Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry submission 5/5/2016

NMDC has made a submission to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry, Countries of Culture. Our submission outlines how museums are loved and trusted public institutions which preserve, protect and promote the nation's collective memory, knowledge and history. Museums have never been so vibrant or popular, and therefore they deliver eight public policy priorities and are able to do so because of their collections, buildings and the expertise of staff. These mean that museums have long-term fixed costs and therefore it is challenging to manage swift and significant changes in levels of public investment. NMDC is sympathetic to the predicament many local authorities are in, and highlights examples of where local authorities have thought creatively about how they can support museums as they continue to become more enterprising and community facing. NMDC also supports the approaches taken by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England to invest in the long term sustainability of the museum sector, highlights the potential of partnerships with universities, and outlines mutually beneficial partnerships with national museums. NMDC urges the sector to work with funding and development organisations, Government, local authorities and MPs to maintain strategic public investment in the museum sector and create the conditions for museums to flourish. This could be achieved by:

  • Ensuring there are no unnecessary barriers to enterprise;
  • Celebrate the contribution museums make to public policy priorities and fully integrate museums into regional policy and economic planning, and community development;
  • Investing in transition to help museums continue their successful evolution to an appropriate financially sustainable operating model (and in doing so protect previous investment); and
  • Think creatively and ambitiously about how museums can work together for mutual benefit and to ensure most effective and efficient use of resources across the whole sector.

The whole document, which includes more detailed recommendations - such as closer working with Local Enterprise Partnerships, changes to business rates, transition funding and seed funding for digital innovations - is available here: NMDC