The Committee welcomed Councillor Joy Goodall as Portfolio Holder, Neil Mason – Head of Community Leisure and Louise Troman - Heritage and Visitor Services Manager to the meeting.
The 2014 Internal Castle Review recommended a full review to take place considering staffing structure; income; Castle operation and marketing, this lead to the Tamworth Castle Service Review 2015 – 2017 report presented by Neil Mason.
The report outlines twelve business models for consideration with model 8 – Limited Public with Education & Weddings being highlighted as the model that would warrant further investigation. This model outlines limited opening to the general public allowing for services for weddings and education to be delivered. The staffing structure of this model would enable the team to focus on areas of responsibility and build on marketing and future business opportunities.
The full report was not available to members until 19th September, therefore, the Chair requested that Committee members take the report away from the meeting to fully read the report and submit questions through him over the following week. A working group will be set up to review the full Report once the answers to any questions have been received.
Initial questions were taken during the meeting covering the following points:-
· Is there a clear view of what is needed to market the Castle successfully?
Yes. There is a need to strengthen the increase of adult visitors and online marketing. Converting repeat visitors to online and not using incentives. There will be a clear steer on a new marketing approach.
· This year there has been a restriction to the number of visitors on Heritage Day, what is the reasoning behind this?
This is to ensure that there is a better customer experience, with not all local people coming on the free day. The increased number of staff required to prevent back to back queuing and to effectively manage shop sales is not cost effective without restricting visitors.
· An initial perusal of the Financial Information has raised points to be re-looked at around the following lines on the spreadsheet:-
35022 – Promotions and Marketing
34553 – Tourism – Product Development
30160 – Purchase stock retail
Collections Officer – should be on all models
Difference against current budget line is misleading
Costings are for 17/18, 3 years history for comparison
· Will the savings be re-used to the benefit of the Castle?
Yes. The ticketing system will be updated, currently in the process of investigating alternatives that would enable stock control; on-line sales; ticketing.
· Tamworth is full of history; we need to attract visitors on this front including the clay history and artefact Collections. Can this be incorporated into the Castle’s future?
There is currently a County review on Collections; we need to establish what objects there are in the store in Staffordshire and also within the Castle Lodge including archive documentation. This will be a separate review that will fully explore options that are available.
The Committee have offered to look at setting up a working group to assist with this review and Councillor Peaple has expressed his interest in speaking with Louise Troman to establish further information, feeding back to the Committee.
Thanks were extended to those attending the meeting and for the presentation of the Tamworth Castle Service Review report.