Museums and Art Galleries "Facing a Crisis" as Council Spending Falls

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Museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK “are facing a crisis due to the impact of Covid-19”, with emerging data from Porge showing that council spend on the operation of museums and art galleries could be set to fall by almost 40%.

Research recently published by Art Fund, the national charity for art, showed that 60% of museums, galleries and historic houses surveyed were worried about their survival, with only 55% having received any emergency funding to date. Of these, 56% said they would have gone under had they not received funding.

Porge’s Illuminator system provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date source of public sector spend data by aggregating and categorising the invoice data disclosed by well over 1000 public sector organisations. By comparing total spend by the councils for which complete invoice data already exists for the first half of 2020/21 with spend by those same organisations during the same period in the previous financial year, it is possible to gain an insight into how the pandemic might have affected spend across individual public sector markets and categories.

The emerging data from Illuminator shows that spend by this sample group of 56 English councils on the operation of museums and art galleries fell by 38.44%. Guidance published by the Local Government Association and Arts Council England in July 2019 stated that councils are directly responsible for around 350 museums in England “and fund a lot more”, with the Art Fund research revealing that 61% of museum and gallery workers are worried about losing their job and that only a third of closed museums believe they will reopen in the coming months.

The fall in council spend on the operation of museums and art galleries was the largest reduction seen across all of the categories included in Porge’s recent analysis, which also showed that spend on the operation of libraries fell by almost 36%.

Illuminator adds up and categorises the invoice data disclosed by over 1000 public sector organisations and offers the most accurate and up-to-date source of public sector spend data. To find out more about how Illuminator could help your organisation, book a demo today.

by Martin Holmes

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