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Unlocking the Potential Project

Consultant Brief Impact Study

Arts Council Museum Resilience Funding 2015

In 2015 Museums of Cheshire successfully bid for an ACE Resilience grant to support the group to further unlock the potential of MoC to create a more resilient and sustainable sub-regional organisation.

The project represents a step change for the group in terms of the amount of funding sought and the proposed activities. At its core is the belief that the potential for excellence can be found in museums of all types and sizes which is demonstrated by the MoC group.

The Unlocking the Potential project will focus on three key areas:

1. Strengthening the organisation through delivery of an organisational skills audit, and production of a training and development plan.

2. Sharing our stories through development of shared themes and narratives and subsequent joint initiatives and projects.

3. Measuring our impact through delivery of baseline research into the combined social and economic impact of the Museums of Cheshire member organisations, and identifying ways we can enhance these impacts through partnership working.

In order to achieve these aims the project includes a number of development activities including (development activities included within this brief are in bold):

Appointment of a Project Manager to oversee delivery and completion of the grant funded activity

Organisational skills audit, and production of a training and development plan

Baseline research to establish the economic and social impacts of Cheshires museums

Stakeholder analysis and work to develop a better understanding of the current policy landscape across the region

A new website for Museums of Cheshire

A narrative study which identifies themes and stories which are significant across our venues and can be the inspiration for new partnership working

Delivery of a conference for members and museum professionals across the wider region.

Impact Study and Policy Review Outline of Requirements

MoC are now looking for a consultant to carry out research which will inform our future direction and joint activity. We require a freelance consultant or consultancy team to:

Carry out stakeholder analysis via desk research and interviews which helps us to understand the strategic priorities of our current and potential partners, particularly local authorities, health and housing sectors, Local Enterprise Partnership, HEIs and other learning partners.

Pull together available data to help us understand the current landscape in terms of tourism and the local visitor economy; local audience demographics; current trends in the visitor economy.

Develop a baseline set of quantitative data which demonstrates the scale and impact of museums within our network in terms of income generation, employment, volunteering, skills development, contribution to the visitor economy - this could make use of Association of Independent Museums (AIM) Economic Impact Toolkit for estimating their impact on the local economy.

Produce content based on this baseline research (key statistics and facts) which can be used to advocate for the Cheshire museum sector and is adaptable to a variety of formats (on our website, press releases, brochures etc) for a target audience of local councillors and council officers; MPs; health commissioners; higher education organisations; housing and regeneration managers and the specialist press.

Make a set of recommendations for Museums of Cheshire which focus on what the network can do as a partnership to help members face the challenge of reduced public sector funding availability - build their resilience, become more innovative, develop new partnerships and attract more visitors.

We would also like the consultant to attend and contribute to the Museums of Cheshire conference, which will be scheduled as a one day event in late February 2016.


We would like consultants to suggest a methodology for this piece of work, bearing in mind the following:

You will be able to work closely with the MOC project manager, who has recently visited all of the venues and carried out an interview with a senior member of staff. Relevant information about each venue will be made available, including a comprehensive spreadsheet of website and contact information for each MOC partner organisation.

The MOC project manager will support the process of gathering data from each venue as appropriate - we do not expect the consultant to visit each venue, although of course we would recommend that you visit some!

We hold well-attended regular network meetings which could provide an opportunity for the consultant to test and develop recommendations with members.

Budget and Timescales

The available budget is 8000 to include VAT and travel and subsistence expenses.

The final report must be delivered by the end of January 2016, as it will inform the content of our conference which is scheduled for late February 2016.

Submitting a proposal

Consultants are invited to apply by submitting a proposal that demonstrates:

Your approach and process/method to work with the steering group and MoC members.

Range and depth of relevant experience in delivering this type of project including working with a number of stakeholders.

Schedule indicating proposed timetable, breakdown of your time for activities and an indication of your daily rate.

Please provide the name of 2 referees who have experience of working with you on similar projects.

Reporting Relationships

The budget is managed by Culture Warrington. For day to day issues you will report directly to the MOC Unlocking the Potential project manager, Kate Rodenhurst. In addition you will liaise with, and give progress updates, to the MoC steering group consisting of: Janice Hayes (Collections, Heritage and Archives Manager at Culture Warrington), Kath Lynch (Heritage Manager at Port Sunlight Museum), Sue Hughes (Director of Silk Museums Trust) and Frank Hargrave (Director of Norton Priory Museum).


The project is due to begin as soon as possible with final report to be delivered by the end of January 2016. The MoC conference will be scheduled some time in late February.

Deadline for submissions is 5pm on 21st September

If necessary, interviews will be held on 29th September, in Port Sunlight

Please send submissions by email to

Contact: For any further details please contact Kate Rodenhurst, Project Manager for Museums of Cheshire on 0151 724 1608 / 07956 352 779 or email

Assessment criteria for our selection

Selection criteria



Quality of application, clarity of approach/ process


Value for Money/Outcomes



Extent to which consultant(s) demonstrate understanding and particular requirements of this brief and project



Clear and robust process/ method which works with MoC to engage members and delivers outcomes



Excellent communication skills: both internally and externally


Range and depth of relevant experience, including working with similar groups and working with other consultants



Background: Museums of Cheshire

Museums of Cheshire (MoC), until 2013 known as Cheshire Museums Forum, is a group formed over 25 years ago. Members of MoC are Accredited museums (as administered by Arts Council England) or museums that are recognised as working towards Accreditation. It is a voluntary group, though until local government re-organisation in 2008 it had the support of the County Museums Officer as its Secretary. The group was formed to support and promote museums within Cheshire as it was defined before the local government boundary changes of 1974, 1998 and 2009. Today this is represented by museums within the local authority boundaries of:

Cheshire East

Cheshire West and Chester




The collections of each museum are unique and offer an individual experience for its visitors and communities. Together they tell the rich and diverse story of the people and events of the area. The full list of current MOC venues is as follows:

Managing Organisation


Culture Warrington

Warrington Museum

Port Sunlight Village Trust

Port Sunlight Museum

Macclesfield Silk Museums Trust

Macclesfield Silk Museum

Paradise Mill

The Old Sunday School

West Park Museum

Wirral Borough Council

Williamson Art Gallery

Birkenhead Priory

Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum

Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum

West Cheshire Museums

Grosvenor Museum

Lion Salt Works

Stretton Watermill

Weaver Hall

Museum of Policing in Cheshire

Museum of Policing in Cheshire

Congleton Museum Trust

Congleton Museum

Nantwich Museum

Nantwich Museum

Norton Priory Museum Charitable Trust

Norton Priory Museum and Gardens

Cheshire East Council/National Trust

Tatton Park

Anson Museum Trust

Anson Engine Museum

Cheshire Military Museum Trust

Cheshire Military Museum

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre and Museum Trust

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre

Canal and Rivers Trust

National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port

Museums of Cheshire Purpose and Aims