Examination of Witnesses (Questions 140
MONDAY 19 MARCH 2001
YOUNG, KCB AND
140. Why is that? Is it not something that you
have ever considered?
(Dr Borg) It is not something that we have considered
141. I asked you about the social class origins
of your audience and you were delightfully vague about much of
that and now it turns out that you do not measure the extent to
which working class children come to your Museum on school trips.
If you want to encourage people from right across the social spectrum
you ought to be making an extra effort to encourage those who
are least likely to come to your Museum in adulthood? Do you accept
that as being fair?
(Dr Borg) Again, I would say that the work we do with
minority community schools in again particularly the London area
is one of the most important aspects of our educational
142. Minority community schools. Does that mean
Sikhs? Is that Asians? I am speaking about social class.
(Dr Borg) Asians, Chinese, all minority groups in
the London area.
143. I am not talking about minority groups,
I am talking about social classworking class and poor children.
It seems fairly clear to me that you do not make much effort.
Is this something you will consider in future?
(Dr Borg) We certainly already do consider it and
we will try and do more in that area.
144. Could I ask one final point and it is addressed
to Mr Young. I was slightly surprised to hear the Director indicating
that he did not "feel pressure from the Government to increase
numbers". That is not my understanding of what our policy
is. Can you clarify.
(Mr Young) I thought I heard him say he did not feel
pressured to massage figures.
At least that is how I heard it, otherwise I would have been as
unhappy as you. He does, I know, feel pressure to increase numbers
but not to massage them.
145. I think we both heard the same thing because
our eyes met across a crowded room when I looked to see what your
reaction was and I could see you looking up in surprise. You think
it is a misunderstanding?
(Mr Young) I am fairly certain the question was was
there pressure to massage numbers and Alan Borg rightly said no.
There certainly is pressure to increase numbers, not by massaging
them but by bringing more visitors in.
146. He has been singularly ineffective in increasing
(Mr Young) For which there are reasons and he got
a full 13 per cent increase this year and we will be urging the
Museum in discussion with them to do better in the following two
Chairman: Mr David Rendel?
Mr Rendel: I hope we will not have hundreds
of thousands of auditors in massaging numbers; it might be unfortunate.
Chairman: The C&AG has great ambitions!
147. Can I start off, Dr Borg, by making a suggestion
to you. You seem to want the museum to be more modern, up-to-date,
starry, pop starry even, and yet to hold onto the concept of the
V&A. Perhaps you could call your museum "The Museum Formally
Known as the V&A". That would give you both aspects perhaps.
You might like to think about that later. More seriously you said,
I think, that 50 per cent of your visitors pay.
(Dr Borg) Around that, yes.
148. I did a quick calculation on that one.
Your fee is about £5it varies between museumsso
50 per cent paying would give you an average payment of £2.50
per visitor. At 1.27 visitors that should have given you nearly
£3 million of income; you got £1.8 million. Where has
the extra million gone? I am talking about the year 1999-2000.
(Dr Borg) I do not have those figures immediately
before me but again we can give you the breakdown.
149. On Page 11 in Table 2 admission charges
appear to have brought in £1.8 million. You have got the
charges in Table 3 below, roughly £5 or £4.50, some
of them free, but you said on average half of them paid.
(Dr Borg) By no means are all £5, there are concessions.
I can certainly let you have the breakdown of those figures but
I do not have them in my head.
150. I think we should have that because it
seems like a large missing sum between £1.8 and £3 million.
Can we ask for that, Chairman.
The second thing, you said in answer to one of my colleagues that
it was only identifiable schools and education groups of that
sort not the informal educational groups that counted as educational.
Paragraph 2.19 says that there was a change made in 1999-2000
to include other groups but this had not been in the target and
it was the only reason the target was exceeded that year. I do
not quite understand your answer to the other question. You said
it was only identifiable groups and yet there is the comment that
appears on Page 22.
(Dr Borg) The other groups that were
included were not just school groups, they were adult education
groups and so on. There are two sorts of groups that are not included,
the sort of groups I have just mentioned, and also ones we simply
do not know about. Quite a lot of groups would come to the Museum
without telling us that they were coming. If we do not know they
are coming and they are not seen when they are there, they cannot
151. You are saying that those included in formal
education which you are identifying as educational do now include
the adult education as well?
(Dr Borg) They now include everyone who comes in a
group that is booked with the education department.
152. And do you accept then, as the Report appears
to say, that the target for 1999-2000 in terms of educational
groups excluded those from the new lot that you included that
(Dr Borg) That was simply a misunderstanding of what
the Department required.
153. And what are you now working on this year?
(Dr Borg) We are now working on groups that are booked
through the education department.
154. That is what the target shows?
(Dr Borg) Yes.
155. The questions that Mr Davidson asked just
now about whether we were talking about visits or visitor numbers
were very interesting. I was going to ask some similar questions
but there are still some interesting issues that arise there.
You said 50 per cent were repeat visitors. Does that mean that
of the 1.27 million visits half of those were first-time visits
and half of them were second-time visits or beyond?
(Dr Borg) Yes.
156. So we have, roughly speaking, 600,000 people
who came just once in that year and 630,000 who were either first,
second, third, fourth or indeed 50th visits if they came once
(Dr Borg) Yes.
157. Of the educational visits how many schools
come once a year from educational establishments?
(Dr Borg) We have a number of schools that come regularly.
We do not have that figure with us, I am afraid.
158. Roughly half your visitors are overseas
(Dr Borg) Yes.
159. How many of them come more than once?
(Dr Borg) The great majority only come once because
they are tourists and only make a single visit.
9 Note by Witness: See Q20, p.4. Back
Note: See Evidence, Appendix 1, page 16 (PAC 00-01/127). Back