Written evidence submitted by East Midlands
Museum Service (arts 99)
What impact recent, and future, spending cuts
from central and local Government will have on the arts and heritage
at a national and local level;
1.0 Concern about the winding up of MLA,
with implications for:
Future of core programmes ie Accreditation;
Designation; security; Government Indemnity Scheme; Portable Antiquities
Scheme; V&A Purchase Fundand, of course, Renaissance
and Museum Development.
Maintaining direct dialogue with national
government via a specific body that leads on sectoral work and
Potential loss of advocacy, influencing
and networking at national and local levels, which may lead to
decrease in the profile/perception about the value and relevance
of museumsperverse, given the work museums do that are
in line with Big Society themes and objectives.
1.1 All of this untimely, when cuts are
already impinging at local level, and we are noting:
Redundancies and frozen postswith
implications for decline in standards through the loss of curatorial
and collections knowledge and expertise. This will ultimately
impact on the long-term care of the collections our museums hold
in trust for the present and future generations, as well as services
Closures and restricted opening hourslimiting
access to collections and, again, services for users.
What arts organisations can do to work more closely
together in order to reduce duplication of effort and to make
economies of scale.
2.0 The Renaissance programme has amply
demonstrated the benefits of collaborative working in the museum
sector: between regional partner services, and with the wider
regional museum community, as well as collaborations with national
museums. This has been achieved through programmes, projects,
workforce development, grants, advice, support and an enhanced
county museum fora provision, developed by the museum development
officer network. The system of Museum Development Officers and
Collections Access Assistants has been a great success in the
East Midlands allowing small and independent museums to access
expert opinion, help and training. This framework and collaboration
has raised standards and encouraged museums to work in partnership,
making best use of limited resources and best serving their users
2.1 Here in the East Midlands, EMMS provides
a low-cost, effective network for museums of all types and sizes
(and their practitioners, trustees and elected members). It has
worked effectively in partnership with both MLA and REM as the
East Midlands Museums Partnership to ensure that museums, and
those who use them, are being best served. We suggest this is
a workable and successful model that should be supported to take
the work forward strategically. EMMS is an organisation with a
track record; it has earned the trust of the regional museum community,
has been able to work efficiently and flexibly in partnership
with others. It could be replicated in other areas.
What level of public subsidy for the arts and
heritage is necessary and sustainable;
3.0 Perhaps we might ask what level of public
subsidy would be necessary to pick up the shortfall in the services
and benefits that arts and museums bring to a range of people
at a very cost effective rate! There is strong evidence to demonstrate
the impact and cost effectiveness of the work that museums and
arts organisations contribute to:
Citizenship and democracy.
Sense of place and cultural identity.
Inward investment and spending through
Many arts and heritage organisations already
have in place collaborative work with a wide range of partners
eg police, Primary Care Trusts, schools.
Whether the current system, and structure, of
funding distribution is the right one;
4.0 Arts and heritage organisations do great
work on relatively littlethey could do so much more developmental
and sustainable work if funding programmes could be on a three-year
rolling cycle. The arms length principle has been around since
the 1940sand provides a valuable interface between the
funders and funded. However, at its worst, it has been perceived
as too bureaucratic and constant restructuring and changes in
policy over the past 10 years have wasted large amounts of money,
which could be better spent. Direct funding from DCMS, supported
by advisory and representative committeesincluding practitionersand
key sectoral/representative bodies eg Museums Association might
be a way forward. However, it would be important to ensure such
bodies themselves were fit for purpose.
What impact recent changes to the distribution
of National Lottery funds will have on arts and heritage organisations;
5.0 We welcome any increase in the funding
available to museums and the artsespecially where existing
good work can be developed in a sustainable way.
Whether the policy guidelines for National Lottery
funding need to be reviewed;
6.0 We feel strongly that revenue funding
should be included as many projects have fallen by the wayside
due to lack of funding to ensure their continuation.
The impact of recent changes to DCMS arm's-length
bodiesin particular the abolition of the UK Film Council
and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council;
7.0 See above. With recent restructures
at MLA and a loss of staff, there is concern that future plans
for the next 18 months, and the work that MLA has been managingparticularly
with regard to Renaissance, Accreditation and museum development,
will lose impetus. Many initiatives, such as those being pursued
by the Renaissance Collections Specialist Panel to produce a regional
collecting strategy, have not yet reached fruition.
7.1 These programmes have been extremely
successful in raising standards and access to collections, in
both public and independent organisations. We need to be able
to plan strategically as a matter of some urgency, so this excellent
work is not lostthere needs to be continuity throughout
the transition period, with decisions being made and announced
well in advance of implementation, for the benefit of the sector
and for people who will be affected.
Whether businesses and philanthropists can play
a long-term role in funding arts at a national and local level;
8.0 Yesbut as part of a tapestry
of support. Two major concerns about this being the principal
source of future funding:
That private and commercial funding can,
and often does, impact on what is funded and howcan skew
provision for the wrong reasons.
Most funding of this type goes to the
larger national organisations in the major cities; smaller organisations,
and those outside of London, will be left competing for limited
funding for work that is important and/or innovative, but does
not have the appeal or profile an individual or business might
Whether there needs to be more Government incentives
to encourage private donations.
9.0 The 2008 manifesto, Private Giving for
the Public Good, makes the case for providing greater incentives
for living donors to make gifts of objects to the cultural sector,
and to give greater recognition to people who give to the cultural
sector. Have the recommendations been considered? Suggest organisations
such as Arts & Business be consulted.