MORE details have emerged about the redundancies facing the team that runs the Bristol Harbour Festival.
Bristol City Council is looking to cut ten of the 20 posts as part of its four-year, £70 million cuts programme.
The job cuts will save £320,000 but raise questions about whether Harbour Festival – which attracts around 250,000 people a year – can continue in its current form.
Now an e-mail from a member council’s neighbourhood arts team has provided more information about some of the posts that will be going.
The e-mail, which has been sent to a number of arts organisations from one of the team members and which has been leaked to the Evening Post, admits the cuts will have a “significant” effect on the service they provide the city.
The following posts will be axed:
– The head of arts and culture, neighbourhood arts manager and the marketing and sponsorship manager.
– The 2.5 administration and production support roles will be cut.
– The festival production officers will be reduced from 2.5 full time equivalent posts officers to two.
– The neighbourhood arts officers will be reduced from three to 1.6 with a possible further reduction of 0.6 in 2012.
– The licensing team will be cut from two officers to 1.5.
The four staff members most immediately affected all had full-time jobs – a reduction of a fraction of a post does not only affect part-timers.
The e-mail says: “As you know the arts and culture team like most other council departments have undertaken a major restructure during the past year as a result of budget cuts.
“This new structure will take effect from the end of August.
“We will be losing some key posts from the team, as a result of this the service that we offer the city will be significantly affected and changed.
“The exact roles of the neighbourhood arts officers are yet to be determined but rest assured they will still be available for community arts advice, engagement projects, commissioning, support for artists with empty buildings through the capacity project and much of what you have come to expect albeit with a reduced capacity.
“Likewise the reduced capacity within the festival and events team will require a refocusing of the work but they too will still be available for much of the support that you have come to rely upon: such as advice and guidance regarding festival development, commissioning and partnership working.
“The Community Festival Fund is unaffected by these changes. “The team will be moving from city development to communications and marketing, as a result of this we are expecting to be able to maintain the high levels of arts and cultural communication with which you have been used to in recent years, in fact we are hoping that it further improves.
“So the information available on the web from the team will still be present, as will the newsletter, however there may be a delay in the next publication.
“All that remains to say for now is it has been great working with you all and we as a team are very proud of what has been achieved over the past few years.”
The job cuts are the latest blow to the Harbour Festival, which is being targeted for cuts by the council despite its popularity with Bristolians and tourists.
The problems began three years ago when headline sponsors EDF Energy pulled their involvement and the £100,000 they provided.
The event costs around £400,000 to run but only raises £240,000.
The council is carrying out an online survey asking how it can raise income from visitors and attract sponsors.
Spokesman Peter Holt said he was “very confident” the event would still go ahead next year.