Culzean Castle in Ayrshire is one of NTS's site

National Trust for Scotland reveals restructuring plan

Simon Stephens, 28.06.2016
142 posts classified as ‘at risk’
The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has announced details of a restructure that is designed to cut costs and improve the performance of its properties.

NTS, which has 350,000 members, has begun formal consultation on the changes, which it hopes will save about £4m a year by reducing bureaucracy and making efficiencies.

The conservation charity said 68 new posts will be created across Scotland, while about 42 posts will be transferred from the trust’s headquarters in Edinburgh to its properties. There will be an overall reduction in staff numbers with 142 posts are classified as “at risk”.

NTS has a £47m conservation backlog, which it hopes to address. It is planning to invest about £17m over the next three years on a number of its high-profile properties, including Culzean Castle and Country Park in Ayrshire, Brodie Castle near Forres and Newhailes House in Musselburgh.

“While the Trust has achieved stability in the last few years, we have choices to make if we are to move forward and face up to ensuring our heritage remains relevant and engaging in an era of ever-more demanding, digitally-savvy generations,” said Simon Skinner, the chief executive of NTS.

“For those affected we will be opening up opportunities for voluntary redundancy and will match as many people as possible to new posts in order to keep compulsory redundancy to a minimum.

"But, inevitably, we will be losing some of our old friends and colleagues and some will have to move from their current base: change is not easy but change we must if we are to continue to deliver on our core purposes.”

Museums Journal understands that there are concerns within the trust about a number of areas of the restructuring, including the future of its learning offer and the outsourcing of functions such as conservation.

There are also worries about the lack of direct heritage skills among NTS's senior management team.