|Jenny Rathbone AC|
|Mohammad Asghar AC|
|Neil Hamilton AC|
|Nick Ramsay AC|
|Rhianon Passmore AC|
|Adrian Crompton||Archwilydd Cyffredinol Cymru, Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru|
|Auditor General for Wales, Wales Audit Office|
|Ann-Marie Harkin||Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru|
|Wales Audit Office|
|Dave Rees||Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru|
|Wales Audit Office|
|David Anderson||Amgueddfa Cymru|
|National Museum Wales|
|Neil Wicks||Amgueddfa Cymru|
|National Museum Wales|
|Nia Williams||Amgueddfa Cymru|
|National Museum Wales|
|Claire Griffiths||Dirprwy Glerc|
|1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau||1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest|
|2. Papurau i'w nodi||2. Papers to note|
|3. Craffu ar Gyfrifon 2017-18: Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Cymru||3. Scrutiny of Accounts 2017-18: National Museum Wales|
|4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod||4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 13:15.
The meeting began at 13:15.
Can I welcome Members to this afternoon's meeting of the Public Accounts Committee? As usual, headsets are available for translation and sound amplification. Please ensure any electronic devices are on silent. In an emergency, follow the ushers. No apologies have been received today—well, Adam Price?
Yes, one apology has been received—from Adam Price—I should say. Do Members have any declarations of interest they'd like to declare now? No.
Okay. Item 2 and papers to note, and that's the minutes from the meeting held on 15 October. Happy to agree those? Good. The minutes are agreed.
Okay, item 3—the scrutiny of the annual report and accounts, 2017-18, of National Museum Wales. Can I welcome our witnesses? Thanks for being with us today. Would you like to give your name and position for the Record of Proceedings?
David Anderson, director general.
Nia Williams, cyfarwyddwr addysg ac ymgysylltu.
Nia Williams, director of learning and engagement.
Neil Wicks, director of finance.
Great, thanks. I'll kick off with the first couple of questions, and general questions to start. What do you see as the main purpose of your annual report and accounts, and what steps have you taken to ensure that the report and accounts are easy for the public to understand?
Clearly, accountability is a major part of this. I think we would also see the report as being an opportunity for us to review progress, really, on our targets—not least the Welsh Government targets, as well. And, with regard to the accessibility, I think that we—with the strong encouragement of our board, I should say as well—have been trying to make them more accessible over the last few years as well, and communicate more clearly.
Have you found that a straightforward process—to make them more transparent—or have there been issues along the way?
Clearly, they're part of our financial reporting, so we work within the framework that we're given to do that. I think that the ways in which we're required to report mean that it's important actually that we look at the activities in a different way than the accounts very often would present them. So, therefore, we have to try and balance the two needs.
I notice that the national museum did not meet two of its five key performance indicators in 2017-18—the total number of visits to museums, and the number of website visits. Can you explain why this is the case, and what steps have been taken to rectify it?
Well, I think the first thing to say was that the target for 2017-18 was a very challenging one—it was 1.8 million, which was about 250,000 more than we had actually achieved in 2016-17. I think it's worth mentioning that we decided to keep St Fagans open during the period of the redevelopment. A lot of museums close completely with that particular responsibility, but we decided to stay open. And we managed to get very, very close to the 1.8 million. I think we would believe that, if it had not snowed so heavily in the latter part of spring, we would actually have achieved it; we missed it, from memory, by about 25,000, 26,000 people. So, I think we felt actually we'd done very well to get an extra 250,000 people through our sites.
With regard to the digital, again, we came close to achieving it. I think you may be aware that, the last time we appeared before this committee, we were criticised for not setting challenging enough targets for ourselves. Maybe an indication of a really challenging target is that you just very nearly get a couple of them, but not quite.
I know that Assembly Members often say that the weather isn't devolved, so you can't really be blamed for the snowy weather back last Easter as well. [Laughter.] But that does go a long way to explaining that. How does the performance information in the report and accounts demonstrate progress against the Welsh Government-set targets in their annual remit letter? They mention increasing media coverage, partnership working at the museums and increasing business from diverse backgrounds.
First of all, we should say that one of the major efforts that we've made over the last couple of years is to really align ourselves with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. We've reviewed our own vision, which we last looked at in 2015, and have both simplified it again and also very, very closely tied it to the targets of the future generations Act. I think that what we're now trying to do in areas such as addressing the impacts of poverty in communities that are particularly affected by that, through our Fusion programme, for example—the Welsh Government's Fusion programme and our contribution to it, I should say. Looking at our work around health and well-being, for example, the dementia-friendly status that 400 of our 600 staff have now got awards in for accreditation, in terms of being trained it that, we're really trying to make sure that the work we do does align with those Government targets.
We often talk on this committee about the future generations Act and the difficulties that some organisations do have trying to make a very philosophical idea more tangible. So, you're struggling to do that—or you're doing your best, I should say.
I would say the opposite of that, actually. I think we see the future generations Act as being an enormous opportunity for the museum. When one looks at what we have been doing really over a number of years now—take education as a case in point: we get very nearly 200,000 schoolchild visits per year to our seven sites. That's more than a number of the major London nationals get. We align ourselves therefore very, very well with the aims of the Act in that area. Maybe 600,000 plus children and adults come in family groups. So, the life-long learning objectives are well met by us as well. I think we see our social purpose as being our core. Our collections, the expertise of our staff, all the resources that we have, are directed to making a difference to Wales. The Act gives us a focus for doing that. That means that we really are now able to operate with Government, I think, more effectively with the benefit of the Act.
Thank you, Chair. Very briefly, you've mentioned the Fusion project, could you just outline a little bit more information about how that interplays in terms of the museum?
Indeed. Nia, if you would.
Ocê. Rwyf am siarad yn Gymraeg. Fel dywedodd David, rydym ni'n teimlo bod hawliau pobl i gyfranogi mewn diwylliant, i gael eu cynrychioli drwy ddiwylliant, yn rhan greiddiol o'n gwaith ni a'n gweledigaeth ni. Rydym ni, dros y tair blynedd ddiwethaf wedi bod yn cefnogi rhaglen Cyfuno Llywodraeth Cymru, sy'n creu cyfleoedd drwy ddiwylliant i bobl gyfranogi. Rydym ni'n gwneud hynny mewn tair ffordd, mewn gwirionedd. Rydym ni'n un o'r prif bartneriaid ac yn gweithio ar lefel strategol gyda Llywodraeth Cymru a'r partneriaid eraill i lywio gwaith Cyfuno.
A ydych chi eisiau i fi stopio?
Okay. I will speak in Welsh. As David said, we feel that the rights of people to participate in culture, to be represented through culture, is a core part of our work and our vision. Over the last three years, we have been supporting the Welsh Government Fusion programme, which creates opportunities through culture for people to participate. We do that in three ways. We're one of the main partners and we work on a strategic level with the Welsh Government and the other partners to steer the work of this programme.
Do you want me to stop?
I'm getting it. [Interruption.] It's normally the witnesses who have issues. This time it's the team up this end. [Laughter.]
Felly, mewn tair ffordd, rydym ni'n cefnogi'r rhaglen. Yn gyntaf, ein gwaith strategol ni gyda'r Llywodraeth o ran llywio'r gwaith. Yn ail, rydym ni'n gweithio gyda gwasanaethau gwybodaeth a dadansoddi y Llywodraeth i arwain y gwaith o werthuso y rhaglen Cyfuno. Ac mae hynny'n waith pwysig achos, mewn ffordd, efallai bod diwylliant wedi bod yn wan yn y gorffennol yn disgrifio impact y gwaith a sut mae'r gwaith yn gallu cael impact. Felly, mae hynny'n rhan bwysig iawn, yn gweithio eto gyda'r gwasanaethau gwybodaeth a dadansoddi—KAS—yn y Llywodraeth. Ac yn drydydd, rydym ni wrth gwrs yn rhedeg rhaglenni sydd yn cefnogi Cyfuno, a hynny ar draws ein hamgueddfeydd i gyd. Mae gyda ni raglenni sydd yn cynnig cyfleon am gyflogadwyedd, blynyddoedd cynnar a dysgu teulu. Er enghraifft, yn Llanberis, rydym ni'n gweithio gyda Gwynedd ar y llofnod dysgu teulu, a hefyd rhaglenni sydd yn cefnogi pobl o ran addysg ac o ran iechyd a lles. Felly, mae yna lu o wahanol ffyrdd rŷm ni'n cefnogi Cyfuno a rŷm ni'n mawr obeithio y bydd y rhaglen Cyfuno yn parhau. Rwy'n credu ei bod wedi bod yn rhaglen lwyddiannus iawn yn dod â'r sector treftadol a diwylliannol at ei gilydd gyda sectorau iechyd a gyda'r awdurdodau lleol i gydweithio gyda'n gilydd yn wyneb yr her fawr y mae Cymru yn ei wynebu o ran lefelau tlodi.
