Agenda and draft minutes

Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum Management Committee
Friday, 8th January, 2021 11.30 am

Venue: Vitual Meeting

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democratic.services@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum Management Committee

The Committee is asked to elect a Chairman until the end of the Municipal Year.

Minutes:

Professor Bartholomew was elected as chairman of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum Management Committee, until the first meeting of the next municipal year.

Voting: unanimous

2.

Election of Vice-Chairman of the Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum Management Committee

The Committee is asked to elect a Vice-Chairman until the end of the Municipal Year.

Minutes:

Mr J Grasby was elected as Vice-Chairman of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum Management Committee, until the first meeting of the next municipal year.

Voting: unanimous

3.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence from members of the Committee.

Minutes:

No apologies for absence had been received.

4.

Declarations of Interest

Members of the Committee are requested to declare any interests on items included in this agenda. Please refer to the workflow on the preceding page for guidance. Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of pecuniary interest were received on this occasion.

Councillor Williams confirmed that he was a member of the Arts Council SW, but this did not preclude him from taking part in the meeting.

5.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 312 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2020.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2020 were agreed as a true and accurate record for signing.

There were no matters arising from the minutes.

Voting: unanimous

6.

Public Items

To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution, which is available to view at the following link:

 

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeID=151&Info=1&bcr=1

 

The deadline for the submission of a public question is 4 clear working days before the meeting.

 

The deadline for the submission of a public statement is midday the working day before the meeting.

 

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 10 working days before the meeting.

 

Minutes:

There were no pubic items on this occasion.

7.

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum Update Report pdf icon PDF 672 KB

This report will provide an update on the activities of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum over the last year including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Operating restrictions have been applied since March 2020 which has had the inevitable negative impact on visitors, income and learning activities.

 

However despite the ongoing pandemic, the museum has reopened twice and attracted a high level of visitors compared to similar local attractions. The Pre-Raphaelite exhibition – Beyond the Brotherhood; The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy’ was delivered and then extended so visitors had access after the initial lockdown period.

 

The DCMS and ACE funded project for the redisplay of three historic rooms was nearly completed and has hugely improved the visitor experience in the first-floor rooms.

 

Work on the review of governance has continued with steady progress being made.

 

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum has been successful in attracting two major support grants from Arts Council England. £29,000 from the Coronavirus Emergency Fund has supported salaries and digital developments.  £226,000 from the Coronavirus Recovery Fund will support the loss of visitor income, investments in future financial sustainability (outdoor catering, signage and new till systems) and provides support for consultancy and professional services needed for the Governance Review.

Minutes:

The Museum Manager presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'A' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

The Committee were provided with an update on the activities of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum over the last year, including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  The following main points were discussed:

  • Due to Covid-19 restrictions the operating of the Gallery and Museum had been limited and emphasis of public interaction directed at online activities.  The Committee expressed their thanks and passed on to staff congratulations for what they had achieved during such trying times.
  • The Art Council’s accreditation process, which had previously been deferred, was still suspended but details regarding the new schedule should be announced during January 2021. The current accreditation status had been extended, so the Museum and Gallery remained accredited.  It was suggested that there may still be a minimum of a 12-month delay until the process would be re-started.  Any policies and plans that needed review by this Committee for accreditation would be included on the Agenda for the next two meetings.
  • Following a successful prosecution against those who had stolen lead from the exterior of the Russell-Cotes building, there was concern that long periods where the Museum was closed, could lead to further opportunistic vandalism.  Whilst there was a desire to secure the perimeter of the premises, the building’s Listed status limited what could be done.  However, this could be discussed with BCP Council, to investigate options. 
  • Whilst considering the exterior of the building, the matter of visitor access was discussed, particularly in relation to the exterior doors and visibility.  It was suggested that the main entrance should be more obvious, and that this should be considered as a part of future activity for presentation.
  • The Committee commended the work that had been done to digitalise aspects of the Museum and Gallery.  It was advised that there was a long-term ambition to extend the digital range, to compliment the visiting experience. It was hoped to add the museum shop online eventually. 

RESOLVED that the Management Committee accept the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum 12-month review report for the period November 2019 - November 2020 and agree the actions suggested in the report.

Voting: Unanimous

8.

