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A major reorganisation of Glasgow City Council's cultural and leisure services museums has been announced this week...
A major reorganisation of Glasgow City Council's cultural and leisure services museums has been announced this week as the council began negotiations with the staff. The changes proposed would include evening opening for three venues; a 100% increase in school visits; creation of new specialised posts and investment of£650,000 by Glasgow City Council.

The restructure was presented to staff at an unprecedented meeting of all museum employees on Tuesday when the city's museums were closed to the public for two hours.

While there are no plans to close any of Glasgow's seven main venues the restructure proposal includes fundamental changes to staffing, security and retail operations. The general theme is to provide better value for money to council taxpayers who partly fund Glasgow's museums, unlike Edinburgh where the national museums are entirely funded by the Scottish executive.

The blueprint for a new structure has been designed to allow an increase in staff by 21%, from 327 to 393, and this percentage increase will be far higher in priority areas identified in a recent best value review. Its recommendations included an increase in overall staff numbers and development of education and access, curatorial, conservation and public programming divisions.

The total number of staff dedicated to education and access will be increased from 8.5 to 53, enabling a 100% increase in school visits. Curatorial posts will be increased by 32%, from 25 to 33, and the number of conservators by 150% from 6 to 15. Each venue would have one senior officer responsible for overall management.

The service went through several reorganisations in the late 1990s, including formation of the new Glasgow City Council but officers have identified key areas that are understaffed and in need of additional resources. Terms and conditions that date from the 1950s and 1960s are part of the current staff structure and the council regards these as out of step with the industry average and poor value for money.

Bridget McConnell, director of cultural and leisure services said:

'The structure proposal, when finalised, would enable Glasgow Museums to deliver a much-improved service. In addition, Glasgow is bidding to the Scottish executive for additional revenue funding of£2.5m a year which would mean a further increase in staff to deliver a service appropriate to the national importance of Glasgow's art collections.

'This is the most thorough assessment of Glasgow Museums ever undertaken and sets out a sustainable vision for the foreseeable future. It would create an adaptable and well balanced museum service which delivers strongly on council objectives of including the whole community in our artistic and cultural life.'

According to Bridget McConnell, newly created posts of visitor assistant would have a more flexible role than current rigid job descriptions allow. They will also have a clearer career path than exists at present, with posts of learning assistant, outreach assistant, museum supervisor, museum officer and museum manager being available in the structure.

She added:

'The national importance of Glasgow's collection is recognised in this proposal, not just in the increase in the number of staff dedicated to its care, but in the creation of a separate section devoted to managing and promoting research based on the collection. Similarly, a new commitment to publishing books, databases and other resources for learning, is reflected in the proposed staffing structure.'

Consultation will now take place between management, museum staff and the trade unions to turn the restructure proposal into a format that is acceptable to everyone involved in the delivery of Glasgow's museum service.


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