So, in three ways, we support the programme. First of all, our strategic work with the Government in terms of steering the work. Secondly, we work with the Government's knowledge and analytical services to lead on the work of evaluating the Fusion programme. And this is important because, in a way, perhaps culture has been weak in the past in describing the impact of the work and how that work can have an impact. So, that's a very important part, working again with the knowledge and analytical services—KAS—in the Government. And thirdly, we of course run programmes that support Fusion, and that's across all our museums. We have programmes that provide opportunities for employability, early years and family learning. For example, in Llanberis, we are working with Gwynedd on the family learning signature, and also with programmes that support people in terms of education and health and well-being. Therefore, there are a number of ways in which we support the Fusion programme and we very much hope that the Fusion programme will continue. I think it's been a very successful programme in bringing the heritage and culture sectors together with sectors such as health and the local authorities to collaborate in the face of this great challenge that Wales is facing in terms of poverty levels.
Diolch. You mentioned the well-being of future generations Act and how you see your goals as tying in with the goals of the Act. What about your own internal 10-year strategy, 'Inspiring people, Changing lives' and also your operational plan for 2017-18? Is it clear how this set of accounts and report work to deliver the objectives in those programmes?
We've restructured our approach to the operational plan so that it is much more clearly aligned to the future generations Act. We do use the Act as the basis of our planning framework now, so, from that point of view, yes, we do do it very closely. I think it would be fair to say that we've been on quite a journey over the last two or three years in the way in which we do our planning. I think that, when it comes to looking at the period of 10 years, we're also benefiting from the review that Simon Thurley did, which was published last year, which has given us fairly clear frameworks for discussion with Government as well. But also, we're looking at the relationships with staff and unions as well, as an area for development over the next few years. I don't know whether my colleagues want to mention—
I think it would be useful to remember that the format of these accounts is actually prescribed—so, first of all, through a statement of recommended practice and also the accounts direction that we receive from the Government. So, in essence, a lot of the content of it is prescribed. Agreeing to how that is laid out and set out would be a matter for the museum and in which case working through, but in terms of the understandability, which was partly the question earlier, I think it could be clearer if different formats were used, but it is a prescribed format. Our accounts are based on resources used, as opposed to traditional income and expenditure, and it may be easier for the public if it was on income and expenditure. One of the things that we will be doing is producing a more readable version of what our activity has been and how that has been expended, and picking up on some of the areas that you were asking about. Going forward, it is a document that we will be producing in addition to the accounts, which broadly, it could be said, are primarily more of a governance document in terms of how that money is being spent. We clearly take the opportunity to highlight our achievements in other things, which you would expect us to do, but it is a prescribed format, largely, in terms of how it's composed and the headings, if you will, within that.
Thanks. Just before I bring other Members in, you mentioned Dr Simon Thurley's review. I noticed that recommendation 5 of the review recommends that the Welsh Government and national museum seek to acknowledge and understand the causes of frustration on both sides. Could you shed a bit of light on that and what actions you're taking to deal with that recommendation?
I think the first thing is that, when the report was published, we did sit down with officials from Welsh Government and had a number of meetings with them to work through the whole range of recommendations that were there. I think that one of the very positive elements of the report is the recommendations around income generation, which is something that we've been investing a lot of effort in over several years now, and I think we're showing real results in this. So, we looked at the need for a customer relationship management system for the organisation and we really, really welcomed that recommendation and also the recommendation that we should have a commercial director. I think one of the areas—and I hope that the Government would say the same if they were here with us—of discussion between us and the Government was how we were going to increase our income, because of the pressures on public finances. And I think that's been an area that we've focused on with them since then.
Good afternoon, panel. My question has partly been answered by Nia anyway, but I'm going to ask you about the museum: how the museum is addressing workforce development and engaging with staff. So, could you explain the rationale for restructuring your directorates, in the light of why your staff numbers have increased alongside your spend on agency staff and consultancy?
The number of staff that we employ depends partly on the funding we get from many different sources externally, and therefore, some of these posts are actually externally funded, and that's in a way a good news story for the museum, because it means we're able to do more than we could do otherwise, and likewise it gives employment to people as well. So, I think income generation, project development, staff numbers, profitability of enterprises—all of those things are quite often very closely interrelated. Sorry—could you give me the second part of your question again, please?
How have your staff numbers increased alongside your spend on agency and staff—your spending on the staff, I mean?
Neil, could you get that one?
Yes. If you like, there are two bits to the answer. Overall, the staff numbers have actually decreased over time. The spending on agency and consultancy is basically brought in with project work. So, for example, the St Fagans project, we don't have the expertise internally, so there was and still is—. They weren't agency, but they were contracted staff to deliver certain areas of our work. We also, then, in terms of the specialist functions, will employ specialists to do a particular job or deliver a particular piece of work. In terms of the overall spending on staff, part of that, of course, is to do with the increments that we pay to staff. They rise over a period of time—broadly five years. And the second part is, of course, there was an inflationary rise paid.
Okay. And how dependent is the national museum on volunteers, and how sustainable is this?
I would say the national museum has a fantastic programme of volunteering. We're very, very clear that we don't have any overlap between the roles of permanent staff and the roles of volunteers. We've also done an enormous amount, and I think Nia could say more about this, really, in diversifying and broadening the volunteer base in terms of their background as well as the numbers, but I'll let Nia talk more about that.
Fe wnaf i siarad yn Gymraeg. Mae gennym ni rhyw 700 o wirfoddolwyr blynyddol sy'n gweithio gyda ni, sy'n rhoi dros ryw 20,000 o oriau tuag at—
I'll be speaking in Welsh. We have about 700 volunteers annually who work with us, who give about 20,000 hours—
Ie, sydd yn wych, ond rŷm ni'n cymryd y safbwynt, mewn ffordd, fod gwirfoddolwyr ochr yn ochr â'n staff, a bod gwirfoddoli yn medru bod yn un llwybr yn ôl at waith ac at ddatblygu sgiliau i bobl. Rŷm ni, dros y pum mlynedd diwethaf, gyda chefnogaeth Sefydliad Paul Hamlyn, wedi trawsnewid yn llwyr, mewn gwirionedd, ein rhaglenni gwirfoddoli ni, ac mae dros ryw 40 y cant nawr o'n gwirfoddolwyr ni o dan 24 mlwydd oed. Mae nifer helaeth ohonyn nhw yn ddi-waith, ac mae canran cydbwysedd da gyda ni o ran dynion a menywod a phobl ifanc yn gwirfoddoli. Fe enillom ni eleni Buddsoddi mewn Gwirfoddolwyr, a hynny gyda dim argymhellion o gwbl, sydd yn wych iawn. Rydw i'n credu ein bod ni'n un o'r ychydig amgueddfeydd cenedlaethol, mewn gwirionedd, sydd yn dal y bathodyn hwnnw, ac rŷm ni'n dal yn falch iawn. Ac mae gwirfoddoli, wrth gwrs, i fynd yn ôl at y rhaglen Cyfuno, yn un o'r rhaglenni sydd yn rhan o'r gwaith Cyfuno rŷm ni'n ei wneud ar draws ein hamgueddfeydd ni.
Yes, which is excellent, but we take the position, in a way, that volunteers operate alongside our staff and that volunteering can be one pathway back to work and skills development for people. Over the last five years, with the support of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we have transformed entirely our volunteer programmes, and about 40 per cent of our volunteers are now under 24 years of age. A great number of them are unemployed, and we have a very good balance in terms of percentages of men and women and young people who volunteer. We won, this year, Investing in Volunteers, with no recommendations at all, which is excellent. I think we're one of the few national museums who have that badge and we are still very proud of that. And of course, volunteering, to go back to the Fusion programme, that's one of the programmes that is part of the Fusion work that we do around our museums.
Thank you very much. Do you produce an annual equality report, and if so, are you able to summarise its main conclusions in respect of your performance against your objectives and strategic equality plan?
At the moment, we measure annually the gender pay gap. We don't specifically produce a diversity report in that way. The objectives of the strategic equality plan are in place, and we meet the general principles of that plan, and we will be reporting against that directly from next year.
Fe fydd ein strategaeth ni arlein cyn bo hir, rydym ni jest yn gweithio ar wneud yn siŵr bod y Gymraeg a'r Saesneg yn cydfynd ar y funud. Rŷm ni'n gobeithio cael hwnnw lan ymhen rhai wythnosau. A'r pedair ardal, mewn ffordd, o ran amcanion, fe ddatblygom ni'r strategaeth gyda llu o bartneriaid trydydd sector ynglŷn â sicrhau bod gyda ni amrywiaeth fel rhan o'r ffordd rŷm ni'n gweithio, i fynd nôl at y pum ffordd o weithio sydd yn rhan, wrth gwrs, o'r ddeddfwriaeth llesiant. Felly, mae'r strategaeth wedi cael ei datblygu gyda phartneriaid, ac mae yna bedwar amcan a byddwn ni'n gallu rhannu hon gyda chi pan fydd hi i fyny arlein. Un ydy creu a gweithio tuag at weithlu a gwirfoddolwyr mwy amrywiol. Yr ail ydy bod yn fwy cynhwysol o ran ein rhaglenni cyhoeddus ni. Mae yna wastad ffordd o fod yn hyd yn oed yn fwy cynhwysol, ac rŷm ni'n gweithio ar hynny ar y funud. Y trydydd yw arwain o ran cydraddoldeb ac amrywiaeth. Rŷm ni'n moyn bod yn amgueddfa sydd yn medru arwain yn y maes yma. Fel dywedodd David ar y dechrau, mae'n gwaith ni o ran sicrhau hawliau pobl i ddiwylliant yn rhan greiddiol o'n gweledigaeth ni, ac rŷm ni'n teimlo bod cydraddoldeb ac amrywiaeth felly yn rhywbeth sydd yn greiddiol i'r ffordd rŷm ni'n gweithio, ac fe allem ni fod yn arweinydd yn y maes. Y pedwerydd, mewn ffordd, ydy ein bod ni'n sicrhau bod ein gwaith ni yn y maes cydraddoldeb ac amrywiaeth yn cydfynd â'r ddeddfwriaeth llesiant, a'n bod ni'n clymu hwnnw ynghyd, gyda'i gilydd. Ond fe fydd i fyny arlein, gobeithio, ymhen rhai wythnosau ichi i'w weld, ac fe fydd yna gynllun gweithredu wedyn yn rhan o hwnnw.
