MGS to charge non-subscribers for Accreditation

Body says it must cover its costs
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Rebecca Atkinson
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Museums in Scotland that do not subscribe to Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS), the national development body, will have to pay to cover the costs of Accreditation, it has been revealed.

Members of MGS last year voted in favour of it becoming an independent charitable trust supported by the Scottish government. As such, it will deliver the country’s new national strategy and other resources, including Accreditation, on a subscription basis.

Although museums do not have to subscribe to the body, those that do not will be required to pay a fee for Accreditation, which Museums Journal understands to be about £2,000. National museums that are covered by the 1985 Heritage Act, such as National Museums Scotland, receive Accreditation directly from Arts Council England (ACE).

A spokeswoman for MGS said: “There is a real cost associated with the work involved in processing Accreditation applications. How these costs are absorbed by the administering organisation differs.

"Accreditation activity by ACE is supported by Renaissance funding. Northern Ireland Museums Council's membership model supports its museum members through the Accreditation process, but with core funding from its sponsoring government department.

"MGS is no longer a membership organisation but operates a subscription model. In our case the costs of Accreditation are largely subsidised by the core grant we receive from the Scottish government. The work around the assessment, report preparation and presentation at the Accreditation panel is partly covered by the subscription fee."

ACE, which administers the Accreditation scheme, does not charge for applications to Accreditation. A spokesman said: “The delivery and resourcing of Accreditation in each UK nation is the responsibility of the relevant agency or body – in Scotland’s case, MGS.”

But one museum professional in Scotland said: “There’s a real danger that standards will slip in Scottish museums if they have to pay to be part of a UK standard. In this economic climate everyone’s cutting corners and many museums could opt out of Accreditation as a result.”

Board appointments

MGS this week announced the appointment of seven new board members.

They are:  Vivienne Cockburn, associate director of the Scottish Futures Trust; David Gaimster, director of The Hunterian, part of the University of Glasgow; Donna Heddle, director of the Centre for Nordic Studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands; Ellen McAdam, head of museums and collections at Glasgow Museums; Charles Sloan, executive chairman of the Gordon Highlanders Museum; Matthew Vickers, chief executive officer at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission; and Ian Walford, chief executive of Historic Scotland.

Neil Curtis, head of museums at the University of Aberdeen, welcomed the board appointments and said he hoped it would lead to genuine engagement with the sector about what services MGS will offer.

“If MGS wants to act on behalf of the sector then it needs to consult on specific proposals for services, policies, procedures and charges,” he said.



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