Sir Ian Blatchford, director & chief executive of Science Museum Group, says that despite “significant cost-saving measures” already having been taken and all government support packages having been utilised to the maximum, “we have no choice but to reduce the scale of our organisation” as lost revenues are forecast to reach £23 million this year alone.
Like the old adage about politics, a week is now a very long time in the museums sector. A matter of days ago the institution was celebrating its selection as one of the five winners of this year’s unconventional Art Fund Museum of the Year award.
Nevertheless, in light of “ongoing restrictions and the deep impact on international tourism”, Blatchford foresees several years of hardship before the museum group can “return to a position of strength”.
Reducing staffing levels alongside “wider measures to significantly reduce our annual costs” is a decision taken “with huge reluctance”, the director and chief executive asserts. “This concern will inform our approach to this difficult period, including giving advance notice of what will be a phased process and constructive engagement with colleagues and our recognised trade unions,” he adds.
Working with unions will be key throughout this highly sensitive process, especially given that only last year many employees took to the picket line demanding the organisation pay staff a ‘living wage’.
Further details will be confirmed next month regarding how Science Museum Group will consult on the changes deemed necessary to safeguard its future.