Novium Museum under review

Patrick Steel, 24.01.2017
Decision to be made public on 7 February
Chichester District Council is reviewing the future of Novium Museum. The review is taking place behind closed doors, with the council citing commercial confidentiality for the lack of transparency around the decision, which is to be made public on 7 February.

The museum’s budget for 2016-17, which includes the Tourist Information Centre at the same site, is £851,000.

In the proposal document for the options appraisal, published at the beginning of last year, the council outlined options including moving the museum to trust status, contracting out its management privately or to an established trust, or continuing without change. It proposed the outcome should be the retention of a district museum at reduced cost to the authority.

Museums Journal understands that this led to reports to the council cabinet in July 2016 and to the overview and scrutiny committee this month, neither of which were made public as they were considered commercially sensitive.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We constantly review our services and this is something that takes place across the council on a regular basis. Reviews look at future opportunities, improvements and how we can continue to provide best value to our residents.

“As part of any review process we consider a wide range of options from ‘do nothing’ to finding alternative ways of providing a service.

“In the current economic climate we have to look at ways of reducing costs and providing services more efficiently.”

Novium Museum opened to the public in 2012. It originally charged £7 admission for adults, but decided to scrap entry fees from November 2014 following a decline in visitor numbers.