18 June 2008

Museums, Arts and Libraries in the Borders

Interesting item on the BBC web site today about our libraries, museums and the arts. It suggests that Scottish Borders Council would hand over direct control of Museum, art gallery and library services to a trust rather than directly by Scottish Borders Council. This is as part of a reshaping of education and social work.

It's similar to the system that's already in use for swimming pools and leisure centres. The proposals will be put out for public consultation and a final decision will be taken in November. Councillor Graham Garvie said it was a matter of adapting to changing needs. Running the services as a trust could mean it would qualify for tax breaks and fresh funding not available to the council. Under employment law, pay and conditions of existing staff would be protected.
But the Unison union said nationally such charitable trusts had meant cuts in leisure facilities because of reductions in local authority subsidies.

A very important debate to be had, but as important as the concept is the who will run it? The Trustees? How will funding be assured from SC and how can we seek to improve this area of Border's life not just save money?

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