Venue: Room G3, Rowan House, Sheepen Road, Colchester
Contact: Linda Slowgrove 04173 432511
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Rudkin and Helen Pluck.
To consider the Minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2014.
that the Minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2014 be signed as a true record.
To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business
that the Order of Business be confirmed as printed on the Agenda.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
The Committee is asked to note the report.
Councillor Smith asked what groups had been hiring Colchester
Castle. Mr Seaman (Colchester and
Ipswich Museum Service Manager) reported that the venue was
primarily being hired out for weddings and some corporate hire, and
offered facilities to support external catering. Councillor Jones congratulated the Museum staff on
the performance since the re-opening of Colchester Castle and
highlighted the need to market Christchurch Mansion as a wedding
Councillor Smart asked whether there had been a dip in attendance
figures prior to the refurbishment of Colchester
Castle. Mr Seaman confirmed that there
had been a tail off in the visitor figures, but the empty building
had provided opportunities to hold different types of event prior
to the works commencing.
Councillor Smith asked what the national trend was for museums
attendance. Mr Seaman reported that it
was a mixed picture, partly depending on whether admission was free
or not, and the extent of the impact arising from changes in the
national curriculum; however, where investment had been made, there
had been greater returns.
Councillor Young asked whether a programme of special events had
been planned following the success of the Victorian Christmas at
Christchurch Mansion. Mr Seaman
reported that Christmas events at both Christchurch Mansion and
Colchester Castle had been successful this year, providing
opportunities for secondary sales, and these events would be
expanded for this year.
Councillor Jones questioned why the Gainsboroughs had been taken out of the Wolsey Art
Gallery and requested that they be returned to this room.
that the report be noted.
Presentation by the Retail Manager
Claire Sanders (Retail Manager) gave a presentation on the issues
and opportunities relating to the Joint Museums Service retail
offer. The Service offered a wide range of venues, but there was
little crossover in the stock range, which had become run
down. Electronic point-of-sale
equipment was essential to provide greater stock control and this
had now been rolled out to all sites.
For each site (Ipswich Museum, Christchurch Mansion, Colchester
Castle), Ms Sanders detailed performance figures and issues, target
demographics, best-selling items and product development plans
(e.g. core range, targeted branding).
Councillor Smart noted the cost issue of digitising town-specific
history publications, such as ‘A Rhino in High Street’,
and asked whether other museums/town had encountered this
problem. Councillor Smart added that
there could be opportunities to work with other organisations to
jointly produce a series of books on East Anglia towns that could
be sold across the region, spreading the cost of production and
Councillor Smith asked whether it was worth exploring online sales
of any unique products developed. Ms Sanders reported that this had
been considered, but wasn’t currently viable; currently the
museum shops processed a few telephone sales, but this was labour
intensive. Once the bespoke range of products was available, sales
options would be investigated. Mr Seaman added that there would
need to be considerable volumes of online sales for it to become
efficient in light of the effort involved in packaging.
Mr Mole (Head of Community & Cultural Services, Ipswich)
reported that discussions had taken place with the previous hosts
of the Aspire Project in relation to what merchandise sold well,
and added that any leftover stock could be sold onto the next host
It was agreed that a further retail update be presented to the
Committee in 6 months’ time.
that the presentation be noted.
The Committee is asked to note the publication of the audited Annual Return for 2013/14.
Mr Heath (Finance Manager, Colchester) confirmed that the interest
from the Albert Memorial Fund (referenced in report JMS/14/03 of
the June 2014 meeting) would be included in future Annual Returns
and was likely to be in the region of £15,000 for
Mr Heath reported that the only recommendation from the Auditor was
to amend the ‘Total cash and short term investments’ to
include petty cash balances and this change had been
Mr Heath reported that 2014/15 would be the last year that the
Joint Museum Committee would be obliged to produce a separate
Annual Return, and a decision would be required in June 2015 as to
whether the Committee wanted to continue with this
that the publication of the audited Annual Return for 2013/14 be noted.
The Committee is asked to review and comment on the risk register for the Joint Museum Service.
Ms McGrath (Corporate Governance Manager, Colchester) invited
comment on the Strategic Risk Register and Risk Matrix.
Councillor Smith asked whether the risks items should be renumbered
sequentially. Ms McGrath highlighted
that this was a historic document that listed the risks that had
previously been removed. It was agreed to add a note to explain the
gaps in the numbering.
that the Risk Register be updated in light of comments raised by the Joint Museum Committee.
The Committee is asked to note the current indicative position in relation to setting the 2015/16 budget for the Colchester and Ipswich Joint Museum Service and recommend the financial contributions from Colchester Borough Council and Ipswich Borough Council, to be agreed through each Council’s budget setting process.
Councillor Smith requested an explanation on how the 2015/16
contributions of the individual authorities had been derived from
that the total Colchester Borough Council and Ipswich
Borough Council contribution to the Colchester and Ipswich Museum
Service for 2015/16 be agreed as £1,446,400;
that the budget contribution for 2015/16 in relation to
Colchester Borough Council be agreed at £670,800;
that the budget contribution for 2015/16 in relation to
Ipswich Borough Council be agreed at £775,600;
(iv) that the total figure and the respective partner contributions be recommended to the Cabinet of Colchester Borough Council and the Executive of Ipswich Borough Council for adoption.