Venue: Grand Jury Room, Town Hall, Colchester
Contact: Linda Slowgrove 01473 432511
Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence. It was noted that as Councillor Gerard Oxford was no longer a member of the Colchester Borough Council Cabinet, he was therefore no longer a member of the Joint Museum Committee.
To consider the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019.
that the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019 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: Museums Retail Offer Update
To receive a presentation from Retail Officer, Claire Sanders.
Ms Claire Sanders (Retail Officer) gave a presentation on the
Museum Service Retail Offer with the following key
· Retail net income for the Joint Museum Service had increased year on year over the last 5 years
· Increase in income was due to a wider range of products, improved gift shops areas and opportunities presented by hosting major exhibits
· Average spend per head was higher than the average across East of England museums: 87p vs 67p for museums with free admission and £1.40 vs £1.06 for paid admission museums
· The Fenwick Hoard and Adorn exhibitions enabled exclusive local jewellery to be added to Colchester Castle retail offer, whilst the Kiss & Tell exhibition enabled bespoke home and giftware items to be added to Christchurch Mansion retail offer
· The retail area in the Natural History Museum had its first upgrade, increasing the space available and improving lighting
· Ipswich Museum retail sales were lower following on from the successful Clangers, Bagpuss & Co exhibition, but still showed an increase in sales net of the sales related to that exhibition
Future improvements to the retail offer included: new environmental
range for the Natural History Museum, offer refresh at Colchester
Castle after the Adorn exhibition, retail offer for the
‘Unmasked – the Power of Stories’ exhibition at
Christchurch Mansion and school-friendly price points and
Councillor Young commented on the broad range of the retail offer,
from the high-end commissioned jewellery pieces to small cost
rocks/fossils, and asked what would be commissioned in the future,
highlighting that science items did not sell well.
Councillor Smart asked whether the Joint Museum Service offered
online sales, or if it should offer online sales, for example for
jewellery and science items, that could be available for people to
buy later in the year for Christmas.
Councillor Smart commented that if investment was made available to
support online sales for bespoke items, then it could also be used
to retail other items, whilst being mindful of packaging
Councillor Smart asked whether a catalogue of retail items could be
displayed on the CIMS website indicating that they were available
for sale at CIMS museums, which would give an opportunity for cross
promotion of items.
Councillor Jones asked whether there was any space for advertising
items in the monthly ‘What’s On’ newsletter and
if sale reductions were offered.
The Committee is asked to note the performance of the Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service for the period April to October 2019.
Councillor Jones highlighted the notable uplift in school visits to
Christchurch Mansion. Mr Steward
(Ipswich Museums Manager) reported that the Curatorial and Learning
Team had been developing new workshop sessions with schools,
following changes to the national curriculum, to ensure that the
school offer remained relevant to learning needs whilst making the
most of the unique collections, venues and staff skills on
Councillor Smart questioned why the total number of visitors across
the service was showing an increase of 20%, but the total income
was only showing an increase of 2%.
Mr Fairclough (Head of Culture and Environment, Ipswich) commented
that many of the visits to Ipswich’s museums this year had
been purely in relation to the Elmer’s Big Parade Trail
rather than actual visits to the museums, plus the income from the
sale of Elmer-related merchandise at the museum shops was passed
onto St Elizabeth Hospice.
Mr Steward added that there was a dual retail offer at Christchurch
Mansion whilst the Ed Sheeran ‘Made in Suffolk’
exhibition was on, which would also have an impact on museum retail
Ms Breadman commended the Ipswich Museum takeover of Jobcentre
Plus, where families were able to interact with both live animals
and museum collections, as an important part of community
engagement and would look to hold a similar event in
Colchester. Ms Breadman reported that
Ipswich Museum had won the Suffolk Museum Innovation of the Year
2019 award for enabling the most vulnerable to access its exhibits.
Mr Steward reported that the Curatorial and Learning Team had
developed a good relationship with the DWP, who were receptive to
holding future pop-up events.
that the performance of the Colchester and Ipswich Museum Services for the period April to October 2019 be noted.
This report provides a brief update on the current financial position, as of November 2019 for Colchester & Ipswich Joint Museum Service for 2019/20.
The report also summarises the current indicative position in relation to setting the 2020/21 budget for Colchester & Ipswich Joint Museum Service and recommended financial contributions from Colchester Borough Council and Ipswich Borough Council, to be agreed through each Council’s budget setting process.
