Agenda ALMA-UK Meeting, 8 July 2011

The next ALMA-UK meeting will take place 1130 – 1500 on Friday 8 July at the Riverside Museum in Glasgow. Refreshments will be available on arrival and lunch will be provided. The meeting will also be followed by a tour of the recently opened museum. Papers will be made available shortly.


  1. Apologies
  2. Action points-10/03/11
  3. Economic Impact Study
    Phase 1 evaluation  Alison Turnbull
    Phase 2 evaluation  Oliver Allies, Alison Turnbull and Elaine Fulton
  4. Leadership Project Update  Linda Tomos
  5. ACE/MLA Transition  Anna Jobson
  6. TNA/MLA Transition  Nick Kingsley
  7. ALMA-the future  Chair
  8. National Library Week  Elaine Fulton
  9. Licensing-PRS,E-books,Hargreaves repot etc  Elaine Fulton
  10. Members Update
  11. AOB
  12. Date of next meeting

Highlights from ALMA-UK Meeting, 10 March 2011

March’s meeting of ALMA-UK was hosted by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) in London.

Members welcomed representatives from Arts Council England and The National Archives to discuss major changes in the year ahead for the strategic leadership of the museums, libraries and archives sector.

Main items on the agenda and issues under discussion:

Joint activity

Organisational Change



Information exchange


Joint Activity


Economic Impacts Project


Alison Turnbull, Museums Galleries Scotland, and Oliver Allies, ERS, updated the group on progress with Stages 1 and 2 of ALMA-UK’s Economic Impacts Project.

In September 2010, ALMA-UK commissioned ERS to scope and analyse economic impact methodologies for museums, libraries and archives, with the aim of demystifying economic impact calculation and supporting sector advocacy by providing organisations with an accessible tool to capture their data robustly, consistently and cost effectively.

This Stage 1 scoping report is now complete and will be published on members’ sites during April 2011.


During Stage 1, ERS carried out a desk review of over 60 impact studies from the UK and America, examining the relative merits and transferability of the various approaches. ALMA-UK members have now combined resources to commission a second stage of research, which will involve developing and piloting two toolkits, based on the report’s recommendations.

One toolkit will be created for museums and archives using the methodology of multiplier analysis. Development is being joint-funded by Museums Galleries Scotland, the Scottish Council on Archives, CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, the Northern Ireland Museums Council and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

A second toolkit, based on the Return on Investment methodology, will be developed for libraries. This toolkit is being jointly commissioned by the Scottish Library and Information Council and CyMAL and will add to other research work by both organisations on Social Return on Investment.

The two toolkits recognise the differences between museums, libraries and archives and their relative reliance upon the visitor economy. Both toolkits will be made freely available and will comprise an online calculator accompanied by written guidance.

Completion of the museums and archives toolkit is anticipated by April 2011. The libraries toolkit will require extensive user surveys to establish strong benchmarks and is expected to take 6 – 8 months to bring to launch.

To find out more about the museums and archives toolkit development contact ALMA-UK project lead Alison Turnbull.

To find out more about the libraries toolkit development contact ALMA-UK project lead Rhona Arthur.

ALMA-UK is actively collaborating with a number of other bodies to share its findings and complement economic impact research being carried out elsewhere in the UK cultural sector, including work by ACE West Midlands, DCMS, Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government. Read about some of these of other initiatives here:


Leadership Development



Helen Osborn, Libraries NI, updated the group on progress with ALMA-UK’s study on leadership development interventions.

A draft report had been presented at the November meeting of ALMA-UK, following which the project workgroup had met to discuss how to disseminate the findings to best effect. Work was underway to transfer key data from the report into a standardised template, to create a practical information resource capable of quick reference.

Members discussed the demise of the Cultural Leadership Programme and impending succession issues in local authority cultural services, noting the importance of promoting collective thinking between the sector’s strategic and professional bodies in providing solutions for future leadership development.

The results of ALMA-UK’s study will be shared with the Sector Skills Councils, the Archives and Records Association, CILIP and the Museums Association.



Performing Rights Societies (PRS) and Collection Societies


An Information Guide on public performance licences for music and film activities in public libraries, developed jointly by ALMA-UK’s library members, was published in November 2011 and distributed to heads of library services through the Society of Chief Librarians and the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC).

Members discussed the need to ensure that the information reached frontline staff and the importance of continuing efforts to raise sector awareness of the issues covered by the guidance.

The Information Guide is available to download from the SLIC and CyMAL websites.



E-book lending

ALMA-UK’s library members are continuing to collaborate with the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) to address new restrictions on e-book lending announced at the Publishers Association’s (PA) Conference in October 2010.

