The Committee is requested to receive the business plan for the Novium Museum and Tourist Information Services and recommend to Cabinet for approval.
Mr Peyman introduced the item. Mrs Hotchkiss and Ms Thorndyke were also present. Mrs Peyman explained that following the initial PID in February 2016 an options appraisal had been carried out and it had been agreed not to pursue the outsourcing of the Novium. Instead, a task and finish group (TFG) was established to review the Novium’s business plan which would ultimately be considered by the Cabinet.
Ms Thorndyke then outlined a number of key projects. She explained that elements of the successful Tim Peake exhibition may be incorporated into the permanent displays. She confirmed that the Novium’s security had been upgraded to comply with the requirements for hosting national exhibitions. She outlined the success of the Lego exhibition and explained that a local camera exhibition was due to begin shortly. She then confirmed the five key objectives of the Novium over the next five years:
· Create a leading visitor experience
· Expand our reach and reputation
· Collaborate with our community
· Increase access to our collections
· Diversity and increase funding streams
Ms Thorndyke then explained that the Novium had won a bronze tourism event of the year award and now has a 4* review on Tripadvisor.
Mrs Peyman, Ms Thorndyke and Mrs Hotchkiss responded to members questions as follows (answers in italics):
· What is the core purpose of the service? The Novium has a responsibility to act as custodian for the heritage of the district by looking after the collection and building upon it for the future. It is important to ensure that the collection remains as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. The Novium is also a major cultural asset and important facility in the Chichester Vision.
· What has been spent on digitalising and storing the collection? Estimated at less than 1% of the budget has been used but where there has been investment it has been made on the building to ensuring appropriate climate control for the collection.
· Has consideration been given to the scale and flexibility of the cafe for the future? The cafe will be considered as part of the wider reconfiguration of the entrance area. It is hoped that any change to the cafe will encourage longer visits and also bring more visitors through the door.
· Are there plans for the Novium to link with other local cultural events? The Novium has been working with Pallant House Gallery and CFT including running simultaneous open evenings.
· Is social media being prioritised? Yes, the Communications Officer is focussing on increasing the Novium’s presence on Instagram.
· With reference to page 91 of the report why was there a sudden change in the number of Tourist Information Centre (TIC) enquiries from 2016/17 to 2017/18? The figures are correct as there has been a noticeable change in the way that people use and interact with the TIC service.
· Can the number of fixed displays be altered to provide a greater degree of flexibility and change in order to encourage repeat visits? It has been acknowledged that work needs to be done to ensure that there are changes to the permanent displays to tell new stories and encourage repeat visitors.
· Can more be done to encourage donations? There has been a lot of work to consider ways for the Novium to self-generate income. All the Novium literature contains information about donating and contactless donations have been trialled.
· Why does the SWOT analysis reference failing lighting and a leaking building? This refers to one issue with a roof light over a stairwell which started leaking. It has since been dealt with by the facilities team.
· Could the name of the cafe be changed? Yes, officers want to look at a brand refresh.
Several members explained that they would not be able to support the recommendation to the Cabinet as they felt unable to justify the level of spend required.
The Committee then voted on the recommendation to the Cabinet which was carried.
RECOMMENDED TO THE CABINET
That the business plan for the Novium Museum and Tourist Information Services be approved.