Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Executive held on 04/07/2001
SCOPING REPORT – MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
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SCOPING REPORT – MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
1. The review will examine the Council’s role in the provision and support for museums and galleries in Waverley.
2. The review will aim to answer the following principle questions:
Given that the Council is not obliged to provide museums and galleries, does the extent of the Council’s support for the provision of museums and galleries in the Borough, both directly and through grant aid, reflect the value that the community places upon them?
Is the Council’s support for museums and galleries effectively and efficiently delivered?
Are there other mechanisms by which the same outcomes be achieved which would offer other advantages in service-delivery?
How could the Council improve the service offered at the museums and galleries over which it has substantial control and how should that improvement be measured?
3. The review will cover three main elements:
The operation of the Museum of Farnham. This is owned and managed by Waverley.
The operation of Godalming Museum. This is an independent museum which utilises a building owned by the Council and which receives more than 20% of its funding from Waverley.
Grants given to support the operations of two other museums in the area, the Museum of Rural Life at Tilford, and the Haslemere Educational Museum, and support for the New Ashgate Gallery. All of these are fully independent organisations and their operation is not a subject of this review. However, the nature, scale and extent of the Council’s financial support for them through the sponsored organisations scheme are relevant to this review.
4. The Council’s total expenditure on museums and galleries as shown in the 2001/02 budget book is £213,810. In addition to this figure the Council may give capital and project grants to these organisations from its matched-funding provision.
5. The review will examine each of these areas of activity to test the extent to which they are justified and the extent to which they are efficient in using the resources currently made available.
6. In this way it will be possible to meet the requirements the best value review process in respect of the ‘fours Cs’, in particular as follows:
7. Neither the direct provision of museums nor the provision of grant aid to museums is a duty of a local authority. The extent to which the Council is justified in incurring this expenditure is therefore to be determined by the extent to which it brings benefits which are in the interests of the community (whether or not any individual makes use of them) and the extent to which it has support for this expenditure.
8. The review will therefore examine the extent to which Waverley’s work in this area is supported and the consequences of its withdrawal from this service. It will also examine the extent to which other providers might take on responsibility for this service, were the Council not to do so.
9. The Museum of Farnham is an active participant in regional and national bench-marking exercises which will provide evidence regarding its comparative performance against other museums, both in the local authority, independent and commercial sector. Godalming Museum will also be examined against similar criteria.
10. Information regarding operating costs, staffing and related issues will be sought from other museums which are similar in nature and which serve similar population centres. Museums vary greatly in their aims and objectives and this will affect all measurable aspects of their operation in ways which need to be carefully considered if misleading comparisons are to be avoided.
11. The nature and extent of the Council’s grant aid to the other museums and galleries in the area will also be assessed and compared with other authorities in relevant ‘family groupings’.
12. Consultation will take place with those organisations that have an active interest in the role of museums within their community, such as town and parish councils, local businesses, and schools and colleges. Users of museums will also be consulted regarding the quality of their experience and the value they have obtained from their visits to the particular facilities. In addition, the Citizen’s Panel will be used to seek out the views of those who never, or very infrequently, visit one of the museums under review to test how they might be made more relevant and accessible to a wider range of people.
13. Although many museums operate within the private sector and operate on a profit making basis, these tend to be large in scale and have a particular purpose (such as the exhibition of a national collection).
14. There are no private operators offering management services for local authority museums in a similar fashion to the operation of sports and leisure centres. The reason for this is easy to understand since few local museums charge for entry (this is actively discouraged by all organisations and agencies in the museums sector) there is no scope for a private sector manager to increase income through better marketing or efficiency gains.
15. However, there may be mechanisms through which the Council could secure the management of the Museum of Farnham that would deliver a similar or better standard of service at a lower cost. This will be examined as part of the review.
Links with Appropriate Waverley Strategies
16. This Fundamental Service Review will relate to other Waverley Strategies and Plans, particularly Corporate and Service Plans, the Community Strategy and any specific service strategies. Those that are particularly relevant to the Leisure Reviews are as follows:-
Community Safety Strategy
Local Plan and Replacement Local Plan
Economic Development Plan
Local Agenda 21 Strategy
‘A Fresh Future’ – the Four Year Plan 1999-2003
Tourism Action Plan; ‘Visitors mean Business’
Surrey Youth Strategy
17. In addition, Waverley has a statutory obligation to prepare and submit an Asset Management Plan along with its Capital Strategy. This is designed to demonstrate that the Council is taking a strategic approach to the use of its property assets in the provision of its services. It is therefore essential that the use of property for the provision of services forms an intrinsic part of all FSRs.
18. A provisional outline timetable is provided in the Gantt chart attached to this report. It is intended that the review be completed before 31st December 2001. The review has three main phases:
Phase 1 – Data Collection/Information Gathering
19. This phase will include:
Establishing the role for Members and other stakeholders in the reviews themselves – probably through an early workshop
Establishing the mechanism for testing community and stakeholder views about the Council’s role in the service and then implementing
Identifying the appropriate consultation mechanisms and the extent of the consultation process and then implementing
Using the Excellence Model to examine elements of the service
Identifying and gathering relevant performance data
Bench-marking with other local authorities and similar service deliverers
Investigating current examples of good practice and effective service delivery models and subjecting them to critical examination
Phase 2 – Analysis
20. This phase will include:
Analysing responses to the ‘challenge’ and consultation exercises
Analysing the outcomes of bench-marking, Excellence Model and performance measurement exercises
Identifying the key issues for change to improve performance and the mechanisms by which these can be measured
Testing options for performance improvements with key stake-holders
Phase 3 - Recommendations
21. This phase will include:
Preparing the report of the review team
Discussing the implications of change with Members
Seeking approval for changes which are considered desirable
Service Review Group
22. The service review group will consist of:
Steve Tilbury - Head of Leisure Services
Ann Jones - Curator, Museum of Farnham
Chris Hillier - Assistant Curator, Museum of Farnham
Alison Pattison - Curator, Godalming Museum
Representative from Department of Finance
23. Other staff from within the Environment and Leisure Department may need to be involved depending on the nature of the work which the review group is undertaking.
24. All of the curatorial staff involved in the service review group are responsible for front-line services and whilst engaged in work on the service review they will not be available to maintain existing work programmes. At extremes this could necessitate the closure of facilities if they are required to work away from the premises on review issues. It will therefore be necessary to make provision for additional staff time to provide cover for their work on the service review group.
25. It will also be necessary to make budget provision for the costs of the consultation processes involved and miscellaneous costs arising from the review such as the purchase of comparative data, benchmarking information and travel.