$15k review into gallery operations gets thumbs up

Ken Crouch, general manager of Screen Works Northern Rivers, at the launch of Inside the Writers room at SCU.
Ken Crouch, general manager of Screen Works Northern Rivers, at the launch of Inside the Writers room at SCU. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

A $15,000 consultancy fee should help the Grafton Regional Gallery find the $100,000 about to be slashed from its budget in 2018/19.

Clarence Valley Council's environment planning and community committee has recommended a spend $15,000 to appoint North Coast Screenworks general manager Ken Crouch to conduct the review.

Cr Andrew Baker expressed concerns the brief for Mr Crouch could be distracted by the announcement of expansion plans for the gallery, but a proposed amendment lapsed for want of a seconder.

Councillors expressed confidence in Mr Crouch's experience and judgement to successfully implement the brief.

Mr Crouch, who worked for council and was largely responsible for the development of its Plunge Festival, has an impressive record heading up Screenworks over the past few years.

The report noted that since Mr Crouch became the GM for Screenworks its revenue has increased revenue by 200% despite significant government budget cuts.

In the proposal Mr Crouch will be assisted by Monica Davidson who is a business consultant who runs a consultancy company, Creative Plus Business.

Ms Davidson has worked with the NSW Small Business Commissioner as the NSW Creative Industries business adviser.

The proposal put forward has a delivery date of early 2018. The January delivery date then allows any outcomes of the business plan to be implemented prior to the new operational budget in 2018/19.

The council's brief for Mr Crouch includes liaising closely with Michael Rolfe at Museums and Galleries NSW who has also offered to provide support to undertake the service review and development of a new business plan.

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