LEADING councillors at Chichester District Council are exploring the option of commissioning a charitable trust to manage The Novium Museum.

The decision follows a piece of work carried out to look at future opportunities and would enable the district museum to continue.

The museum has recently become free to enter and visitor numbers and its income have increased, however the option of a charitable trust could attract grants.

Gillian Keegan, member for commercial services at Chichester District Council, said: “In the current economic climate we have to look at ways of reducing costs and providing services more efficiently.

The museum and tourist information centre are constantly doing this, and have made huge strides by introducing weddings at The Guildhall, and increasing visitor numbers through exhibitions and activities.

“Visitor numbers in December, compared with the same month a year earlier have doubled. This is great news and the museum team is doing a great job.

Councillor Keegan said: “What we need to do, is to look for the most efficient way of continuing this good work. We are doing this because it is important we are always assessing what we are doing and how we are doing, just like any other business does.

“We have already looked into the benefits of a trust running the museum on our behalf. This option would enable the museum to access and attract grants and funding the council cannot.

“At the moment, we feel that this is the best option.

“Trusts are able to operate differently to the council, which leads to savings and economies of scale.

“Some organisations operate numerous sites, and so they are able to share their systems, technology, marketing and buying power.

“Plus, a trust may have charitable status, which has certain tax saving advantages.

“This opportunity has the potential to give our museum the chance to build on its current success and expand on it.”

After a procurement exercise a report will be taken to a cabinet meeting before a final decision is made.