Somerset Heritage Trust Project


Somerset County Council provides a Heritage Service for the county.  This includes archives, museums, the historic environment and local studies.

On 11 November 2013, the County Council agreed in principle to move the Heritage Service to a not-for-profit charitable trust during 2014.  The South West Heritage Trust came into being on 1 November 2014. 

Why become a charitable trust?

  • To create a more agile and financially stable organisation
  • To obtain funding from sources not open to local authorities
  • To ensure the county's heritage remains safe and accessible                   
  • To deliver better value
  • To preserve, protect and celebrate Somerset's rich heritage.
  • Background
    During 2012-2013 work was carried out to look at whether there were other ways in which the services provided by the Heritage Service could be provided.  An outline business case was agreed by Cabinet on 4 July 2012.  Following further work, a full business case was agreed by Cabinet on 20 March 2013.  It was agreed in principle that the Heritage Service would aim to move to a trust during 2014. 

    A public consultation on these proposals ran between 15 June and 10 August 2013.  A summary of online responses can be seen on the Somerset County Council's Somerset Heritage Trust Consultation page.

    A final decision about whether to move into a trust was taken by Cabinet on 11 November 2013, after a meeting of the Scrutiny Committee on 5 November.   The papers that were submitted to the Scrutiny Committee and the Cabinet are:
    Proposed Creation of a Heritage Trust  (pdf)
    Final Gateway Report on the Heritage Trust  (pdf)


    Update following the Cabinet Decision, 20 March 20133  (pdf)
    Paper agreed by Cabinet, 20 March 2013 (pdf)
    Full Business Case, presented to Cabinet 20 March 2013 (pdf)
    Outline Business Case, presented to Cabinet 4 July 2012 (pdf)
    Appendix A (pdf)
    Appendix B (pdf)
    Appendix C (pdf)