The council’s Cabinet members met on 26 July 2017 and agreed that officers should undertake a procurement exercise to find a new partner to share the costs of the gallery and help it develop over the next ten years, potentially outside of the council.
Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Culture Councillor Ian Shires said:
“We’re obviously in a very difficult position with local government funding and need all the help that we can get. The council has a commitment to adult social care and protecting children, but we also need to empty the bins and keep the streets clean.”
“Having made some difficult decisions in the last year the council now needs to find new partners who are willing to bring their expertise, knowledge and funding to Walsall. We have been successful in our application to Arts Council England and they have offered £881,000 a year for four years. This is very welcome, however we need to balance the books to achieve our savings target of £86m over four years to 2020/21.”
This week, the council is starting the process to look at a more cost-effective way of running the New Art Gallery in the medium to long term by advertising for expressions of interest. The council is interested in hearing from the education sector, companies or philanthropists for the management, control and funding of the gallery.
Councillor Shires added:
“We have produced a prospectus that outlines the offer. At this stage I expect that a report will then go before the council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 25 October for members to consider the results. If favourable, a formal procurement exercise will then be undertaken.”
“To put people’s minds at rest, the building and the collections will remain in the ownership of the council.”