Amgueddfa Cymru and Cadw merger still on the table

Patrick Steel, 12.07.2017
Government demands firm proposals from strategic partnership
The Welsh government has warned that a merger between Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales (NMW) and the historic environment agency Cadw under the title Historic Wales could still go ahead.

Ken Skates, the cabinet secretary for economy and infrastructure, told a meeting of the Welsh Assembly’s Culture Committee last week that although he was happy with progress so far on collaboration between NMW, Cadw, the National Library of Wales and the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales, if that progress stalled then “we need to keep all options on the table including merger”.

The four organisations have formed a strategic partnership group to collaborate on commercial activities, back-office functions, staff skills development and the promotion of cultural tourism.

The government is expecting the partnership to deliver a business plan by September, showing “a genuine and demonstrable commitment", demonstrating changes that have already been implemented, "with a plan for further work to be taken forward at pace in the autumn”, said Skates.

NMW said in a statement, which read: “Since the discussions around Historic Wales began, we have advocated for a model such as the strategic partnership that respects the independence and importantly the role of Wales’ national institutions, which contribute significantly to cultural life in Wales.

“NMW is working with the other partners, within the resources available to us, to contribute constructively to the work of the strategic partnership, which has been formed to help shape the future of our nation’s heritage."

The Welsh government has commissioned a separate independent review of the strategy and operations of NMW, announced in February, which is ongoing. The government is also working on a strategy to produce a framework for the sector until 2020.


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16.07.2017, 11:13
The Cadw business model relies on tourist pounds from people visiting its major sites to help sustain its large estate of historic monuments. In contrast, Amgueddfa Cymru relies on taxpayer funding via the Welsh Government to maintain free entry to its sites. Someone is going to have the challenge of squaring that circle if the merger goes ahead.