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So what do we think about abolishing The Registrar of PLR?

June 14, 2012

The Public Lending Right (PLR) is the right of author’s to receive compensatory payment for library loans for their print books – and very useful it is too. The money to pay this is funded by the Department of Culture, Media and and Science. The government is currently proposing to abolish the body that administers PLR, and transfer the role to the British Library. A 12-week consultation is happening right now and interested parties should make their views known. What do we think?

The government’s main argument is that cutting down on quangos will save money and provide greater accountability.

Some questions this raises for me are:

Will it actually save money and increase efficiency? By the government’s own say-so the current body is working at maximum efficiency. Where are the figures to show the saving that will be made by transfer to a larger body? Surely the very process of changing over will create costs?

What about the loss of the highly effective skill-set built up by the current small team based in Stockton-on-Tees? The general view is that their service is specialist and exceptional.

One threat appears to be that if more savings can’t be made in admin then the fund available to authors would have to be cut (again). One obvious answer could just be NOT to cut the authors’ fund but to continue to meet the legal commitment to pay for loans.

The proposed thinking is to abolish the Registrar of PLR and transfer the admin to the British Library. Would this new home be sufficiently independent and separate from the influence of the DCMS, currently headed by Jeremy Hunt? This is a very real concern.

The current Registrar of PLR IS independent, efficient, skilled, small, not London-based…

What do other think?

Buzz about Books authors could respond as a group or separately to the government consultation at plr_consultation@culture.gsi.gov.uk

Marion Rose

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Children's Author permalink*
    June 15, 2012 12:18 pm

    This is a very timely reminder, Marion and something we should be thinking about individually and as a group.I am also opposed to the changes for the reasons you give and think a group response (as long as members are agreeable), in addition to individual representations, would be a good idea .
    The following might be of use when penning a response.
    There is an excellent letter to the Guardian signed by among others Andrew Motion, Michael Holroyd and Deborah Moggach ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2012/may/16/public-lending-dcms).
    The Society of Authors has an information page on its website making several useful comments (http://www.societyofauthors.org/soa-news/consultation-proposals-transfer-plr-funding-and-functions )
    There is also an online petition to stop the changes (http://www.change.org/petitions/the-department-for-culture-media-and-sport-to-stop-plans-to-abolish-the-public-lending-right-plr-organisation )
    The consultation period ends 30th July

  2. June 15, 2012 3:53 pm

    The PLR organisation is extremely efficient and does an excellent job. It seems like a crazy idea to pass the work on to some other organisation. I have signed the petition. Fingrs crossed!

  3. June 18, 2012 6:15 pm

    Thanks for raising this, Marion – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the way it’s done at the moment.

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