English Heritage to close outreach department - Museums Association

English Heritage to close outreach department

Restructure could see entire outreach programme closed down
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Rebecca Atkinson
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English Heritage could close its entire outreach department as part of its post-spending review restructure.

The body announced at the end of October that it would be getting rid of 200 jobs and cutting grants by around one third following the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) reducing its budget by 32%.

A spokeswoman for English Heritage said: “We can confirm that, regrettably, there are proposals to disband the outreach team within English Heritage. The consultation process with staff affected by this proposal, and with our trade unions colleagues, has started, during which all options will be fully considered.”

Around 14 members of staff currently work in the outreach department of English Heritage. The team has been working with communities who traditionally have not had easy access to heritage since 2003.

Cuts

English Heritage, which currently receives £136m grant income from the DCMS, was also told in the spending review to reduce its administration budgets by 50% over the next four years and cut back on non-essential services. In response, it said it would protect services such as property conservation, existing grant commitments and designation, but would have to make “significant cuts” in other areas.

This includes getting rid of at least 200 posts, a move that English Heritage said would affect a wide range of services. It currently employs 1,962 people across the organisation. A four-year corporate plan, which is due to be published in the new year, will provide further details of the redundant posts.

Although English Heritage survived the coalition government’s quango cull early in October when its proposed merger with the Heritage Lottery Fund was abandoned, the two bodies have been told to identify and avoid and the duplication of activities.

Baroness Andrews, chairwoman of English Heritage, said the body’s 32% budget cut was “disappointing” when compared to DCMS’s overall cut of 25%. 

“The 32% cut to English Heritage's grant from government will be exceptionally challenging to manage after years of funding decline – £130m real-term cuts over 13 years,” she added. “It will require us to make some tough decisions.”




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