Our strategy will be online before long, and we’re just working now on ensuring that the Welsh and English versions are aligned, and we hope to get that up in a few weeks. The four areas in terms of objectives are—well, we developed the strategy with a host of third sector partners in terms of ensuring that we have diversity as part of the way in which we work, to go back to the five ways of working that are part of the well-being Act. So, the strategy has been developed with partners, and there are four objectives, and I can share these with you when it’s up online. One is working towards a workforce and volunteer base that is more diverse, and the second is being more inclusive in terms of our public programmes. There’s always a way of being even more inclusive, and we do work on that at the moment. The third is leading in terms of equality and diversity, and we want to be a museum that can lead in this area. As David said at the outset, our work in terms of ensuring the rights of people to culture is a core part of our vision, and we do feel that equality and diversity, therefore, are core factors in the way that we work, so we can be leaders in that field. The fourth objective, in a way, is that we ensure that our work in the area of equality and diversity does align with the well-being Act and that we tie those things in together. So, it’ll be online, I hope, in a few weeks for you to see, and then we’ll have an action plan as part of that.
Thank you very much, about this equality and gender balance, and all the rest of it, but I would like to know how many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and black and minority ethnic people are involved with the museum—your organisation, and that the equalities are properly represented in your institution.
O ran ein gwaith cyhoeddus ni, mae gyda ni fforwm amrywiaeth. Rŷm ni yn cydnabod ein bod ni fel corff ddim mor amrywiol ag yr hoffem ni fod, ac felly rŷm ni wedi creu fforwm amrywiaeth, ac rŷm ni wedi bod yn gweithio gyda Black History Month eleni, er enghraifft, er mwyn ehangu natur ein casgliadau ni a natur ein rhaglenni cyhoeddus ni. O ran LGBT, mae aelodaeth o Stonewall ac yn y blaen ar y grŵp yna gyda ni, ac rŷm ni wedi cefnogi Pride Cymru ers y dechrau. Felly, mae hwnnw'n amcan, mae'n amcan tymor canolig inni o ran sicrhau ein bod ni'n fwy amrywiol yn y rhaglenni rŷm yn eu gwneud, a hefyd o ran y bobl sydd yn gweithio yn ein gweithlu ni.
In terms of our public work, we have a diversity forum. We do recognise that we as a body are not as diverse as we’d like to be, so we’ve created a diversity forum, and we have been working with Black History Month this year, for example, to broaden out our collections and our public programmes. In terms of LGBT, membership of Stonewall and so forth—that’s part of that group that we have. and we’ve supported Pride Cymru from the outset. So, this is an objective, it’s a mid-term objective for us in terms of ensuring that we are more diverse in the programmes that we carry out and also with the people who are part of our workforce.
And then also, finally, the Welsh Government’s remit letter to the museum notes, is the wording,
‘workforce development is an area where there have been problems in recent times’
—quote closed. The remit letter expects staff at all levels to receive appropriate training and any
skills gaps to be identified. Can you explain how you have addressed the workforce development issues identified in this remit letter?
Wel, rŷm ni wedi bod yn gweithio ar sefydlu Buddsoddwyr mewn Pobl. Fe welwch chi ein bod ni wedi gweithio gyda'n hundebau llafur ni a gyda'n staff ni ar fynd ati i baratoi ar gyfer Buddsoddwyr mewn Pobl. Roeddem ni'n teimlo bod angen inni ddeall mwy ynglŷn â diwylliant gwaith, ynglŷn â pha sgiliau sydd eu hangen, a mynd ati i greu, felly, raglen, gan ddefnyddio fframwaith Buddsoddwyr mewn Pobl, ar draws y gorfforaeth i gyd. Mae nifer o'n hamgueddfeydd ni â Buddsoddwyr mewn Pobl, ond fel amgueddfeydd unigol fel Sain Ffagan ac yn y blaen. Ac roeddem ni'n teimlo o ran dod â'r gweithlu i gyd at ei gilydd, roedd hynny yn rhywbeth pwysig i'w wneud.
Yr ail beth rydym wedi bod yn ei wneud gyda phartneriaid cenedlaethol—Cadw, y llyfrgell genedlaethol, y comisiwn brenhinol, hefyd gyda'n hundebau llafur ni a gyda Llywodraeth Cymru—yw datblygu drafft o strategaeth sgiliau—sgiliau ar gyfer y gweithlu—er mwyn inni edrych ar yr hyn sydd ei angen ar gyfer dyfodol treftadaeth yng Nghymru, ac rŷm ni'n gobeithio y bydd honno yn cael ei lansio cyn y Nadolig nawr. Mae yna argymhellion clir yn y ddogfen yna am y math o sgiliau sydd eu hangen ar gyfer y dyfodol, a'r cyfleon efallai hefyd ar gyfer prentisiaid yn y gweithlu.
Well, we’ve been working on establishing Investors in People. You’ve seen that we’ve worked with the trade unions and with our staff in trying to prepare for Investors in People. We feel that we need to understand more about the workplace culture and what skills are needed and then proceed to create a framework programme, using the Investors in People framework, across the entire corporation. A number of our museums are on Investors in People but as individual museums, such as St Fagans. So, in terms of bringing all the workforce together, we felt that was important to do.
The second thing we’ve been doing with national partners—Cadw, the national library, the royal commission and also with our trade unions and with the Welsh Government—is developing a draft skills strategy—skills for the workplace—in order for us to be able to look at what’s needed for the future of heritage in Wales, and we hope that that will be launched before Christmas. There are very clear recommendations in that document in terms of the kinds of skills that we need for the future and the potential opportunities also for apprentices in the workforce.
Thank you very much. I know there's a skill shortage after listening to you, so you're introducing this project well before Christmas to have these skills. Are you going to get people from Wales, or are you open to all the regions of the United Kingdom?
Mae'r strategaeth sgiliau yn canolbwyntio ar y sgiliau yng Nghymru, ond mae yna waith diddorol yn digwydd ar draws yr ardal dreftadol, yn enwedig o ran ardal adeiladu hanesyddol, gyda'r hyn y mae mudiadau treftadol yn Lloegr yn ei wneud hefyd. Felly, mae yna beth asio yn digwydd hefyd, oes.
The skills strategy does focus on skills in Wales, but there is interesting work happening across the heritage area, in terms of the historical building area in terms of what heritage bodies in England are doing as well. So, there is some alignment there, yes.
Diolch, Oscar. Rhianon Passmore, a supplementary question, then I'll bring in Jenny Rathbone.
Yes, very briefly. You've mentioned that, online, you'll be bringing forth diversity outcome information. So, in terms of the annual equalities report that listed bodies should publish every year, that's not happened so far.
Mae e ar y ffordd.
It’s on its way.
It's on its way, okay. And, briefly, you touched upon this in terms of skills alignment and you talked about the Fusion project earlier on, so, in regards to apprenticeships, possibly, that could be linked to your employment of agency staff or consultancy—because the heritage sector is very, very wide—could you just outline a little bit more as to where you feel apprenticeships lie, in terms of the sector?
Perhaps just to provide a framework, and maybe Nia can add to that as well. Something that we've been discussing with other bodies, including Creative & Cultural Skills, is how we can bring more apprenticeships in, and provide opportunities for people who may not have been getting educational routes before. Just a week or two ago, there was a launch of a programme that was developed between Creative & Cultural Skills, ourselves and other heritage bodies in Wales, like Cadw, and the Heritage Lottery Fund, who are providing funding for this, to—I think it's a total of 24 apprenticeships that will be shared between us, to develop in different areas. We have already made a really strong commitment to trying to find apprenticeship opportunities within our own work, even without external funding—or, in part, external funding. And, jointly funded, we've managed to have now four apprenticeships in Big Pit, for example. I don't know, Nia, if you want to add anything to that at all.
Mae yna gyfleon gwych, rydw i'n meddwl, i brentisiaid, ar draws nifer fawr o'n rhaglenni ni. Ac rydym ni wedi datblygu, ac yn y broses o ddatblygu, y prentisiaid newydd yn Big Pit hefyd, yn gweithio gyda Choleg Caerdydd a'r Fro a'r uned prentisiaid yn Llywodraeth Cymru, i ddatblygu y rheini. Fel y dywedodd David, mae yna bedwar ar hyn o bryd. Rydym yn ymwybodol iawn bod rhai o'n sgiliau ni o ran treftadaeth Cymru yn sgiliau a fydd yn dirwyn i ben—er enghraifft, glowyr yn gweithio o dan y ddaear, rhai o'r ardaloedd crefft sydd gyda ni. Felly, mae hi wir yn bwysig ein bod ni yn meithrin y sgiliau hynny, drwy brentisiaid heddiw, ar gyfer y dyfodol.
