MoL axes oral history and community teams - Museums Association

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MoL axes oral history and community teams

Museum makes 17 redundancies as it cuts costs by £1m
The Museum of London (MoL) has confirmed that it will make 17 posts redundant in order to address a deficit to its operating budget.

The museum needs to reduce its budget by £1m before April 2014 and said that shrinking its workforce was the only realistic way to cut year-on-year fixed costs.

The redundancies will hit a range of functions and levels across the organisation. The museum said it plans to axe all of its dedicated oral historian posts and focus on “digital collecting”.

MoL will also cut its specialist community collaboration team and plans to embed community work throughout the organisation rather than in a specific department.

A spokesman from MoL said: “Our approach to community collaboration and inclusion, and to collecting oral history is changing.

"Community work will be embedded in how we work across the organisation rather than a delivered through a specialist team. A new approach to community work will be developed within the context of our strategic plan and audience development strategy.

“With regards to oral history, due to pressures on its resources the museum has decided at this point to focus on digital collecting and move away from direct life stories recording. Therefore the delivery of the digitised oral history collection will be added to the responsibilities of the digital curator.”

Five-year strategy

The spokesman said the staff cuts had been made in line with the restructure outlined in the museum’s recently-published five-year strategy.

According to the spokesman, the plan’s key objectives are: "Reach more people; become better known; engage every school child; stretch thinking; and stand on our own two feet."

He added: “From April 2014 the Museum of London will be organised into four groupings, roughly along the following lines: content, assets, enterprise and transformation, with supporting fundraising and communication teams.”

In a consultation into the redundancies this summer, MoL outlined details of a radical shift in the way the museum operates, with a focus on greater flexibility, cross-departmental working and diversifying the skills of existing staff at every level.

Government cuts mean the museum’s public subsidy is lower this year than it was in 2008/09. MoL made 11 posts redundant in 2011, including three senior curator positions and two colllections care posts.

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