Warning over Cadw-NMW merger

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Museums Association fears threat to Wales museums independence

Museum bosses have criticised plans to merge parts of National Museum Wales and conservation body Cadw.

Museums Association chair David Fleming said the plans would threaten the independence of the museums sector in Wales and damage the arms length principle of keeping politicians away from detailed decision-making.

The warning follows moves by Welsh economy minister Ken Skates to cut costs

by combining the ‘commercial functions’ of the two organisations under a new umbrella body called Historic Wales.

Skates has set up a working party to look at ways of maximising revenue from the commercial operations of Wales' heritage bodies and organisations, including the National Library of Wales.

 

But in a letter to the Welsh assembly, Fleming said, "Any action that threatens the arms-length principle of governance of a national museum service will send out all the wrong messages about Welsh attitudes to democracy.

"I cannot stress enough the pivotal role that Wales' national museum service plays in the demonstration of Welsh nationality and the damage that could result from any diminution of that role."

Museum Association director Sharon Heal said the plans would severely undermine the "independence and financial sustainability" of the museum.

The working group is due to report in January 2017.

 

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