13th Dec, 2019

Under-fire council chiefs say Archive and Archaeology Service will be 'high-quality'

Rob George 3rd Mar, 2019

UNDER-fire county council chiefs have vowed Worcestershire’s Archive and Archaeology Service will continue to deliver a ‘high-quality’ service despite slashing £155,000 from its budget.

Conservative chiefs made the decision to axe the six figure sum from it’s budget at a meeting on February 14 as part of a shopping list of savings which the authority needs to make to fund the increase in demand for social care.

Earlier plans to slash from £405,000 or 54 per cent of the service’s budget were scrapped following consultation with residents but the £250,000 cut was still attacked by Labour councillors and members of the 2017 Group coalition of Liberal Democrat and Green Party members.

A motion to delay the cutbacks for 12 months to give the service more time to find savings and look at alternative ways of running the service was thrown out by Conservative councillors despite pleas from opposition parties.

Because of the reduction in savings, county chiefs now say the service is likely to retain its Archive Service Accreditation being awarded later this year and opening hours will remain unchanged.

Coun Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for Communities, said: “We want people to realise that going forward the archives service will be remaining largely the same as it is now.

“It won’t be closing or having its opening hours reduced. Hours will stay as they are now and we’ll continue to take in new archive material.

“We do however need to look at ways of generating income within the service so it offers the best value for money for our residents and the County Council. We’ll continue to work with our partners to look at ways of increasing income generation.

“We’ve had to make difficult decisions in light of the growing financial strain on all councils.

“So as a Council we’ll continue to lobby the Government about funding for Adult Social Care because if there was more money to invest into that area, we wouldn’t have to be making savings elsewhere such as from the archives service.”

Worcestershire’s Archives and Archaeology Service was amongst the first in the UK to receive Archive Service Accreditation in 2013. The title is a UK quality standard which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery.

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