Delegates at the Museums Association conference heard Hedley Swain's apology

ACE apologises to MDOs for mucking them around

Rebecca Atkinson, Issue 111/11, p13, 01.11.2011
Hedley Swain affirms ACE's commitment to MDOs and unveils plans for new provision model
Hedley Swain, director of museums and Renaissance at Arts Council England (ACE), apologised to museum development officers (MDOs) at the Museums Association conference last month and admitted they had been “mucked around”.

“We’re absolutely committed to museum development,” he said. “We recognise the value and we’ve talked about how to look forward in terms of how we deliver it.

“We are putting aside £3m a year and, early in the new year, when we’ve finalised major grants, we will invite bids from organisations to deliver museum development as they see best in different parts of the country.”

There is widespread concern that many MDOs could be issued with redundancy notices before the end of the year because current funding for posts runs out in March 2012.

Swain said: “We’re aware that we are leaving it late and that current MDO [funding] runs out in March. But in the next couple of weeks, we will talk to funders in the hope that current arrangements can be continued until the new model is in place.

“Apologies – MDOs have been mucked around by the uncertainty.”

Althea Efunshile, ACE’s chief operating officer, told conference delegates that the organisation strived to be passionate, transparent and to have “grown-up relationships”.

She added: “We have a strong desire to listen, to be porous and to be clear about what we can achieve and where we can have the most impact across our three roles of funding, developing and championing.”