Rydym hefyd, yn rhaglen ailddatblygu Sain Ffagan, wedi medru cynnal prentisiaid mewn dwy ffordd: un, drwy'r gwaith adeiladu hanesyddol. Felly, fe oedd tri phrentis, er enghraifft, yn rhan o waith ail-greu llys Llywelyn—un o lysoedd y Canol Oesoedd; efallai'r senedd gyntaf, gallech chi ei ddweud, nôl yn y Canol Oesoedd, un o lysoedd Llywelyn Fawr, a phrentis carreg a phrentis paentio yn rhan o'r rhaglen honno. A hefyd, drwy'r gwaith y gwnaethom ni ei wneud o ran rhoi contractau i firm Kier, a wnaeth wneud y gwaith adeiladu yn Sain Ffagan. Fe wnaethom ni ofyn iddyn nhw wneud cynllun budd cymunedol, ac, fel rhan o hynny, gynnal oriau a phrentisiaid yn rhan o'r rhaglen honno. Ond rydw i'n meddwl ei fod e'n rhywbeth y gallem ni fod yn edrych ar ei ddatblygu, yn sicr, yn y dyfodol. Ac mae'n faes—rydym wedi targedu, mewn ffordd, yr ardaloedd lle mae'r sgiliau rydym ni yn teimlo sydd yn marw ar hyn o bryd, ac wedyn fe fyddwn ni'n mynd ati i edrych ar brentisiaid ar draws nifer o feysydd eraill yn ein gwaith ni hefyd.
There are great opportunities, I think, for apprenticeships across a great number of our programmes. And we've developed and we're in the process of developing new apprentices in Big Pit, working with Cardiff and Vale College and the apprenticeship unit in Welsh Government to develop those. As David said, there are four at the moment. We’re very aware that some of our skills in terms of Welsh heritage are skills that will come to an end—for example, miners working underground, and some of the craft sectors that we have. So, it’s really important that we nurture those skills, through today’s apprentices, for the future.
We also, in the redevelopment programme in St Fagans, have been able to maintain and support apprentices through work on historic buildings. We had apprentices being part of the work in recreating Llywelyn’s court—perhaps the first senedd, you might say, back in the Middle Ages—one of Llywelyn Fawr’s courts. We had apprentices working in masonry and in painting as part of that programme. And also, through the work that we were doing in terms of giving contracts to a firm called Kier, which did the construction work in St Fagans, we asked them to draw up a community-benefits scheme, and, as part of that, to support apprentice work as part of that programme. And I think it is something that we could look at to develop, certainly in the future. It is an area—we have targeted those areas of skills that we feel are dying at the moment, and then we will look at apprentices in a number of other areas in our work also.
That's all very positive, but, if I'm thinking in terms of the breadth of the different sectors, and the vocational areas within them, particularly around arts and crafts as well. I would have thought you've got a very big smorgasbord to be able to develop that apprenticeship programme, rather than ad hoc projects, something that's perhaps more mainstreamed.
Byddwn i'n cytuno'n llwyr â hynny. Ac un o'r argymhellion y mae'r strategaeth sgiliau yn ei wneud yw datblygu prentisiaid, a phrentisiaid, efallai, ar draws y sector yn cydweithio ar draws y sefydliadau gwahanol sy'n rhan o gynnal treftadaeth Cymru.
I would totally agree with that. And one of the recommendations that the skills strategy makes is to develop apprentices, and apprentices across the sector, perhaps, work across the institutions that are part of that work in supporting and maintaining the heritage of Wales.
Thank you very much. I just wonder if we can delve a little bit deeper into the Investors in People responses. Obviously, you're using this now instead of the staff survey. Almost half your workforce disagreed, to some extent, with the statement, ‘I trust the leaders of my organisation'. So, that sounds quite high to me, and I just wondered if you can elaborate on that.
I'll ask Nia in a minute to elaborate, because she's been working closely on this. I think that we'd want to look at this as the journey we're taking as an organisation, and we know that we were in a very difficult situation of conflict with part of our workforce, anyway, two years ago, and we have been investing a lot of time and energy and effort to try to rebuild those relationships and to find a way to work very positively. And I think that there really has been progress on that. Even as we're speaking just now, one of our trustees is meeting with representatives of the trade unions and the human resources department as part of a regular series of meetings that they have, just to ensure that the board are kept closely informed of the views of the trade unions and those are fed directly into the board's thinking. And that's only one of a number of things we've put in place as a structure—IIP, therefore, just being one of those.
I think, really, that we are aiming to get to the point, by the time we have the formal survey for IIP, within the next year, at which we will have actually improved that statistic still further. I think it's worth saying that we take responsibility as leaders, of course we do, but in terms of the IIP definition of leadership, it is leadership, if you like, across the organisation as well. So, we need to look at it as a whole-organisation challenge and work from that.
Nia, do you want to add to that?
Iawn. Mewn ffordd, barometer yw hwn, barometer o le'r ydym ni nawr ac mae'n gallu ein helpu ni, mewn ffordd, fel meincnod i wybod pa ardaloedd sydd angen inni weithio arnynt. Un o'r pethau sydd yn ddiddorol am y snapshot yma, mewn ffordd, ydy bod yna gysondeb, really, ar draws yr amgueddfeydd ac ar draws ein scores ni. Rydw i'n meddwl mai dangosydd pwynt 6, 'Strwythuro gwaith', sydd yn cael y sgôr uchaf—mae'r scores i gyd allan o saith ynddo fe—ac rydym ni'n cael 5.3 allan o saith am hwnnw. Ac wedyn, 'Arwain ac ysbrydoli pobl' yw'r isaf—pedwar allan o saith.
Ond rydych chi'n gywir i ddweud bod yna ryw 45 y cant, rydw i'n meddwl, yn y fframwaith, 'Rwy'n ymddiried yn arweinwyr fy sefydliad’, ac mae hwnnw'n faes inni ei ddatblygu. Un o'r ffyrdd y byddwn ni'n gwneud hyn yw rydym ni wedi sefydlu grŵp strategol i arwain ar y gwaith Buddsoddwyr mewn Pobl ac mae hwnnw'n cynnwys aelodaeth o bob amgueddfa ac o bob haenen o fewn yr amgueddfa—pob lefel—ynghyd â chadeiryddion ein hundebau llafur ni, a nhw fydd yn cymryd y gwaith yma ymlaen.
Nawr ein bod ni wedi cael yr adroddiad, rydym ni wedi rhannu'r adroddiad hwnnw gyda chi, gyda'n staff ni, gyda'n hymddiriedolwyr ni. Mae e'n feincnod inni nawr i weithio a chreu cynllun gweithredu gyda'n gilydd, achos mae pawb yn rhan o Buddsoddwyr mewn Pobl, a dyna un o'r rhesymau pam wnaethon ni ei ddewis e, mewn ffordd; mae e am ddatblygu pobl ar bob lefel yn y sefydliad, a datblygu diwylliant y sefydliad.
Felly, bydd y gwaith hwnnw yn mynd rhagddo nawr i'n paratoi ni ar gyfer yr asesiad ac fe fydd e i fyny i'r pwyllgor llywio hwnnw i greu'r cynllun gweithredu ac i greu'r argymhellion. A bydd hynny'n cael eu hadrodd wedyn i'r penaethiaid adran. Rydym ni'n credu ei fod e'n bwysig iawn i gynnwys pawb yn rhan o'r sgwrs achos mae pawb yn rhan o ddiwylliant sefydliad.
Yes. In a way, this is a barometer, a barometer of where we are now, and it can assist us in a way as a benchmark to know which areas we need to work on. One of the issues that are interesting about this snapshot, in a way, is the fact that there is consistency across our museums and out scores. I think indicator 6, 'Structuring work', gets the highest score—all the scores are out of seven—and we have 5.3 out of seven for that. And then, 'Leading and inspiring people' is the lowest at four out of seven.
But you are right to say that about 45 per cent is in the framework of 'I trust the leaders of my organisation', and that is an area for us to develop. One of the ways that we will be doing this is—we have established a strategic group to lead on the Investors in People work, and that includes members from every museum and every tier in the museum, all levels, as well as the chairs of our trade unions, and they will take this work forward.
Now that we've had the report, we've shared the report with you, with our staff, and our trustees. It is a benchmark for us now to work from and create an action plan together, because everybody is part of Investors in People, and that is one of the reasons why we chose it, in a way—it is about developing people at every level in the organisation and developing the culture of the organisation.
So, that work will go on now to prepare us for the assessment, and it will be up to that steering committee to create the action plan and the recommendations. And that will be reported back to the heads of departments. We think it's very important to include everybody as part of the conversation because everybody is part of the culture of an organisation.
I was surprised to see that St Fagans, which is your second largest site, and also where you, obviously, had a great deal of investment in recent times, nevertheless had the lowest proportion of staff who actually responded to the survey. So, I wondered if you can elaborate on why that would be.
Ocê. Wel, rydym ni'n falch iawn i ddweud bod 69 y cant o'r staff wedi ymgymryd â'r arolwg yma, sydd yn uchel, sydd yn—
Okay. Well, we're very pleased to say that 69 per cent of the staff did undertake this survey, which is high—
Sixty-nine per cent participated.
