Culture Trust - Consultations

Summary details
We would like your feedback on its proposal to transfer our Cultural Services to a trust.

On 27 February, we approved a recommendation that the preferred course of action for Cultural Services was to transfer them from direct Council provision to delivery via a charitable trust. Officers were charged with developing the business case, an implementation model for the Trust and undertaking further consultation on the proposal before returning to the Council in autumn for a final decision.

If approved, the new trust we plan to have it operational by October 2015.

What services does this affect?
•Libraries and Information Services
•Museums and Galleries
•Archives and Local History, including the Heritage Hub, Hawick
•Arts Development
•Heart of Hawick, including Tower Mill, Hawick
•Public Halls
•Community Centres
•The Administrative staff that provides support for all these services

Why is this happening?
We have been looking for some time to restructure the service and to improve efficiency and customer focus. More recently, it has been expected to deliver budget savings of over £400k.

What options were considered?
Officers investigated two high level options for the services: keep them within the Council or transfer the Services out of the Council to a new Culture Trust. The Culture Trust option came out as the preferred option because:

•In a Trust Services can be more demand led, more responsive to what our customers and users want. A Trust can be more flexible and quicker at making decisions. A new Board can bring new ideas, skills and experience to our work. In addition, by making the most of opportunities from fundraising and income generation a Trust will be better positioned to preserve the quality and reach of service in the face of any future budget cuts.
•Transferring Services to a Trust delivers the vast majority of the savings target from rates remission. Keeping the Services within the Council means the savings will have to be found from reducing activity, closing facilities and streamlining management and backroom support.

Are their any other culture trusts in Scotland?
Nine local authorities have already transferred their services to a trust successfully including Highland, Fife, Falkirk and Glasgow.
Consultation findings/decisions
A progress report is due to be taken back to Council in autumn this year with a view to the Trust being operational by October 2015.
Closing date
31 July 2014
01835 826606
Ian Brown - Cultural Services Manager
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