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Luton Culture Savings Proposals 2011

Luton Culture Savings Proposals 2011

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Published by Andy Strange
Report to the Executive of Luton Borough Council on Luton Culture Savings Proposals (excluding Libraries) 3rd October 2011
Report to the Executive of Luton Borough Council on Luton Culture Savings Proposals (excluding Libraries) 3rd October 2011

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Published by: Andy Strange on Oct 14, 2011
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Agenda Item Number:
 Executive XCLMT
Meeting Date:
October 2011
Report of:
Head of CommunityLiving
 Report author:
Michelle Griffin
Consultations: (x)
Luton Culture Savings Proposals (excludingLibraries)Councillors
(For Executive Only)
Lead Executive Member(s):
Cllr Ashraf Stakeholders
Wards Affected:
ALL Others
Recommendations1. The Executive is asked to authorise consultion on the proposals with a view to bringinga final report back to the Executive at a later date:(i) Closure of Wardown Park Museum on weekdays during term time for general public visitsexcluding pre booked tours from April 2012(ii) Move Fireworks to Stopsley Common as a pilot for 2012 and charge for parking at the newsports centre site to reduce the subsidy of the event(iii) Cease Summer Festival in St Georges Square from 2013(iv) Close John Dony Field Centre, Turners Knoll and Barton Road Museum Stores.Background
2. Luton Culture was set up to protect and enhance cultural services at a time before the currentfinancial situation, but it was still evident that the mainly non-statutory services would remain in avulnerable position within the budget challenges of the Council. The charitable trust status afforded toLuton Culture allows them to take advantage of opportunities such as gift aid. The agreement (FMA)between the Council and Luton Culture is a 25 year agreement with a five year funding agreement.This basically gives the Trust an uplift by the RPI (though it was a reduction in 2009-10 as the RPIfrom the previous year that the agreement was based on was negative), minus a 1.5% efficiencysaving. Luton Culture has restructured, developed new cross-Trust teams, worked at diversifying itsincome and made savings in the order of £900,000 since it was founded in 2008. It has reduced itsreliance on LBC from 73% of its funding to 68% of its funding in three years. However, rather than thiswork providing stability and resilience now, its additional funding and savings have been required tocover the Trust’s VAT position (the Trust now has non-reclaimable VAT of c£250,000 per annumwhich wasn’t accounted for in the transfer) and other ongoing costs such as increases in NationalInsurance etc. The Council also did not pay the Trust the RPI uplift that is in the FMA for this year(worth a further £160,000). This has left the Trust in a position with little reserve and, an ongoing VATchallenge. The Council did, however, give the Trust a one-off amount of £250,000 in 2010 to use forinvestment in cultural activity that would generate income in the recognition that they are in a verydifficult financial position due to the way the funding agreement was structured. This funding has beenused to employ a fundraiser and to invest in capital equipment that saves the Trust ongoing revenuecost and that the trust gain income from hire charges.
The current position
3. The Trust is currently going through a further restructure to manage the loss of almost £1mfunding from April 2012 when the Renaissance in the Regions museums hub structure is dismantled(£780,000 per annum for the museums) and its Arts Council funding stops (£115,000 per annum).Luton Culture needs to set a budget for 2012-13 that is £1m less than this year’s budget before theCouncil makes any decisions about its own funding. The Council and Luton Culture are due to begindiscussions regarding their next FMA later this year. Within the FMA there is a principle that the10/1
 10/2Council can ask the Trust to stop a particular part of its activity; the Trust then has six months toimplement that at which time the Council reduces the Trust’s funding by the relevant cost related tothat activity. The Council is exploring opportunities for further activity that the Trust can deliver that isrelevant and appropriate to the Trust (for example, the Visitor Information Centre was transferred to iton 1
April this year)
Goals and Objectives
4. To propose initial options to the Council to reduce service provision in order to reduce costs.
5. A wide range of services are under review requiring detailed analysis but the proposals thathave been identified are:(i) Closure of Wardown Park Museum from April 2012 on weekdays during term time for general publicvisits excluding pre booked tours. This would generate a reduction in funding to Luton Culture of up to£53,000 per annum. The site would be open to the general public during school holidays and theweekends and also to pre booked group bookings during the week. This option would allow the Trustto build a more sustainable business model for the Museum which would include seeking HeritageLottery Fund investment to improve the building for both the general public and as a space forcommunity and commercial activities such as weddings, meetings and other commercial uses.(ii) Move Fireworks to Stopsley Common as a pilot for 2012 and charge for parking at the new sportscentre site to reduce the subsidy of the event. There are approximately 400 parking spaces at the siteand if a charge of £5 was made for each car, additional revenue of £2,000 could be generated. To becertain that this pilot could be undertaken there would need to be consultation with the airport, a sitevisit would be required to gauge what infrastructure would be required for health and safety purposesand a traffic plan put in place to overcome the congestion from the cars parking at the site and alsohow people without transport will get to the site.(iii) Cease free Summer Festival in St Georges Square from 2013 . The current Summer Festivalcosts £25,000(iv) Close John Dony Field Centre, Turners Knoll and Barton Road Museum Stores. All activities thattake place at the John Dony Field Centre can be and are mainly provided at Stockwood DiscoveryCentre. There is a £1000 revenue saving from closing this facility and this room would be handedback to the Bushmead Community Centre to help them generate more income from lettings. TurnerKnoll and Barton Road Stores are used by the Museum Service. If the sites were handed back to theCouncil then the Council may be able to generate a capital receipt from the sites.
Key Risks
6. A risk assessment would need to be completed related to the potential relocation of thefireworks display to Stopsley.
7. Consultation would be required regarding the Wardown proposal with users of the museum andthe Friends of Luton Museums. There will be a requirement to consult regarding potentially relocatingfireworks.
Appendices and additional background papers attached:
Clearance – agreed by:Legal
There are no direct legal implications to thisreport.David Watson, Solicitor,on 16/09/11
There are no financial implications to this report Ceri Davies, FinanceManager HCL on 19

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