Os ŷch chi'n edrych ar—
If you look at—
Os ŷch chi’n edrych ar y dudalen gyntaf, ‘Crynodeb a chyd-destun’, o dan ‘Cyfanswm nifer y gweithwyr’, so—
If you look at the first page, 'Summary and Context', under 'Total employee
Ydw. Cyfradd ymateb: 69 y cant ar draws y gorfforaeth. Am sefydliad o’n maint ni, fe fyddai IIP yn disgwyl inni gael 60 y cant. Felly, rŷm ni dipyn yn uwch na hynny ac yn cymharu’n dda â’n democratiaeth ni, rydw i'n meddwl, o ran cael 69 y cant. Felly, mae hynny’n bwysig, bod staff—. Ac fe wnaethom ni fynd o gwmpas yr amgueddfeydd gyda’r undebau llafur i greu sioeau teithiol, i esbonio i’n staff ni i gyd beth oedd Buddsoddwyr mewn Pobl ac i annog pobl i gymryd rhan, i ddweud wrthym ni yr hyn yr oedden nhw’n teimlo a oedd yn bwysig i’w gyfleu.
O ran Sain Ffagan, mae yn is. Buaswn i’n tybio—fe wnaethom ni wneud hyn jest cyn yr haf, ac fel ŷch chi i gyd yn gwybod, rŷm ni wedi gwneud ailddatblygiad anferth yn Sain Ffagan. Fe wnaethom ni agor yr orielau ddydd Iau diwethaf, ac roedd y staff ar y cyfan yn hynod brysur, a buaswn i ddim yn—. Efallai bod yna gysylltiad, really, rhwng y prysurdeb hwnnw ac felly’r ymateb rhywfaint yn is yn Sain Ffagan nag yn ein sefydliadau eraill ni, ein hamgueddfeydd eraill ni.
Yes. Response rate: 69 per cent across the corporation. An organisation of our size would be expected to have 60 per cent. So, we’re higher than that and compare well with our democracy, I think, in terms of having 69 per cent. So, it’s important that staff—. And we went around the museums with the trade unions, having touring shows to explain to our staff what Investors in People were and to encourage people to take part and to tell us what they felt was important to be conveyed.
In terms of St Fagans, it is lower, but I would suspect that—we did this just before the summer, and as you all know, we’ve done a huge redevelopment at St Fagans, and reopened the galleries last Thursday, and the staff on the whole are very busy, and I wouldn't—. Maybe there is a link, really, between how busy they were and the response being somewhat lower in St Fagans than at our other museums.
That might be the explanation, or there might be other explanations. That’s why I’m trying to probe a bit on this one. Have you had any further discussions with St Fagans staff on their enthusiasm for the job?
Mae yna ddiddordeb, ac mae hwn yn siwrnai. O ran y grŵp llywio, mae nifer o staff Sain Ffagan wedi dod ymlaen i fod yn rhan o hwnnw, ac fe fydd y grŵp llywio ei hun yn medru edrych, efallai, ar pam mae’r ymateb yn is yn Sain Ffagan na rhai o’r amgueddfeydd eraill. Yn sicr, rŷm ni eisiau cael yr un cyfranogiad ar draws ein hamgueddfeydd ni i gyd, ac rydw i'n siŵr bod yna nifer o resymau pam oedd e rywfaint yn is yn Sain Ffagan. Ond beth sy’n dda i’w ddweud yw bod nifer o staff wedi gwirfoddoli o Sain Ffagan, o wahanol lefelau hefyd o fewn y tîm. Bydd pennaeth Sain Ffagan yn rhan o’r gweithgor, yn ogystal â’n staff glanhau ni a rhai o’n staff blaen tŷ ni. Felly, trwy’r gweithgor hwnnw, hwyrach down ni i ddeall yn fwy.
Ond roeddem ni’n teimlo ei bod yn bwysig iawn bod yr adroddiad y mae’r uwch-dîm yn ei dderbyn yn union yr un peth â’r adroddiad y mae’r staff yn ei dderbyn, a’n bod ni’n gwbl dryloyw. Felly, nid oes gen i ddim mwy o ddata na’r hyn yr wyf i wedi ei rannu â chi heddiw.
There is interest, and this is a journey. In terms of the steering group, a number of St Fagans staff have come forward to be part of that, and the steering group itself will be able to look at why the response was lower in St Fagans than it was in other museums. Certainly, we want the same kind of participation across all our museums, and I’m sure there are a number of reasons why it was slightly lower at St Fagans. But what’s good to say is that a number of staff did volunteer from St Fagans, from different levels as well within the team. The head of St Fagans will be part of the working group, as well as our cleaning staff and some of our front of house staff. So, through that working group, we will come to understand more, I think.
But we thought it was very important that the report that the senior team receives is exactly the same as the report that the staff receive, and that we are very transparent. So, I don’t have more data than what I've shared with you today.
Very good. So, the steering group that you’ve got good representation of St Fagans on, when will your stakeholders find out the results of the deliberations? How is their work going to be fed back either to the board or in your annual account?
Ocê. Wel, mae’r grŵp llywio yn dechrau cyn bo hir—yr wythnos yma, rydw i'n meddwl, David, maen nhw’n cwrdd am y tro cyntaf. Fe fydd Angharad o IIP yn cadeirio’r grŵp. Roeddwn i’n teimlo ei bod yn bwysig iawn i gael cadeirydd annibynnol ar y grŵp. Ac fe fydd y grŵp yn cwrdd yn fisol, ac yn creu argymhellion wedyn a fydd yn cael eu hadrodd yn ôl trwy dîm rheoli’r amgueddfa, a thrwy’r tîm rheoli i’r ymddiriedolwyr. Mae’r ymddiriedolwyr yn cwrdd yn chwarterol, ac fe fyddan nhw’n mesur datblygiad yr argymhellion y bydd y grŵp yn ei greu, yn naturiol fel rhan o’n hadrodd ni i’r ymddiriedolwyr.
So, the steering group is starting before long—this week, I think, is it, David, that they’re meeting for the first time? Angharad from IIP will be chairing that group. I felt it was important to have a chair who is independent on the group, and the group will meet on a monthly basis and will create recommendations that will be reported back through the management team at the museum, and through the management team to the trustees. The trustees will then meet quarterly, and they will measure the development of the recommendations that the group create, naturally, as part of our reports to the trustees.
Okay. Fine. There’s a point of detail that I’m not sure was covered by my colleague Oscar, which is that you’ve got an increase in staff, but you also increased agency staff, and I just wondered if you could explain why that is.
There has been an increase in staff, as you quite rightly say, but it’s also how it’s measured in terms of what we do have and what we would describe as pool staff, which are non-contract in that sense. So, they would count as agency staff. This isn’t—
Yes, and many are ex-employees who have retired and come back, particularly at Big Pit.
That’s what I was trying to say in the earlier answer, which is that it’s not a recruitment agency and we're paying to an agency, but because of the definition of how it’s described in the accounts, they're not directly employees. They are paid through our payroll, just to be absolutely clear.
Okay, fine. Thank you for that clarification.
Just going on to sickness absence, you report just over a 5 per cent, nearly 6 per cent, sickness absence rate. Could you give us the number of days per employee loss, because other public organisations describe it that way?
They do. I don't know that figure off the top of my head, but we can get that figure for you.
We do have another way of indicating the change, particularly the change in the last 12 months or so, which Nia can give you.
Dim ond i rannu, rydym ni wedi edrych ar hwn o ran hyfforddiant i reolwyr ynglŷn â chynnal pobl sydd â salwch, ond hefyd sicrhau bod hynny’n cael ei fonitro’n effeithiol. Rŷm ni wedi gweld lleihad yn nifer y bobl o ran salwch dros y chwarter cyntaf a’r ail chwarter diwethaf yma—mae e wedi disgyn i 3.4 y cant. Felly, rŷm ni’n teimlo bod hynny’n dangos ein bod ni’n symud i’r cyfeiriad cywir o ran absenoldebau staff trwy salwch.
Just to share the fact that we have looked at this in terms of training for managers to be able to help people who have sickness, but ensuring that that is monitored effectively. We have seen a reduction in the number of people who report sickness over the first quarter and this second quarter—it has fallen to 3.4 per cent. So, we do feel that that shows that we are moving in the right direction in terms of sickness absence amongst staff.
Okay. Very good, thank you. In the accounts, you note that the pension deficit is projected to be £39 million by the end of next March. How are you planning to address that deficit?
I'm sure that the WAO will want to comment. The pension and how it's measured in these accounts is not necessarily what the actual deficit is, as measured by the pension scheme, because they use different indices. So, perhaps a truer reflection of it is the measure that is used by the actuary of the pension scheme. And at the last triannual—and it is a draft report at this stage—the deficit was £11 million and we already have a plan in place to pay back from previous years, and that will be paid back in around about eight years. So, this measure in these accounts—and as I say, I'm sure the WAO will comment more thoroughly—changes every year, because it's taken at a point in time. It is a snapshot at a point in time.
Okay. So, in your response to the recommendation set out in our last report on 2014-15 in August, you say that
'Pension Scheme strain costs are no longer payable as part of the severance scheme.'
