Renaissance hubs embark on £1m worth of savings - Museums Association

Renaissance hubs embark on £1m worth of savings

Fall in MLA's budget requires hubs to make cost-cutting measures
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Sharon Heal
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The Renaissance hub museums have outlined where they will make £1m of cuts in this financial year.

Most have managed to find the cuts through a combination of not filling posts, cancelling projects that are not yet under way and cutting back-of-house costs.

Stella Yates, manager of the South West hub, said they had needed to make the cuts very quickly and had looked at projects where there was a late start.

“We decided not to top-slice budgets,” she said. “It was a very democratic process and we managed to find the savings without the loss of any posts.”

Emma Anderson, North West hub manager, said most of its savings had come from its partnership project. “It is not something that we did lightly, but it is a big part of our budget,” she said.

Anderson added that they had tried to avoid direct cuts to museums, as they already faced budget reductions from other funders, including local authorities.

All the hub leaders that spoke to Museums Journal were concerned about further cuts to the programme.

Steve Little, director of the South East hub, warned that the cupboard was now bare and further savings would require difficult decisions to be made.

Roy Clare, chief executive of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), said it recognised that deciding where to make savings could be difficult, but said it should be done in a way that had minimal impact on public-facing services.

The cuts follow a 3 per cent reduction in the MLA’s budget for this year. It wrote to all hubs last month asking them to outline where they would trim their budgets by 2.4 per cent.

Roy Clare, MLA

“We all have to think about our sector’s contribution not from our own perspective, but from the perspective of the public at a time when the government has said all spending will be examined to see whether it is ‘essential’.

“We believe the collections and work in museums throughout the country are essential for the country’s wellbeing. But believing it isn’t enough. A lot of activity in this sector, the contribution of volunteers for example, is a living demonstration of the Big Society values.

“We are talking to the new government and offering constructive solutions, and are encouraging regional museums services to do the same with their local stakeholders and MPs to show decision-makers the work that is going on.”

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