Agenda item

Museum Future Governance Options


Ms Victoria Barlow, the Museums Director, presented Museum Future Governance Options to the Committee.


It was highlighted to the Committee that:


·  In April 2017 a consultant was commissioned to carry out an options appraisal of governance models for Maidstone Museum and Maidstone Carriage Museum. There were two parts to the work; an assessment of the options and then the development of the business case for the preferred option which could incorporate a minimum 20% revenue savings for the Council.


·  This work had been carried out in parallel with the development of the Museums 20 Year Plan which was overseen by the Museums Strategic Board.


·  The current budget for Maidstone Museums (not including depreciation) was £1,076,930 and this included £229,710 of recharges.


·  The Council had recently lodged an appeal against national non-domestic rates (NNDR) return. The Museums’ combined NNDR charge was circa £120,000.


·  From projections it was noted that there were no opportunities to make immediate significant savings from the transfer to a charitable trust apart from an NNDR discount. In fact, for the first two years of the process there would be additional costs associated with the work of setting up, recruiting to and creating operational procedures for the trust.


·  The trusts which existed in connection with the Museum were the Bentlif, Brenchley, Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment and Maidstone Museums Foundation and these were the subject of a second review which would be brought to this Committee in quarter two of 2018/19.


·  Figure three considered the two most suitable options (status quo and create a new charitable trust and transfer full management and operational responsibility) against the objectives within the Museums 20 Year Plan.


·  The report recommended that the Museums’ governance options were revisited at a time when any uncertainties had been clarified.


In response to questions from the Committee, Ms Hudd, the Head of Regeneration and Economic Development replied that:


·  The consultant had been employed over an 18 month period.


·  In order to make the Museums attractive to the highest calibre of trustees it would be best to transfer the Museums to a trust in the future and not now.


·  The option of charging entry to the Museum had been considered many times. It was thought that the Museum did not currently have the offering to charge for entry. However, visitors were charged for certain temporary exhibitions.


In response to questions from the Committee, Ms Barlow replied that the three year timeline until the next review of the Museums’ governance options was required as Officers could review how similar Museums which had transferred to charitable trusts had performed. It would allow the national picture to become clearer and also allow for the initial phases of the Museums 20 Year Plan to commence without disruption.


The Committee requested that they receive an annual report on the Museums 20 Year Plan and an annual report on the Museum governance arrangements each year, which would alternate with each other on a six monthly cycle. This would enable the Committee to review the continuous work that was going on.




1.  That the current governance arrangements for the Museum be retained.


Voting: For – 6   Against – 2 Abstentions - 0


2.  That every year this Committee will receive an annual report on the Museums 20 Year Plan and an annual report on the Museum governance arrangements, which will alternate with each other on a six monthly cycle.


Voting: Unanimous


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