Several things have happened since the last committee meeting. What I was referring to then was the actual valuation in the accounts we've received now. Since 2014-15, we were paying strain costs on any redundancies that we made. I believe that, if my memory is right, the WAO report said that we were the most expensive in Wales—if my memory is correct.
Indeed. So, those payments stopped in 2015. We still make redundancy payments in line with our redundancy scheme, but the pension scheme no longer bears the strain of making up any years, which may or may not have been the case. And that is in line with other organisations in Wales.
The second thing that has happened is that the pension scheme remains a defined benefit scheme, but has been moved to a career average scheme, again similar to the civil service—it's not identical, but very, very similar in terms of its concept and make-up, and that was changed on 1 April 2016. Because of the change and we are a single-organisation scheme, we were able to crystalise the benefits of members in the prior scheme, so, therefore, nobody lost any pension contributions from the prior scheme—they were frozen at a point in time and they go up by inflation in line with the normal pension scheme. So, all our staff are now on a career average scheme, based on eight tiers.
Okay. Well, that stops any artificial inflation at the end, and it also, presumably, helps people who are nearing retirement maybe reduce their hours at the end of their careers, which helps them get other activities organised.
Indeed, yes, that's absolutely right. What we were able to do as well as bring in the new scheme was to bring in exactly that—flexible retirement. I believe that nearly a dozen people have taken advantage of that. The old scheme specifically excluded it. What we've also been able to do is to have the contributions in a more progressive way, and by that I mean that they range from 6 per cent to 9 per cent for employees, whereas, previously, it was 9 per cent for everybody. It does go up higher in bands as the salaries increase.
No, they pay 6 per cent.
The employer contribution remains the same for all, but the employee pays slightly less depending on how much—
Thank you very much. In light of both the Public Accounts Committee's recommendation and the Thurley review, and the general shift towards end-based policies, how do you balance your commitment to free admission alongside charging for certain exhibitions?
I think we regard free admission for the core services of the museum as an absolutely essential tool, really, for a public body like ours. We know that if you introduce an admission charge the number of people who will visit museums—and this is pretty well universal across the UK from historical evidence—will drop by half. So, a huge amount of social benefit will be lost by having admission charges at the door. We feel very strongly that there's every argument for maintaining free admission, from the point of view of the museum as well as from the point of view of the Government.
Then there is a very complex process, really, I think, of trying to see how income generation can be used to benefit the wider purposes of the organisation as opposed to conflicting with it. The policy we've always had is that we would wish to use the additional income we get to reinvest in those areas that are most significant from a social benefit point of view, to help us, in other words, to do more of the work of social action that we wouldn't have been able to do otherwise.
So, when you say you 'wish' to do that, is that actively taking place?
Absolutely, because we have been redirecting our resources and our efforts more in that area. The money that we get from admission charges to exhibitions, for example, goes into the central pool of the museum, but it enables us then to allocate more in other areas. The efforts we make is to try to choose those activities for commercial development that will have as little social impact as we can—so, for example, venue hire for corporate use in the evenings, and high-value programming that we can charge for as well. But we offer a lot of free programmes, and as much or more of those than we ever did—definitely more than we would have done, say, five years ago. That's only been possible because of the redirection of income.
Okay. So, you see that as quite a strategic choice that you make.
We do, yes. We do not regard income generation as purely a purpose in itself, we see it as one of the tools we have available to us to achieve the corporate museum goals.
Okay. You received more grant in aid funding for 2017-18. Obviously, we spoke earlier about the fact that your donations have increased substantially. So, do you feel that trajectory is sustainable in the longer term?
Broadly, over the last three years, our grant in aid income has been around about between 63 and 68 per cent. So, over the last three years now, we've gradually increased our non-grant in aid income in its totality. Some of that, of course, is comprised of, if you will, restricted fundraising—for example, for the Sain Ffagan project. Equally, in recent years, there have been cuts in the revenue GIA particularly, which are well documented. But at the same time, we have increased our commercial activity, which is—[Inaudible.]—as well as providing a service, to raise commercial income.
So, there is quite a delicate balance. We have a trajectory that says that that will increase sustainably over the next five years. So, for example, our turnover was roughly around about £2.6 million or £2.5 million two years ago. I would guess that, within three years, it would be £4 million, just on commercial activity. And, equally, the profit, we've doubled it from the last time we appeared at this committee. And, again, within three years, I would think that would be around about £1 million of profit, as in private sector recognised profit.
Can you, briefly, articulate how you've managed to do that? Is it a bit of a holy grail or is it that you've done absolutely none of it before?
Can I give some examples, in that case, just to kick this off? I'm looking at some of the key areas of our work. In the collections and research, we've put a lot of effort into trying to increase our research income. We've appointed a head of research in the last two years and we've got a research advisory committee that includes distinguished academics from outside the museum, and between 2016-17 and 2017-18, our income from that increased from £465,000 to £651,000. If we're looking at, equally, the gallery and exhibition team, just in a year that increased from £816,000 to £914,000.
I think part of the secret is increasing visitor numbers, and that means we get more income from the shop, restaurant and everywhere else, really, there too. I have to say, we've really benefited from the money we've received from Visit Wales to support us in marketing and promotion. The dino babies marketing campaign with the dragon's claws appearing over the edge of the parapets of the museum was very, very widely social media covered. And, likewise Kizuna. The support we got from Visit Wales this year for that undoubtedly helped us to achieve nearly 50 per cent more than our target, which was quite a challenging one.
So, I think, potentially, it's a virtuous circle—that the more that we can increase our visitor numbers, the more these other sources of income will increase as well. I don't know if I've stolen your thunder, Neil.
Okay, that makes sense. I've got a few more questions, so I'm going to move quickly on to them. In regard to savings targets, as you're doing healthily in the other respect at the moment, do you feel that you're performing well against it? Or is this an area of development?
We're performing to target at the moment on that. We're delighted that the trade unions have signed up to support us on income generation, because that's really one of the key ways in which we can achieve our balance between income and expenditure. And, to date, the plan is working.
Neil, do you want to say more?
I think the other key one here is—and I'm sure most organisations that come before you say the same thing—that we've squeezed the lemon quite tightly, really. And all the other phrases of the low-hanging fruit—they're gone. At the moment, we receive the temporary additional funding of £730,000. I think, if that was to be taken away, we're not going to be able to make that up in income generation in a short space of time. And if it is, we will be looking for savings and, inevitably, they're going to be staff, because we are an organisation where staff is 80 per cent of our cost base. So, I think that there is almost a double-edged sword to it. We have increased income generation significantly, but some of that has really just offset the reductions in the overall grant in aid, and we haven't yet got to a position where we're generating more than has been cut over a period of time.
So, I think we do need some consistency and stability with that funding to enable us to grow it, because we're not, in that way, an industry that can just grow income generation on that level overnight. We do have a sustainable trajectory for it, but it's not within a year or within 18 months; it is over three years or so.
Obviously, bearing in mind the wider, large constraints on the public purse, you're in no different a position to others.
And, obviously, if you're at the start of the income generation journey, then, obviously, that bodes better for you for the future. In regard to the invest-to-save loans, what difference have they made?
I'd prefer that they were grants.
Indeed. They've made quite a big difference. The St Fagans reopening has helped us. We've brought in a high ropes course there, and that's on target to turn over about £150,000, broadly. And we'll know next year, with full marketing and a full season—
Well, we will, come November.
Secondly, then, there's other initiatives in the pipeline, which is to bring virtual reality to both Cathays Park and St Fagans, and the chip shop should open in 2019—
Indeed, yes. We will be opening a traditional chip shop in St Fagans in summer 2019.
They will make a significant difference to income.
All the best museums have a traditional fish and chip shop. [Laughter.]
The other thing on a smaller scale that's made a difference is having the infrastructure to have pop-up shops at the exhibitions, and we were also able to open the sweet shop in St Fagans through the invest-to-save money. That alone is turning over £65,000 a year in sweets, so there is potential still to go.
Okay. The profit before interest that you made within the trading arm—could you very briefly, very succinctly, explain how that was achieved?
A mixture—car parking is a cash cow—of car parking, venue hire, catering, which is franchised to Elior, so the profit and the return from that, a small amount from filming, as in location filming and licensing rights, and some corporate let units that we have in the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.
Okay, so it's a very mixed basket. In regard to the recommendation within Thurley about the appointment of a commercial director, how important is that, bearing in mind that you're at the start of this journey?
I think the question almost sort of gives the answer on that one, really. I think we regard this as completely crucial. I think I would say to my colleagues that I think they're doing brilliantly at the moment in the different areas of income generation, and it has been taken on board by staff across departments as a shared responsibility, which is a very significant transformation from where we were three or five years ago. However, we think that there is the potential for areas of strategic development, really, and that we need somebody, perhaps, who's been working as a specialist in that field and has done this before—
Yes, and we also hope that we can see a collaboration with our development department to see whether there are new kinds of relationships with private sector organisations too.
Okay. Finally then from me, and this is a bit of a blunt question: are you working in collaboration with other organisations to deliver services and increase efficiencies? And, if so, how do you measure the effectiveness or the efficacy of that?
