The settlement we received in November 2007 was at the better end of our scenario planning and the Board approved the final budget and financial plan in February. Work continues on the capital programme, particularly in support of the Library’s newspaper strategy.
We are approaching the end of the period covered by Redefining the Library: the British Library’s strategy 2005–2008 and have undertaken detailed work to develop its successor. In February the Board endorsed an approach that set out the Library’s key research audiences and identified seven strategic priorities for the next three years. Communications for the strategic plan 2008–2011 are now being finalised and, following consultation over the summer, it is scheduled to be launched in September 2008.
Our funding agreement target for 2007/08 was £13.9m for the full year. Total efficiencies generated by year end were £18.26m – 31% above target. Key areas that contributed to this achievement included headcount reductions across the Library and greater visitor numbers than expected to Reading Rooms and exhibitions, with no corresponding increase in the cost of provision.
To address the growing shortage of storage space in UK research libraries, we are working with key HE institutions to develop a national storage solution – the UK Research Reserve (UKRR). In addition to the six initial institutions taking part in the project, two more became involved this year and in November we shared our proposed business model with the wider HE community. A bid to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for phase two was delivered in December, with a decision expected in July 2008.
Work to transform the Library’s document supply became operational this year and has already achieved significant results. Efficiency has increased ahead of plan and a new resource planning process is delivering a 10% productivity improvement and identifying staff that could be redeployed to projects such as bulk scanning, which is now delivering more than £100,000 per month of income. Plans to upgrade our request management and delivery system, along with our pricing structure, are dependent on the success of the bid to HEFCE for funding for the next phase of UKRR.