Agenda and minutes

Colchester & Ipswich Joint Museums Committee - Wednesday 24th June 2015 2.00 pm

Venue: Orwell Room, Grafton House. View directions

Contact: Linda Slowgrove  01473 432511

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that, on the proposal of Councillor Frame and seconded by Councillor Oxford, Councillor Jones was appointed Chair for the 2015/16 municipal year.

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chair

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that, on the proposal of Councillor Jones and seconded by Councillor Oxford, Councillor Young was appointed Vice-Chair for the 2015/16 municipal year.

 

3.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Smart, Councillor Young, Councillor Rudkin, Ann Hedges and Helen Pluck.

4.

Unconfirmed Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 37 KB

To consider the Minutes of the meeting held on 20 January 2015.

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Minutes of the meeting held on 20 January 2015 be signed as a true record.

5.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Order of Business be confirmed as printed on the Agenda.

6.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

7.

Dates of Future Meetings

Proposed dates for 2015/16:

·                Tuesday 3 November 2015, 2pm (Colchester)

·                Tuesday 19 January 2016, 2pm (Ipswich)

·                Tuesday 22 March 2016, 2pm (Colchester)

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the dates of future meetings be confirmed as:

·                     Tuesday 3 November 2015, 2pm (Colchester)

·                     Tuesday 19 January 2016, 2pm (Ipswich)

·                     Tuesday 22 March 2016, 2pm (Colchester)

Post meeting update: Following the revision of the Joint Museums Agreement, there will only be two meetings of the Joint Committee per year, with the next meeting therefore taking place on Tuesday 19 January 2016, 2pm in Colchester.

8.

JMS/15/01Performance Update pdf icon PDF 84 KB

This report summarises performance for the period from January to April 2015 for the Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service.

 

The Committee is asked to note the report.

Minutes:

8.1.        Mr Seaman (Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service Manager) reported that Colchester Castle had exceeded the ambitious targets set for 2014/15 and attendance had not dropped off since the initial launch.   Councillor Frame asked what targets had been set for 2015/16.  Mr Hodgson (Colchester Museums Manager) reported that the following targets had been set: Admissions Income £320,000, School Income £74,000, Tours Income £15,000, Hiring Income £22,000, Retail Income £88,000.  Councillor Jones congratulated the Museum Team on the success of the re-launch of Colchester Castle.

8.2.        In response to Councillor Jones, Mr Seaman reported that the Castle was hired out for weddings (all parts of the castle were licensed), for business events and occasional parties, and a brochure was being put together similar to that used for Town Hall hirings.  Mr Seaman added that weddings in the Castle were mostly held in the evening as the Castle was usually busy during the day with school trips.

8.3.        Councillor Frame questioned how the number of school visits to Ipswich Museum and Art School had not met its target, but the corresponding schools income was almost double its target.  Mr Seaman reported that the schools income target should have been set higher, as the cost per child roughly equated to £2, and added that there was a similar issue for the corresponding Christchurch Mansion school targets.

8.4.        Ms Austin (Ipswich Museums Manager) reported that a new schools programme was being developed with input from teachers, to tie in with the national curriculum following changes in recent years. As Ipswich’s collections were particularly strong in artefacts relating to the Egyptians, Stone Age and Iron Age, a package was being developed around these collections with a target audience of early years schoolchildren.

8.5.        Mr Seaman reported that the Aspire Project at Christchurch Mansion had been successful and had boosted visitor figures.  The Gardens exhibition was relaunched on 11 June to coincide with the 239th anniversary of Constable’s birth, and later in the year, there would be exhibits from Lucien Freud on display in the Mansion.

8.6.        Councillor Jones asked whether the performance figures should include data from the previous 3 years.  Ms Breadman (Head of Community Services, Colchester) reported that in light of significant events in recent years (closure and relaunch of Colchester Castle, exceptional success of the Dr Who Crash of the Elysium exhibition) it would be difficult to provide a true like-for-like comparison.

Resolved:

 

that the report be noted.

9.

JMS/15/02 Draft Accounts for 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 40 KB

The Committee is asked:

(i)            to consider the report and supporting information and approve the pre-audit accounts for 2014/15 so that the Annual Return can be submitted for audit by the statutory deadline of 30 June 2015;

(ii)          to note the changes in the audit requirements from 2015/16 and confirm the preferred course of action.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

9.1.        Mr Heath (Finance Manager, Colchester) reported that as the Joint Committee was classified as a ‘smaller relevant body’, it was only necessary to submit the short form Annual Return and supporting statements for audit by 30 June 2015.

9.2.        Mr Heath added that following the repeal of the Audit Commission Act 1998, with effect from 1 April 2015, there was no longer a requirement from 2015/16 for the Joint Committee to submit its accounts for audit as a separate body; its accounts would automatically be included as part of the statutory audit of the main Colchester Borough Council accounts.  In light of this, the Committee agreed to discontinue the submission of separate accounts for external audit from 2015/16.