I think we would see the Historic Wales partnership as a really good vehicle for that. The skills initiative, which Nia mentioned earlier on, is the first result of that collaboration, because it's looking much more widely than commercial activity and looking at all the areas we can address. There are groups now just being set up around visitor experience, the commercial collaborations and also one other area—which I must remind myself of—which is the back-office functions as well. Those are still at very early stages, but we would expect that those are all going to produce results. What they will be, I couldn't predict at the moment. I think that the skills one, however, is a model of a really, really strong report that achieves outcomes that simply couldn't have been done by us alone or, arguably, by our other heritage partners either.
Thank you very much, Chair. Just going through the accounts there and your report—it's a pretty nice one, but on page 46, when you look at the account, there is a provision in the 2018 accounts that is £569,000. The provision has been made under the creditors' notes. If I look at that, I haven't seen that one on page 53—there isn't any analysis for the provisions. The provision has been made in the accounts, if you look at page 46, No. 17 on the notes—note number 17 on the left corner—for £569,000. And on page 53, there should be analysis of 15, 16, but 17 hasn't been analysed. Is there any reason for that?
I'm afraid my page number is slightly different to yours. I've got the provision under 17.
Are you going by the pack page number, Oscar, or by the actual report page?
Oh I see, okay. We have actually got them. I think you mean page 37, Oscar, of the report, and then page 51.
Our pack page 46 is page 37 of the report, I think. We always have these sorts of problems with packs.
Page 37 is a cash flow statement in mine.
Is it the figure or the balance? I don't know. But I just wanted to find out. Provision will be made of £0.5 million, so I just wanted to know—
There is a provision made of £0.5 million against salaries because at the year end when they were put together the pay rise had not been paid in cash terms—
Yes, it's about £569,000, and that is a provision for the increase, the inflationary increase, of staff salaries. It hadn't been paid at the point that the accounts were produced, but we knew we were going to pay it, hence the provision.
Well, when the accounts were produced, it hadn't been paid, but the money would have been backdated, and that was the amount—
Not exactly. As the accounts were produced, it hadn't been paid. Therefore, it is a liability in the sense that it was going to be paid. So, therefore, it's recognised in this way in the accounts.
Thank you very much. My other question relates to internal and external audit findings. How have you prioritised your resources in light of the risks identified? The risks identified are erosion of funding and threats to the security of the museum’s assets.
In several ways. The first one: the museum has a considerable amount of assets, both in terms of its buildings, which we own, and obviously in terms of the collections. So, in terms of the heritage assets, they're only valued from a certain point in time. Then in terms of the erosion of those, there are probably three different issues. The first one is the revenue, which we spoke about earlier, and which most public bodies face. We are trying to cover the gap for that through income generation as we go forward, but we are heavily reliant on the grant in aid.
The second bit really is around capital and capital maintenance of our estate. We have quite a large estate, quite an old estate I think it would be very fair to say, and the maintenance of that estate—we are currently carrying a backlog of probably some £50 million in terms of the maintenance of that estate. So, it is an ongoing challenge. We are very grateful for the extra funding we've had, which was around £6.5 million, to address some very, very immediate problems within our estate—for example, fire alarms and the roof of Cathays Park in the centre of Cardiff. It will deal with some of the priorities but not all, so there is an ongoing discussion with the Welsh Government in terms of how we deal with that asset.
All right. Are you content that your internal auditor concluded that you have an adequate and effective framework for risk management, governance and internal control?
I think we are very satisfied with that statement. Over the last four or five years particularly, we have focused quite heavily on governance and risk control, and it's one of the processes that I think it would be fair to say is well embedded in the organisation, and we are looking to further improve that next year through assurance statements.
So, you need further improvement there. Could you detail the recommendations that have been made by internal and external audit as a result of their work in 2017-18 and how you are going to respond to them?
In terms of which part?
You know, this internal and external—. Recommendations have been made by the internal and external audit.
Yes, I'm sorry, which recommendations? That's all I'm trying to ask.
It's something to do with your adequate and effective framework for risk management, governance and internal control. It's still the same area that I want to cover.
As I said, we are looking to introduce an assurance statement, and we would address all of those particular issues through the assurance statement and the internal control, but I think if we go back to the earlier statement—and in this case it was the external auditors—they were satisfied with the internal control and risk management framework within the organisation. I think it's an area where one would always look to improve on what one has in terms of a continuous improvement methodology, and we would work with the auditors, both internal and external, to do that, but the assurance statements are going to be the one main thing in the financial year we're now in—to introduce those as part of that framework.
Finally, Chair, you know that the Severn bridge toll is going to finish before the end of the year, and the influx of tourists should be more and you should be considering that Big Pit and especially Cardiff area museums may have more visitors than anticipated. So, have you done anything for the development side of this?
Well, I think that we would hope that that would be the case. We find it very hard to predict how much that will impact upon us as an individual organisation. I would say, however, that the last two surveys we've done of our visitors—comprehensive 12 months of the year visitors—which were 2012 and 2015, and we will be due to do another one within the next year—between those two surveys we increased the number of people coming from outside of Wales very significantly as a portion of our visitors. And we are optimistic, because of the focus that Visit Wales has put on to culture now as one of the strands for its work, that we will get the benefits of that, like Cadw and other local and national organisations.
We certainly believe that the economic benefits of getting cultural tourism and strengthening it in Wales will be very, very significant, and we do believe that there's a lot of potential. We also hope that St Fagans will be seen as, if you like, the beacon and the starting point for new visitors to Wales to learn something about Welsh culture and history and then go on to other venues across Wales after that. We work very closely with local museums and would hope we can therefore be helpful to them in getting visitors as well.
I'd like to ask some questions about procurement. You spend about £800,000 a year on gas and electricity, and there's been a modest increase in the consumption of both in the last 12 months—3 per cent for gas and 2 per cent for electricity. But, when you look at what gas and electricity's costing you, the picture is very different indeed—a 21 per cent increase in the amount of money you spent on gas and 9 per cent on electricity. I've swapped suppliers twice this year in order to make significant reductions in my own outgoings in this area, so I'm wondering what your attitude is towards this.
We tend to go for longer term contracts and try and get a fixed price to a point against those contracts. We actually changed supplier last year. There is only so much you can do, really, I think, is part of the answer to that question. Some of the increase, of course, is associated with the St Fagans redevelopment, because, if you increase your public space fourfold, you're going to get a resultant increase in your electricity and gas bill, and it was compared to the prior year when, of course, it was shut in the sense that there was no building consuming electricity and gas at St Fagans. And, prior to that, St Fagans was the second biggest consumer on our estate of electricity and gas. So, part of the increase is actually to do with the buildings coming back online in terms of the main atrium, the toilets, the cafeteria, et cetera. Therefore, by implication, it will go up.
But one of the things we have done—we've put a combined heat and power unit into Cathays Park, and we are looking at the same for Swansea and St Fagans going forward.
In terms of the market, I think that it may be something where the big contracts could be brought together on perhaps a more Wales view. Certainly, you would have a lot more purchasing and buying power, and I am aware that the NHS already do that. It's something that maybe is bigger than the museum in terms of the consumption. I think it would be very difficult, and we find the same problem for our smaller sites because the big suppliers won't go in, but, in terms of our bigger sites, I think there may be potential to do that. But, on our own, I think we can only use what frameworks are already available to us through public procurement, which is what we do.
Right. Okay. Well, that sounds understandable. When you're looking at percentage increases, obviously the base year that you choose for comparison is vitally important, isn't it?
Another item that drew my attention in the accounts was potential liabilities for personal injury claims. I see that the note explains that there are six personal injury claims, and the potential liability of three of these is £46,000, £47,000. But the maximum potential liability of other claims is not stated. Are they in the same kind of region, do you think, or would there be any extra risk involved?
I don't know what those other three claims are off the top of my head. Generally, all of our claims are mainly to do with trip hazards, which, obviously, due to the particular sites we have, sometimes are unavoidable. I don't know the detail of those three claims off the top of my head. I suspect that possibly one of them could be slightly different, but otherwise I would expect them to be broadly in the same—.
Well, obviously we're Crown, but this comes under the public liability, so we have public liability insurance. Some of it is literally from—well, they nearly all are—trips. Otherwise we, as a public body, would insure through public liability.
Right. I'd also like to ask about your essential backlog maintenance works programme, which I know, at St Fagans, has been very significant. We all operate against a background of continuing financial pressures, and I'd like to ask you how you prioritise your maintenance works on the one hand, and what are the risks of not taking timely action to address them? A stitch in time saves nine.
The main priority is health and safety. That's the first priority in terms of maintenance, and then coupled with health and safety are what we would describe, really, as completely reactive maintenance—so, for example, the fire alarms in St Fagans completely went. They had to be replaced. Security would also be within that, around CCTV and alarms, for obvious reasons by the collections that we hold. Then the second bundle would be—there's connectivity there. So, for example, the roof is leaking at Cathays Park. That would then leak onto the collections, and there is obviously a knock-on effect from that. Equally, coupled with the roof, are the plant and electrical equipment, which then power the air conditioning, which gives us the conditions that we need to display those collections. So, I think—urgency is one, but it's health and safety, protection of the public and staff, and then the second one is protection of the collections. But to give you another example, it's also about access. So, we rely heavily on the lifts in Cathays Park to move people between the three levels. We've only got two operational lifts in those areas, so if those lifts break down we have to repair them. So, there are a number of factors, but the main ones would be health and safety, security, protection and safety of the public.
Have you got a major audit of your maintenance problems that are in prospect?
