Contractor could run Newport's Riverfront Theatre
Updated 9:28am Friday 13th June 2014 in Gwent news
NEWPORT council’s Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre could be outsourced under proposals set to be scrutinised by city councillors.
A scrutiny committee will next week look at setting out a review into a so-called new delivery model for the venue.
Options on the cards include outsourcing the theatre to one or more organisations, or running it in a management partnership.
Newport council is hoping to save £300,000 by March 2017 through the changes – a similar figure to how much the council subsidised the centre in the last financial year.
The Riverfront Theatre opened in October 2004.
“The key proposal to be reviewed is to move to [an] alternative delivery model for the Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre service in order to save £300,000," a report to scrutiny says.
“Options could include delivery by outsourcing to, or a management partnership with, one or more organisations.”
Councillors on the learning, caring, leisure and scrutiny committee could decide to investigate as a committee, or form a smaller group to look at the matter, when they meet on Wednesday.
According to the scrutiny report the Riverfront earned a surplus of £315,508 in 2013/14 but had costs of £626,261, meaning that without a council subsidy of £310,753 it would have made a loss.
Some 90,135 attendees used the Riverfront in 2013/14, and its estimated that a further 20,000 use the cafe.
The Arts Council of Wales' original £8.5 million grant for the venue required the council to provide and operate a theatre of contemporary arts and provide a professionally led educational resource.
Meanwhile the same scrutiny committee meeting is also set to look at holding a review of Newport’s library services.
Newport council has to provide a library service by law, but is also planning to cut £278,000 from its budget by "rationalising and modernising" its delivery of library services by 2017.
The council has already acknowledged that the changes would have an impact on the level of service and the number of staff employed.
A note from a senior council officer to the committee says that to meet the reduction a “new model of service delivery” will need to be implemented.
Although the committee will make recommendations, the final decision on both matters would not be up to them but senior councillors in the Labour-run cabinet.
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