Protecting the future of cultural heritage and recreation in Hampshire
Friday, 11 January 2013
Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, Councillor Keith Chapman will be asked to consider the budget for delivering arts, museums, libraries and countryside services across Hampshire in the year ahead, at his Decision Day on 21 January 2013.
The budget report for 2013/14 sets aside £22.356million to continue to provide these services, as well as provide the various grants awarded to cultural, community and recreational organisations in Hampshire. The efficiencies that need to be made for 2013/14 are aimed at avoiding impact on services to the public at the Council's libraries, museums, arts centres, and country parks.
Early and decisive action taken by Hampshire County Council to respond to the national deficit reduction programme, achieved savings of £100million over the last two years, putting the Council in a strong position to tackle future funding challenges, which are expected to be even tougher from 2015/16.
The report sets out how Culture and Recreation services will tackle further efficiencies to reduce their budgets by two per cent to help meet the major pressures and demands.
Like other services, the next two years will be used to further develop new ways of working for Culture and Recreation services, transforming the way some of these services are delivered to make them more sustainable so that Hampshire residents can continue to receive the quality services they need, at lowest cost.
Ongoing support from the volunteers who operate in Hampshire's community museums, libraries and the countryside, and help deliver various cultural and recreational services, will continue to be extremely valuable in future. Meanwhile, providing residents with ongoing and improved access to Hampshire's beautiful countryside and its 2,900 miles of footpaths, will remain a key priority for the County Council in the year ahead.
The majority of savings will come from the Library Service as a result of staff vacancies that will not be filled. More modern and innovative services to the public will also be provided, with the introduction of self-service machines in Hampshire's libraries, for example, to free up staff time to help customers. In addition, greater use of web-based services including online book renewals and reservations will be on offer. An increase in library charges, including library fines is not being proposed.
Among the challenges facing Culture and Recreation services in future, is securing ways to continue to increase visitor numbers and income to Hampshire attractions when nationally, visitor numbers are declining in the current economic climate. Work will also take place to develop more all-weather facilities such as the Play Barn at Staunton Country Park, to allow more people to enjoy Hampshire's countryside venues, even in poor weather. In addition, in the early part of 2013, the Council will continue to explore the potential for setting up a Charitable Trust to support its work, and that of partner local authorities, in delivering and safeguarding arts, museum and heritage services across Hampshire in the future.
- Read the agenda and papers for the meeting of the Executive Member for Culture and Recreation on 21 January 2013