Plans to bring the commercial functions of Cadw and the Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales together have moved a step closer today.
Ken Skates, the Cabinet Secretary with responsibility for Culture, has reiterated his commitment to the creation of new body, Historic Wales and announced he has asked the Director of the National Trust Wales to chair a steering group to progress the next phase of this work.
The announcement comes as the Welsh Government publishes the Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) report, “Investing in the future to protect the past” which considered the future of heritage services in Wales.
The Cabinet Secretary said:
“This is a pivotal time for the heritage sector in Wales. The Historic Environment (Wales) Act has placed Wales at the forefront of UK nations in the protection and management of the historic environment.
“However, with competing demands for limited resources and a need to promote Wales better than ever, it is crucial that we evaluate whether the structures underpinning the sector are fit for purpose and whether they could be improved through increased and genuine partnership.
“I want to help build a heritage sector that is global in ambition and internationally renowned and this means our national public institutions evolving, and becoming more financially resilient.
“Today we are publishing the PwC report “Investing in the future to protect the past”. This sets out a number of different options for heritage services in Wales, and I would like to thank Baroness Randerson for her role in considering the report, and for those organisations who engaged in its development.
“The PWC report confirms that whilst the sector has many strengths there are many opportunities to grow and expand. It sets, I believe, the context for urgent and necessary change to ensure our national institutions have the bright and sustainable future we all want them to.
“ I now want to progress work to bring the commercial functions of Cadw and Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales together so they are better placed to secure new sources of income. This is complex and challenging work so I want us to learn lessons from similar change internationally and use evidence to build a business case for change that is right for, and bespoke to Wales.
“This report is a good start but I want to discuss the options in more detail with relevant organisations and partners and secure common agreement on the next steps.
“With this in mind I have asked Justin Albert, Director of the National Trust Wales, to independently chair a steering group made up of our national institutions and trade unions to progress this important work and have asked them to report back with more detail on a proposed way forward in January 2017.”
Justin Albert said:
“I was delighted to accept the Cabinet Secretary's invitation to chair this important steering group and be given the opportunity to build upon the excellent foundation laid out by Baroness Randerson.
“ I look forward to working closely with my fellow steering group members. Together we are committed to help build a historic environment in Wales which is engaging, sustainable and dynamic”.
In a joint statement, the Trade Unions represented on the Steering Group said:
“We welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s invitation to participate in the steering group and, in principle, support any proposals that protect our members best interests and help grow and strengthen the culture and heritage sector in Wales. We approach this important work with an open mind and willingness to engage”