We have a backlog maintenance plan, for want of a better word, that we keep and maintain, and it's from that that the priorities are derived. As I say, they will change, because, for example, recently there was a small fire on a circuit board, so we've had to replace the electricity supplies and boards going into that, which wasn't on the list at all. Then, equally, we will respond to what are perceived—as well as the health and safety are the Disability Discrimination Act aspects of access, so, for example, handrails, or trying to alter some of the stairwells or ramps and so on as well.
We're seeing at the moment a colossal programme of works being undertaken at the Palace of Westminster to cope with decades, many decades, of underinvestment in the fabric and the essential services of the building—you've got nothing on that scale in prospect, but I was just wondering about what your information base is against which you're planning future programmes of works.
We undertake condition surveys of our buildings and infrastructure within those buildings on a five-yearly basis. So, they're well informed by what the results of those surveys are, and that's why the priorities change sometimes as well. Some are beyond our control, of course. We have an issue with the gas supply in Drefach now in west Wales, which clearly is not us but it affects us quite a lot.
But you're satisfied that the works that need to be done are affordable in the medium term, within your budget or likely budget.
I think we're satisfied that we're using the funds that we've been given for the highest priorities that we have.
That's a political answer, I think. I recognise one when I see one. [Laughter.]
In fact, the Permanent Secretary of Welsh Government gave similar answers to my questions in previous weeks, so at least you know you're pursuing an acceptable policy within the terms of public service. Good. Thank you very much.
Very briefly, then, you've mentioned community purchase and the approach of health around utilities as one of your major expenditure lines, or a major expenditure line. So, in regard to, for instance, St Fagans and its raison d'être, to me it seems absolutely ripe and ideal for some sort of community energy production, like, for instance, Machynlleth's alternative energy centre. So, have you had any thoughts around being self-sufficient, particularly in a place like St Fagans?
We've already fitted solar panels, about three years ago, through a Salix loan, to Cathays Park, one part of St Fagans, and we will look to expand that, but, obviously, at the time we couldn't fit them because the building was being altered. We've also fitted them at Big Pit. So—
But, with respect, there's a big difference between fitting a few solar panels and then an aim to be self-sufficient, particularly in an area such as St Fagans.
I think it would be very difficult for us to be self-sufficient without a very large windfarm somewhere, because we do consume an enormous amount of electricity for the galleries to run the air conditioning and the plant that runs that air conditioning. I think St Fagans would be the obvious—potentially Llanberis, but, again, it's in a national park, so I think there are restrictions to that. My honest view would be, in the short term, some sort of bulk combined purchasing or procurement would offer, perhaps, more rapid savings against that energy.
On a positive, we have done very well to keep down our energy consumption. So, although, as Neil spotted, it has gone up, we've also increased our public space by about 30 per cent, which clearly needs lighting. In Cathays Park, which is a large energy user, particularly in the galleries, where you have a lot of lighting for the objects and specimens, most of that lighting has now been changed to LED, as opposed to the old white lighting, which used an enormous amount of electricity, I think it would be fair to say. And the combined heat and power unit has, again, reduced that. So, our energy bill—and I'd have to look it up—has probably actually gone down about 25 per cent over the last six years. So, we've actually taken quite a lot of measures, but I do take your point. But only on some of our sites would we be able to do that, and Cathays Park—I'm not quite sure how it would go in the civic centre. I'd like to look at purchasing with other large bodies, or other large users of power—that would be, to me, quite sensible.
Just following up on that, do you talk to the National Trust about this, because they've obviously managed to get all of their sites zero carbon, despite the fact that there are obviously huge restraints on their historic buildings?
Yes. We haven't had any direct conversations with them about power issues specifically.
Okay. Well, they appear to be the ones who are most skilled at this, and I think there are lots of things you could be doing. But I suggest a conversation with the National Trust.
I just wanted to ask, on a more mundane matter—obviously, you pay a lot of attention to your sustainability and Greening Government commitments: do you still use plastic straws in your venues?
I don't know the answer to that question.
It may sound like a flippant question, but actually, it's a massive problem. And also, do you still use plastic cups? Because this isn't plastic; this is a biodegradable substance. I couldn't tell you what it is, but it's from the canteen upstairs. Plastic pollution is massive in terms of the pollution of our rivers and oceans.
Rŷm ni'n edrych ar—gwnaf aros i bawb i gael y setiau—ddileu plastig. Rŷm ni newydd wneud arddangosfa arbennig gyda phobl ifanc, fel rhan o'n fforwm ieuenctid ni ar ddifrod plastig, yn un o'r orielau yn Cathays a rŷm ni'n edrych ar ddileu plastig fel rhan o hynny. Mae gennym ni bobl ifanc sy'n gweithio fel activists yn yr amgueddfa yn ein herio ni ar lot o'n penderfyniadau ni mewn ffordd ac mae hynny'n dda. Mae hwnnw'n un o'r amcanion nawr, sef i edrych ar y defnydd o blastig.
We're looking to—I will wait for everyone to get their headsets—eliminate plastic. We've just had an exhibition with young people, as part of our young people's forum on the effects of plastic, in one of the galleries in Cathays, and we're looking at getting rid of plastic as part of that. We have young people who work as activists in the museum, challenging us on a number of our decisions in a way and that is good. That is one of the objectives now, which is to look at the use of plastic.
Including plastic straws, which, obviously, are not essential. Paper straws will do the job for those who have difficulty drinking.
Hyd fy ngwybodaeth i, nid wyf yn meddwl bod gwellt plastig ar ôl gyda ni yn ein caffis ni, ond ni allaf fod 100 y cant yn sicr, ond y bwriad yw i ddileu, ie.
As far as I know, I don't think we have any plastic straws left in our cafes, but I can't be 100 per cent sure, but the intention is to get rid of them, yes.
Good. Any further questions? You mentioned the exciting development of a fish and chip shop, which, with my stomach rumbling, got my interest straightaway earlier. I ask this question every time I see you: are we any closer to getting the old Raglan station up and running as a, if not a working station, at least an example of a Welsh station?
We have discussed this recently. We talked with Cardiff council, very generally actually, about the access to St Fagans, particularly, and our wish that there was a far stronger public transport network to the site. We had, I think I'm right in saying, 16,000 people on Saturday and Sunday who came to St Fagans, just after we reopened. If we are to achieve the goals of getting extra tourists in, which we really want to, we feel that there needs to be a very strategic and structural change to that. So, we have talked to Cardiff council. We have discussed the issue, I think, with the rail company as well. I think there's an awareness of the challenge for us, but there isn't yet a solution. We would love to have people be able to get off at Cardiff Central, change trains and come up to St Fagans. I think it would increase our visitor numbers dramatically, if that were the case. We already contribute £83 million of gross value added to the Welsh economy and that's very closely tied to the number of visitors that we get. We believe that, in the long term, if there was investment in a strategic public transport connection to St Fagans, it would be more than paid back by the additional visitors from outside Wales who would come.
It's obviously very expensive to have a rail link, but as you say, it would pay dividends back in the longer term.
It would, yes. Obviously, it's the main route between Cardiff and Swansea, and we understand that that's always been the reason why there's been resistance to having a station there. Arguably, the additional income from tickets might help to persuade them. I don't know really.
And we've got the station.
We have the station, yes.
Yes, I know. It came from my local village, which is why I was interested in the question to start with. Rhianon Passmore.
Very briefly, you mentioned international footfall, and that has increased across the museum sector, but have you made any analysis of the potential impact of Brexit in terms of overseas visitors?
We did do so. We did an initial analysis last year and it ranges from the number of our staff who have non-British passports and the assurances that we hope will be given to them and people like them that they can continue to be employed freely by us. We're concerned, obviously, about the potential loss of research income, and also income for joint projects. Looking at St Fagans, there was a really strong project that was done with other open-air museums across Europe, which helped our thinking in the development of St Fagans, funded by the European Union. We are very, very actively building our relationships outside the European Union funding streams. For example, we hope that will be able to conclude a memorandum of understanding with the National Museum of Ireland within weeks, which will include exchange of exhibitions, joint exhibition projects, research projects, et cetera, et cetera. We also hope that they might be a gateway for us to continue to be able to get European funding if we are a partner.
And in regard to actual international visitors, as well as the wider issues that you’ve referred to.
Yes, and obviously there is a potential concern for us, really, on that. I think that we would very much hope to be able to attract visitors from outside Europe as well as Europe. One of the benefits of the Kizuna exhibition that we had earlier this summer was the very large number of Japanese tourists who came to visit the exhibition from all over the UK and, we believe, beyond as well. We understand that the number of Japanese coming in via Cardiff Airport had visibly and quantitatively increased during that period, too. So, we want to sustain our long-term relationships with Japan and other key countries for Wales's economy and for our visits.
Diolch, David Anderson, Nia Williams, Neil Wicks. Thanks for being with us today; that's really helpful. We'll send you a transcript of today's proceedings for you to check before it's published.
Chair, if I may.
We have actually got some infographics on St Fagans, since it's our topical success. So, if members of the committee would like to have copies, we can leave them here for you.
Thank you very much.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o eitemau 5, 6 a 7 yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public for items 5, 6 and 7 in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
I move, under Standing Order 17.42, to meet in private for items 5, 6 and 7.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 14:42.
The public part of the meeting ended at 14:42.