7.1 Cultural infrastructure: tendencies & strategies
In recent years, the outsourcing of public services has spread to the direction and management of cultural organisations. Thus, the management of both new cultural services and existing services that had been under direct governmental control have now been passed into the hands of external companies or groups. This gradual process is part of a wider trend towards the delegation of public management of a variety of services to external organisations.
In the specific area of culture, the process began with the creation of public contractors (public culture foundations or committees, as well as specialised public companies) to accelerate management processes and provide greater flexibility in subcontracting and management of income. At the same time, many secondary services with little cultural impact were outsourced (catering, security, cleaning and even the marketing of goods or services). As a result of the limits placed on staff costs, the interest in obtaining specialised services at competitive rates, or the erosion of internal structures linking public ownership and public management, more and more services forming part of the cultural administration have been outsourced. During the first phase of this process, publicly owned cultural organisations subcontracted secondary services with a high degree of cultural content to external providers (almost all museums and exhibition centres now have external educational and monitoring services). This was followed by the definitive transfer of all management tasks. The process now extends as far as community centres, municipal arts centres, galleries and exhibition halls, archaeological sites, concert halls, theatres and even museums (Bonet, 2008).