping the collection available to the public and helping preserve part of a national network of performing arts libraries. The viability of the new operating model will be tested during the two-three year transition period before the Cabinet is asked to consider a final transfer.


Officers will agree a set of performance measures and milestones with NewSPAL for the transition period to ensure that options for the future of the collection can be brought back to SCC should NewSPAL meet barriers that they cannot overcome.  The recent public consultation on NewSPALs service offer has indicated a high level of support for NewSPAL taking on the service - with respondents stating they would use the new service as often as they use the current service. This level of support extends to the potential new location of Woking and any other location should Woking not materialise. 


[The decisions on this item can be called in by the Adults & Lifelong Learning Select Committee]


Report author: Rose Wilson

Publication date: 26/02/2019

Date of decision: 26/02/2019

Decided at meeting: 26/02/2019 - Cabinet

Effective from: 06/03/2019

Accompanying Documents: