Collection conflict

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A leaky roof is nothing to smile about Jane Richardson

Accusations of a conflict of interest have arisen amid a disturbing row over information that the National Museum in Cardiff may have to close because of its deteriorating condition.

The museum’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jane Richardson has declared that the building (which houses “extraordinarily special objects”) has a leaky roof and would have to shut without further funding.

However the Welsh Government (WG) has insisted that it is making “extremely difficult decisions” due to its own budget being £700 million less in real terms than it was in 2021.

Why wasn’t Heledd Fychan’s background mentioned?!

But there was also a clear suggestion from The Cabinet Secretary For Culture And Social Justice Lesley Griffiths that further funding would be made available.

Responding to a question in the Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru (WP/SC) from Plaid Cymru’s Heledd Fychan, she said that work had already started to look at “specific funding over the next few years”.

Ms Fychan welcomed the response and hoped there was now a “willingness to find solutions”.

“None of us want to see National Museum Cardiff, the headquarters of our iconic National Museums have to close its doors because it is not safe for visitors, staff and our national collections”, she added.

Yet these comments may be seen in a different light in the context about knowledge of Ms Fychan’s background.

In her previous declaration of interest from 2018 it is revealed that she was Head of Policy and Public Affairs for the… National Museum of Wales.

Yet this does not appear in Ms Fychan’s register of interests at the WP/SC because only PRESENT ones are included (although it could be argued that past interests are just as relevant).

Nowhere in the BBC report was this fact mentioned either, and it may have been of concern to those who heard or read about it.

Ms Fychan was also at one point the right hand woman of the museum’s controversial Director General at the time, David Anderson.

It’s not mentioned in the Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru register

Major questions have been raised over payments to Mr Anderson which totalled £325,000.

In the payment to him was a salary of £225,000, including Pension and National Insurance (NI), and £50,000 tax free, described as compensation for injury to his feelings”.

David Anderson.got a LOT of money

But in his report to the WP/SC, Auditor General for Wales Adrian Crompton asked if the trustees had made “sound and informed decisions” in the museum’s best interests and whether the payments “conformed with the framework of authorities governing them”.

The audience of a BBC report about the museum may have asked why some of this money could not have been used instead to repair the leaky roof, or why the background to the woman who stressed that the building was so important did not appear…

 

‘BUY MY BOOK!’

The memories of our Editor, Welshman Phil Parry’s, extraordinary decades long award-winning career in journalism (when the interesting background of individuals was always examined) as he was gripped by the rare neurological disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A Good Story’. Order it now.

Another book, though, has not been published because it was to have included names.