Members are committed to working together and to continuing communication with the PA to find a model of service delivery for e-lending in public libraries which provides mutual benefits for libraries, publishers and authors.

Read the joint position of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and SCL on E-books.


Organisational Change


MLA Transition


In December 2010, it was publicly announced that Arts Council England (ACE) would take over a number of functions relating to museums and libraries following the abolition of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) by 2011-12.

At the same time it was announced that ACE would not be taking on MLA’s strategic archive functions, with the exception of certain cultural property functions relevant to museums, libraries and archives such as export licensing, Government Indemnity, acceptance in lieu and security advice.

Members welcomed Anna Jobson, Head of Strategy for ACE, to provide an update on the transition plans and progress.

The transfer of MLA’s museums and libraries functions, including Renaissance, the Museum Accreditation and Designation Schemes, the Future Libraries Programme and London 2012 activity, was anticipated by October 2011.

Members offered ACE their full support in the change process, giving particular weight to preserving the successful UK-wide dimension of the Museum Accreditation Scheme.

Arrangements for the transfer of MLA’s archive functions were not yet finalised, however a ministerial announcement was imminent.

With the fragmentation of MLA’s responsibilities, members discussed the vital importance of continuing close dialogue across nations and domains and the value of ALMA-UK as a forum to facilitate regular knowledge exchange.

For more information about the transfer of MLA’s functions see the following reports:


MGS to become National Development Body


Joanne Orr, Museums Galleries Scotland, outlined changes ahead arising from the Scottish Government’s response in December 2010 to the publication of the Report and Recommendations of the Scottish Museums Think Tank.

MGS have been invited by the Scottish Government to become a new National Development Body and to help develop a national strategy for Scotland’s museums.

Preliminary details were to be presented to MGS members at the AGM on 18 March, with sector consultation on the strategy beginning in summer 2011 and on the National Development Body in the autumn.

MGS welcomed offers from CyMAL and the Northern Ireland Museums Council to share learning from the recent development of their national museum strategies.

Read more about MGS’s work towards a national strategy:

See here for the Museum Strategy for Wales 2010-2015 and the Northern Ireland Museums Policy.


Information Exchange


HLF Skills for the Future: MGS and NIMC workforce development initiatives

Jane Robinson, Museums Galleries Scotland, and Chris Bailey, Northern Ireland Museums Council presented a comparison of current workforce development initiatives, grant funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future programme.

NIMC’s Collections Skills Initiative NI will recruit 12 participants to undertake a one-year collections care-focused placement in a local or national museum. Participants will be supported to develop skills under the headings of caring for collections, collections management, and collections research and interpretation.

See MGQ, Scotland’s Museums and Galleries Quarterly, Issue 18, Winter 2010/11 and the MGS website for the latest news on its Skills for the Future Interns Programme.


Future Libraries Programme

Rachel Kerr, Policy Adviser for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) provided an update on the emerging benefits of the Future Libraries Programme (FLP), designed to support English local authorities find new ways of delivering effective library services in a challenging economic climate.

Learning from Phase 1 of the programme will be shared through a number of routes. A Community of Practice has been set up to facilitate the exchange of experiences and learning between the ten pilot authorities. Events have also been planned for March and April 2011.

MLA will prepare two reports, one for DCMS outlining the detail of the programme (for publication by the end of March) and another web-based report aimed at Elected Members and Directors (to be issued by the end of May).

Read more about the dissemination of FLP learning here:


Northern Ireland Museums Policy launch


The final draft of the Northern Ireland Museums Policy was presented to the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 17 February 2011. It is anticipated that the policy will be formally launched towards the end of March.

Read the Hansard minute of the presentation here.


Review of the value and impact of museums in Northern Ireland


In December 2010 the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee announced a review into the social and economic impact of museums in Northern Ireland.

Read an overview of the review and transcriptions of the oral evidence received here.


Northern Ireland Decade of Remembrance

2011-2022 gives rise to immense opportunities for civil society to mark some of the critical anniversaries which have impacted on concepts of British and Irish identity in Northern Ireland.

A one-day conference Remembering the Future on 21 March in Belfast, organised by the Community and Relations Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund in Northern Ireland, aims to kick-start a public debate on how the past is acknowledged and how pivotal events in the past can be turned into opportunities for learning, challenge and engagement.


Reopening of Public Record Office of Northern Ireland


PRONI’s new state-of-the art premises in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter opens to the public on 30 March 2011.


Next meeting


The next full meeting of ALMA-UK will be held on 8 July in Scotland.


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