Mr Hargrave reported that the proposed budget contributions for
2020/21 had taken into account a 1.7%
inflationary increase, a 2% pay increase and a 3.8% pension
contribution increase. New activities
were being developed for Colchester Castle, e.g. escape rooms and
sleepover events, to help meet costs.
Mr Fairclough asked whether there had been any progress in
resolving the high water bill. Mr
Hargrave reported that the bill, which covered all of the Castle Park, was still being
investigated. Ms Breadman added that
the bill covered the 2 museum buildings, plus 2 new buildings and
the refilling of the boating lake after it had been
that the total Colchester Borough Council and Ipswich Borough
Council budget contribution to the Colchester and Ipswich Museum
Service for 2020/21 be agreed as £1,934,600;
that the budget contribution for 2020/21 in relation to
Colchester Borough Council be agreed as £1,072,400;
that the budget contribution for 2020/21 in relation to Ipswich
Borough Council be agreed as £862,200;
(iv) that the total figure and respective partner contributions be recommended to the Cabinet of Colchester Borough Council and the Executive of Ipswich Borough Council for adoption.
The Committee is asked to approve the refreshed Business Plan and Performance Targets for 2020/21.
Councillor Jones highlighted that the first line on page 3 of the
Business Plan should read as “…. have helped shape the
2018-2022 Business Plan”.
Councillor Jones commented that parts of the background information
were now out-of-date. Mr Hargrave commented that the Business Plan
overview was written to cover the period 2018-2022, but its
objectives were refreshed each year; however, a new Business Plan
would be created later in the year as it would be required for the
next NPO application.
Councillor Jones asked about the end date of the fixed term
Assistant Curator post. Mr Hargrave
reported that this post was funded by Arts Council England as a
result of a successful bid for the Decoding the Dead project, but
was not currently included on the Staff Structure chart.
Councillor Jones highlighted that the first point on page 22 under
2. Collections should read as “…. will be on-line and
more publicly accessible …” and the last line at the
bottom of page 28 under objective 1.8 should read as
“…. to complement ‘Gladiators’ catalytic
Councillor Jones commented under objective 1.1 (to increase number
and range of visitors), that whilst there was reference to
representing ethnic minority groups, there was nothing about
engaging with people from the most disadvantaged areas.
Councillor Smart commented that it would be hard to measure the
involvement of people from disadvantaged areas unless postcode data
Councillor Young asked whether it would be possible to monitor
attendances of children who qualified for free school
meals. Ms Pickles (Colchester Museums
Manager) commented that schools were able to utilise Pupil Premium
funding to improve the attainment of disadvantaged
Ms Breadman highlighted that there was free access to Colchester
Castle as part of the Heritage Open Days each year. Ms Breadman added that the best way to engage with
disadvantaged groups would be to work with the DWP to create
Mr Hargrave commented that local authorities were best placed to
extend the range of museum service audiences, and Ms Breadman added
that at the next level of NPO funding, core funding was provided
for resource to increase accessibility to museums services for a
Councillor Young reported that Firstsite had gained recognition for
its ‘Holiday Hunger’ programme aimed at schoolchildren
eligible for free school meals.
Councillor Young commented in relation to objective 2.6 that
disused shop windows had been used in the past for displays to
raise the profile of museum activities.
Councillor Jones asked in relation to objective 4.6 whether the
focus could be placed on schools whose intake had a higher level of
deprivation when looking to attract future trainees.
19.13. Ms Breadman reported that Colchester Borough Council had allocated £15,000 to the Museums Service to look at ways to attract schoolchildren, for example, free transport to the museums. Councillor Jones added that Ipswich Borough Council had budget available to improve opportunities for young people in ... view the full minutes text for item 19.
Proposed Dates of Meeting for 2020/21
To confirm the dates of the meetings for 2020/21:
· Tuesday 30 June 2020, 12.30pm – Ipswich
· Tuesday 19 January 2021, 12.30pm – Colchester
Councillor Young highlighted that she was not available for the
proposed date of 30 June 2020 and asked whether there was any
option to move this date to 7 July 2020.
that the dates of meetings for 2020/21 be provisionally confirmed as:
· Tuesday 30 June 2020, 12.30pm – Ipswich
· Tuesday 19 January 2021, 12.30pm – Colchester