Acquisitions, Loans and Disposal Report pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To note the new acquisitions to the collection  (the material owned and held in trust in accordance with its charitable objectives by the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum charity) and the loan of material to other institutions (ie public art galleries and museums) and to approve the disposal of items in the collection according to Museums Association Code of Ethics.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Museum Manager presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'B' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

The Committee was asked to note the new acquisitions to the collection  (the material owned and held in trust in accordance with its charitable objectives by the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum charity) and the loan of material to other institutions (ie public art galleries and museums) and to approve the disposal of items in the collection according to Museums Association Code of Ethics.

Disposal of the judge’s chair:

In response to questions it was explained that when accepting an acquisition, staff from the museum assess whether it meets the requirements stipulated within the Collections Policy which includes consideration of ongoing conservation costs.  It was explained that the Collections and Conservation Policies would be reviewed for the next Arts Council.  A conservation audit by a conservator, will be carried out, but this had been delayed due to Covid restrictions.  There was an ambition to have a realistic conservation strategy and plan in place.  It was confirmed that any money set aside for conservation would be a on a small scale, and the museum would need to commission a full-scale review as a part of the ongoing work. 

Members of the Committee were assured that the disposal process conformed with the accredited process and was at the top end of the approved practice.  Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum was going through a process of checking the social history items, which it had acquired as there was no other museum to in the area which could accept them. 

In response to a question regarding the loans policy, it was explained that there was a charging system. For domestic loans, it was only what was needed to cover costs but for international loans there was a bigger fee.  As the Gallery was also a borrower, there had to be a workable balance.  £20k earned from a loan of a Dante Gabriel Rossetti painting to Tokyo, enabled work to be completed in the galleries and the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition to be held. 

RESOLVED that:

The Management Committee notes:

a)    the acquisitions; and

b)    the loans

and approves:

c)    the disposals outlined in the Acquisitions, Loans and Disposals Report (attached in appendices 1 and 2).

Voting: unanimous

9.

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum Annual Accounts 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 162 KB

This report includes 2019/20 final accounts for the Russell-Cotes Museum and Gallery Trust. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Company Accountant presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'C' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

The Committee were asked to consider for recommendation to the Portfolio Holder, the 2019/20 final accounts for the Russell-Cotes Museum and Gallery Trust. 

It was noted that there was a change to how the accounts were presented regarding depreciation.  It was confirmed that this was not a cash movement, but an endowment reserve, not a donation.  The mechanics of the accounts had not changed at all.

It was asked what was the effect of the stated valuation of land and buildings, when they did not reflect building value. It was explained that there was no effect on the trading performance.  The value was an endowment reserve, on a balance sheet, it could not be spent, as the value was in the building. The land value was notional, as it could not be used for anything other than having the museum on it.  The valuation of the buildings was an insurance valuation.

The Committee was advised that Grant Thornton had prepared an audit findings report, which was not included with the Agenda but would be circulated.  A clean audit report had been issued and there had been no change in the findings.

It was asked if in future, these accounts could be considered earlier, as there was a deadline for submission.  It was explained that this set of accounts was being signed-off prior to the statutory deadline and earlier than normal.  It was suggested that there should be an ambition for the accounts to be signed off earlier and not so close to the statutory deadline.  It was agreed that an informal meeting be held to discuss further. 

It was questioned whether the architectural records were stored in a fire-proof area.  It was confirmed that work was scheduled to compile all of the Museum and Gallery records and that the requirement for such documentation had been noted.

RECOMMENDED that the Management Committee recommend that the 2019/20 annual accounts for Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum are approved by the Portfolio Holder.

Voting: Unanimous

10.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

In relation to the item of business appearing below, the Committee is asked to consider the following resolution: -

 

‘That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 in Part I of Schedule 12A of the Act and that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs such interest in disclosing the information.’

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that:- The Committee exclude the Press and Public for item 11 of the Agenda under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds of the likely disclosure of exempt information, as defined in Paragraphs 3 in Part I of Schedule 12A of the Act, as the public interest in withholding the information outweighs such interest in disclosing the information.

11.

Museum Governance - Progress Update

To receive an update on the above.

Minutes:

Exempt item by virtue of Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds of the likely disclosure of exempt information, as defined in Paragraphs 3 in Part I of Schedule 12A of the Act.

The Service Director presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'D' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

RESOLVED that the Committee noted the update.

Voting: Nem.Con