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Creation of independent organisation could save £530,000 a year
THE creation of a new, independent organisation to deliver and run arts, museums and heritage services will be discussed by Hampshire County Council tomorrow.
Bosses at Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council are putting the finishing touches to plans to deliver such services through a charitable company known as the Hampshire Solent Cultural Trust.
The council’s culture, communities and rural affairs select committee will be asked to scrutinise the business case at its meeting tomorrow.
The case has been developed with comments from the public, staff and other interested parties.
Council chiefs say that because the new trust would be a larger organisation, and have charitable status, it could generate significant additional investment and attract high-profile national exhibitions. In doing so, this would achieve the goal of putting the Hampshire Solent cultural offer in the UK top 10 by 2020.
It is also claimed that the two councils – which would continue to provide funding to the trust through annual grants – could together save a combined total of £530,000 a year by the fifth year of the project and attract an estimated £2million-£2.5m of external investment.
Councillor Keith Chapman, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for culture, recreation and countryside, said: “Under these proposals, museum collections would be loaned to the new trust, and new acquisitions would be held in trust on behalf of the councils.
“With Winchester and Hampshire bringing their collections together in this way, this unites the county story together with its collections for the first time.
“With ongoing budget constraints across the public sector as a whole, it’s important we look at this long-term, resilient solution.
“The intention of the trust is not to reduce staff numbers but to protect the quality and future of heritage services.”
Following scrutiny tomorrow, Cllr Chapman will consider whether to go ahead with the plan on September 25.
Winchester City Council will then make its decision at the beginning of November.
A final decision regarding the transfer of services will take place in spring 2014.
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