Agenda and minutes

Colchester & Ipswich Joint Museums Committee - Tuesday 19th January 2016 2.00 pm

Venue: Room G3, Rowan House, Sheepen Road, Colchester

Contact: Linda Slowgrove  01473 432511

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Hayley McGrath.


Unconfirmed Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To consider the Minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2015.


15.1.     It was noted that the actions arising from the previous meeting (minutes 11.2 and 12.2) would be progressed through the Portfolio Holder meetings.




that the Minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2015 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.


Presentation: Arts Council England - 'The Training Museum' Initiative


18.1.     Ms Macfarlane (Projects Development Officer) gave a brief presentation on the Training Museum initiative, with the following key points:

·           Project was funded by the Arts Council England for 3 years to 2018 with the aim of developing a museum workforce fit for the future

·          Cimovation’ Fund available for small grant applications

·           Working in partnership with University Campus Suffolk and University of Essex, offering a 2-year BA course with work placements in the Joint Museum Service

·           Trainee programme providing a new route to acquiring museum skills, working with collections and offering traineeships and volunteer placements

·           Working in partnerships with schools on a longer term approach, opportunities for children to get involved in collection care and exhibitions

18.2.     Ms Fox (Museums Project Officer) reported that her role was to support the trainees and develop their training programme, which involved 3 days a week of vocational training and 2 days a week working in visitor services; once essential museum training was undertaken, trainees would be working alongside the CIMS team.

18.3.     The 7 appointed trainees introduced themselves and outlined their diverse backgrounds, ranging from academic to retail, and indicated which areas of the museum service they were looking forward to getting involved with.

18.4.     Ms Hedges (Chief Operating Officer, Colchester) congratulated the trainees and commented that a lot of people had applied for the trainee posts. Ms Hedges encouraged the trainees to feedback on any areas where the training programme could be improved, and asked whether the programme included corporate aspects, e.g. the pressure on local government funding.  Mr Seaman (Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service Manager) reported that all the trainees had training together on Wednesdays and that this could be considered for a future session and would welcome involvement from both Senior Officers and Councillors.

18.5.     Ms Fox reported that feedback was encouraged throughout the training programme and added that Counterculture Partnership would be evaluating the programme as part of the User Evaluation Strategy, which would also include feedback from the CIMS staff.

18.6.     Councillor Smart commented that at a time when local government was under pressure, developing a skills base to meet recruitment needs in the museum sector whilst future job opportunities may be declining was a concern and asked whether the skills could be applied elsewhere.  The trainees reported that a wide range of skills were being included in the programme, e.g. project management, PR, event management, plus work experience.  Ms Fox added that elements were included throughout the programme to support future employment, with transferable skills, such as development of CVs.

18.7.     Mr Hodgson (Colchester Museums Manager) reported that the Powermeeter video interviewing software had been used as part of the selection process for the trainees after the initial shortlisting from CVs, as well as group team exercises.

18.8.     Ms Breadman (Head of Community Services, Colchester) reported that another strand of the programme had commercial benefits and there were plans to develop new income streams going forward to deliver course content in partnership with the two  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


JMS/15/07 Performance Update pdf icon PDF 108 KB

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


19.1.     Mr Hodgson reported that the Castle guidebook retailed at £6 and over 400 copies had been sold already, adding to the retail offer.

19.2.     Mr Seaman reported that the Fenwick Treasure would soon be on display in the Castle, with the civic and public launches taking place in March 2016, and information relating to the Celts would be added to the tablets to tie in with this exhibit.

19.3.     Councillor Young asked whether any half-term promotions were planned. Mr Seaman reported that the prisons were being redeveloped using the reinvestment funding and the apps would be updated to include information relating to the Witchfinder General.

19.4.     Councillor Smart asked how targets were set, as the income targets were being exceeded, but the visitor targets were not.  Mr Seaman commented that school visits had declined for Christchurch Mansion, but there had been an increase in public visits, where public interest had been fuelled by the exhibition of Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadow from the Tate and other Constable works from the Ipswich collection.

19.5.     Councillor Jones asked about the number of schools visiting. Ms Austin (Ipswich Museums Manager) reported that some schools did their own-led tour whilst others participated in workshops, and added that new school packages were being developed for September following the changes in curriculum.

19.6.     Mr Seaman reported that over one million people were expected to visit the “Life in Georgian England” exhibition in Nanjing and added that the actual visitor figures would be reported in the local media after the exhibition closed in May 2016.



that the report be noted.


JMS/15/08 2016/17 Budget for Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service pdf icon PDF 72 KB

This report provides a brief update on the current financial position for Colchester & Ipswich Joint Museum Service for 2015/16.


The report also summarises the current indicative position in relation to setting the 2016/17 budget for the Joint Service and the recommended financial contributions from Colchester Borough Council and Ipswich Borough Council, to be agreed through each Council’s budget setting process.


20.1.     Mr Brown (Finance Manager, Colchester) reported that under the revised Joint Museums Agreement, each authority retained the majority of its income and that the contributions for each authority had been frozen for 2016/17.

20.2.     Ms Hedges commented that if there was a significant over-achievement by the Joint Museum Service, it would be the decision of each authority to decide how that money was utilised, i.e. reinvestment in the Joint Museums Service or utilised as part of the General Fund.



(i)           that the total Colchester Borough Council and Ipswich Borough Council contribution to the Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service for 2016/17 be agreed as £1,887,400;

(ii)          that the budget contribution for 2016/17 in relation to Colchester Borough Council be agreed at £1,078,300;

(iii)         that the budget contribution for 2016/17 in relation to Ipswich Borough Council be agreed at £809,100;

(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.


JMS/15/09 Completion of Annual Audit 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

This report notes the publication of the audited Annual Return for 2014/15.


21.1.     Mr Heath (Finance Manager (Technical), Colchester) reported that the Annual Return for 2014/15 had been signed by the auditor confirming an unqualified opinion except for one comment arising from the Internal Audit report, which had since been addressed and tested in the 2015/16 Internal Audit process.

21.2.     Mr Heath reported that Annual Returns would no longer be produced for the Joint Museum Committee and that this would now be audited as part of each authority’s Internal Audit process. 



that the publication of the audited Annual Return for 2014/15 be noted.


Dates of Meetings for 2016/17

To confirm the dates of the meetings for 2016/17 as follows:

·                     Tuesday 28 June 2016, 2pm – Ipswich

·                     Tuesday 24 January 2017, 2pm – Colchester




that the dates of meetings for 2016/17 be confirmed as:


·                Tuesday 28 June 2016, 2pm (Ipswich)

·                Tuesday 24 January 2017, 2pm (Colchester)