Resolved:

 

(i)           that the pre-audit accounts for 2014/15 be approved so that the Annual Return can be submitted for audit by the statutory deadline of 30 June 2015;

(ii)          that the submission of separate accounts for the Joint Committee for external audit be discontinued from 2015/16.

10.

JMS/15/03 Budget Update pdf icon PDF 37 KB

This report provides a brief budget update for 2014/15 and also summarises the 2015/16 budget for Colchester and Ipswich Joint Museum Services, and financial contributions from Colchester Borough Council and Ipswich Borough Council, as agreed through each Council’s budget setting process.

 

The Committee is asked to note the report.

Minutes:

10.1.     Mr Seaman reported that following a deficit in the previous couple of years, the Joint Museum Service budget was now in a positive position due to a number of one-off factors, which were detailed in the report.  Mr Seaman added that this surplus would be utilised to support the documentation of the Ipswich collections and to invest in the Colchester Castle offer through the provision of additional IT content for the audio-visuals and tablet displays.

10.2.     Councillor Frame questioned whether some of the surplus should be kept in reserve for future activities.  Mr Seaman reported there was a base maintenance budget to cover small maintenance items, and highlighted the importance of refreshing displays on a regular basis and completing the documentation of collections, as these would be key factors for any application for external funding.  Ms Breadman added that a deficit/surplus of up to £100,000 was permitted on the Joint Museum Service budget and this acted as a reserve for any unexpected expenditure.

Resolved:

 

that the report be noted.

11.

JMS/15/04 Annual Governance Statement 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 27 KB

The Committee is required to annually review the service’s internal control arrangements by regulation 4 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2011.  The Committee is asked:

·                     To note and approve the 2014/15 Annual Governance Statement for Colchester and Ipswich Joint Museums Service;

·                     To agree the positive completion of Section 2 (the Governance Declaration) of the Annual Return for 2014/15;

·                     To agree the actions highlighted in the statement, which are required to ensure that the partnership continues to provide appropriate and cost effective services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

11.1.     Ms McGrath (Corporate Governance Manager) reported that no significant governance issues had arisen from the review, but there were some internal controls that could be strengthened and these had been included on the Action Plan in Appendix 2 to the report.

11.2.     Councillor Jones asked whether the Health & Safety monitoring report could be produced by December 2015.  Ms McGrath confirmed that this was feasible and the resulting report would be brought to the Joint Committee in January 2016.

Resolved:

 

(i)           that the 2014/15 Annual Governance Statement for the Colchester and Ipswich Joint Museum Service be approved;

(ii)          that the positive completion of Section 2 (the Governance Declaration) of the Annual Return for 2014/15 be agreed;

(iii)         that the actions highlighted in the statement, which are required to ensure that the partnership continues to provide appropriate and cost effective services, be agreed.

12.

JMS/15/05 Annual Review of Risk Management pdf icon PDF 31 KB

The Committee is asked:

·                     To endorse the Risk Management Strategy for 2015/16;

·                     To review and comment on the Risk Register for the Joint Museum Service.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

12.1.     Ms McGrath reported that the Risk Management Strategy had been reviewed and no changes had been made.

12.2.     With regard to the Strategic Risk Register, Ms Breadman questioned whether risk 1.9 should be reconsidered in light of the completion of the restructure for the Museum Service and the acquisition of Arts Council England Resilience funding.  Ms McGrath reported that the impact of this risk had been upgraded last time; however, whilst the impact could still be considered as significant, the probability might have reduced in light of the staffing and funding changes, so a risk score of 3x4 might now be more appropriate.  Mr Mole (Head of Culture & Environment Services, Ipswich) highlighted that the review date was January 2016 and requested that Ms McGrath investigate this risk and report back to Committee at the January 2016 meeting.

Resolved:

 

(i)           that the Risk Management Strategy for 2015/16 be endorsed;

(ii)          that the Strategic Risk Register for the Joint Museum Service be updated in light of the comments made.

13.

JMS/15/06 Internal Audit Findings 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 30 KB

The Committee is asked to review and comment on the findings of the 2014/15 Internal Audit review of the Joint Museum Service.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

13.1.     Ms McGrath reported that the full Internal Audit report had been included in the papers and, in future, the Ipswich Internal Audit Team would be consulted prior to the audit commencing in order to allow them to advise of any areas they would like included in the audit.

13.2.     Ms McGrath reported that the 2014/15 Internal Audit report had been graded as providing ‘Substantial’ assurance and had shown a year-on-year improvement; 4 priority 2 recommendations had been identified for management to consider.

13.3.     In response to Councillor Jones, Ms McGrath reported that if a previous recommendation was not cleared, then this would be reported in the following year’s report.  Ms Breadman added that any recommendation not addressed by the following year’s audit would be escalated in priority.

13.4.     Mr Seaman reported that the 4 recommendations identified in the 2014/15 Internal Audit report had already been addressed.

Resolved:

 

that the Internal Audit report for the Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service be noted.