Agenda item

Governance Review Update

To note the progress on the development of the business case to date and agree to meet to review and approve the business case,  when it is finalised, for submission to Cabinet with an update of the Governance Review.


The Museum Manager presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to the Committee and a copy of which appears as Appendix D to these minutes in the Minute Book. The report set out the background to the governance review and outlined progress to date in preparing a full business case for the Russell Cotes to move to full independent trust status, to be agreed and presented to Cabinet later in the year.


The Museum Manager explained that work had only been able to be progressed in the last few months partly due to local government reorganisation. Section 2 of the report provided a summary of the key principles emerging from the work undertaken by the internal Project Board and museum staff with support from external consultants. These principles related to governance, the business plan, building maintenance, staff, pensions, VAT and the Council. The table in Appendix 1 of the report provided a more detailed update on specific issues.


The Committee was advised that the charitable vehicle being considered was a Foundation Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). There were a number of areas still to be addressed before recommending this option, including the question of its ineligibility for loans, accreditation requirements, trustee numbers and committee membership. In the context of membership Victoria de Wit advised that changes to deeds should be avoided where possible as this ensured a smoother transition.


Victoria de Wit reported that she was looking at exemplars of Transfer of Asset documents in respect of the building and the collection. The Committee discussed the role and obligations of BCP Council in the proposed CIO, particularly in relation to conservation issues and building maintenance. The Director of Destination and Culture (BCP Council) reported that the Council was keen to progress from the current management arrangements and wanted all assets (building and collection) to remain as one. Victoria de Wit explained that it was difficult to find a direct comparison as most of the models she was researching had transferred from a position of direct local authority control rather than the Council as trustee.


The Committee agreed that further information was required in relation to the implications of a CIO before it could be recommended as the best option. The Committee felt that independent legal advice and an independent survey of the building’s condition should be provided. Victoria de Wit reported that fast track funding may be available for the building survey from the resilience strand of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Subject to costs the Arts Council may provide funding for legal advice. The Director of Destination and Culture  agreed to take forward these requests on behalf of the Committee. It was suggested that the Committee consider arranging an informal meeting to provide further input into the development of the business case before it was finalised. Members of the Committee were invited to contact the Director with any additional issues to be explored.


The Committee was assured that in case of financial failure the assets would be returned to the Council in trust.




  1. Progress on the development of the business case to date be noted.
  2. An informal meeting of the Committee be arranged to enable further input into the development of the business case.
  3. The Committee meets to review and approve the business case when it is finalised for submission to Cabinet.


Voting - Unanimous


Supporting documents: