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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - 13 July 2017

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 13 July 2017


Hannah Rothschild (in the Chair)   
Lance Batchelor 
Professor Dexter Dalwood
Katrin Henkel
Professor Anya Hurlbert
Sir John Kingman
Rosemary Leith 
Lord King of Lothbury 
David Marks
John Nelson 
Charles Sebag-Montefiore
John Singer


Lisa Milroy

In attendance

Dr Gabriele Finaldi - Director
Dr Susan Foister - Director of Public Engagement and Deputy Director (not for item 1)
Larry Keith - Head of Conservation, Keeper and Acting Director of Collections (not for item 1)   
Chris Walker - Director of Finance and Operations (not for item 1)
Kate Howe - Secretary to the Board and Legal Counsel (not for item 1)
Dr Caroline Campbell - The Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department (items 2, 9, and 10)
Christopher Riopelle - Curator of Post-1800 Paintings (item 2)
Dr Francesca Whitlum-Cooper - Associate Curator of Paintings 1600-1800 (item 2)
Jill Dunkerton - Restorer (item 2)
Steve Vandyke - Head of Buildings and Facilities (items 7 and 8)
Deborah Myers - Head of Development (items 9–12)
Louise Peckett - Head of Finance (items 9–12)

1. Closed session for Trustees and Director

The Trustees and Director met in closed session at the beginning of the meeting.

2. Pictures for treatment

2.1. The Board saw The Assassination of Saint Peter Martyr by Giovanni Bellini (NG812) in the course of treatment and were reminded that they had already seen this work several times in the course of treatment. The Board were informed that every stage in the process was being recorded in detail and that the treatment would ultimately be the subject of a Technical Bulletin report.

2.2 The Board approved the treatment proposed for Saint Michael triumphant over the Devil with Donor Antonio Juan by Bartolomé Bermejo (NG6553).

2.3 Information has been excluded under s 22 FOI 2000.

3. Declarations of interest

There were no declarations of interest.

4. Minutes of 24 May and matters arising

4.1. The Board approved the Minutes of 4 May subject to one minor addition and other minor changes and the Chair was authorised to sign them as a true record of the meeting.

5. Board away day actions

5.1. The Chair proposed that following the Board away-day a new sub-committee of the Board (the Master Planning Committee) should be formed to take forward the proposed Master Planning exercise; that the committee should be chaired by David Marks and that she and John Kingman should also be members. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000. The Board approved these proposals.

5.2–5.3. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000.

6. Director’s report

6.1. The Director presented his written report to the Board.

6.2. Information has been excluded under s22 FOI 2000.

6.3. The Director also reported on the successful recruitment of a new Curator of Special Projects, who would have responsibility for the Gallery’s contemporary art programme and other thematic projects.

6.4. The Director reported on the Gallery’s participation in Museum Week, a worldwide cultural event running for seven days, and supported by UNESCO.

6.5. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000.

6.6. The Director informed the Board of a proposed shop trial in Central Hall which would commence on 9 August; if successful, the Board would be invited to consider whether this should become a permanent arrangement.

6.7. There was a discussion of visitor numbers and the apparent impact of recent terror attacks which had resulted in a fall of about 17% in visitor numbers to many central London visitor attractions, although the Gallery had been slightly less badly affected than many others. There was also a discussion of the impact on school visits; the Director said that to compensate for the reduced number of school visits, the Gallery would be focussing more strongly on outreach projects and the Board would hear more about this from the Director of Public Engagement in her autumn report.

6.8. In relation to staff remuneration, the Director reported that the Gallery’s proposed pay remit had been approved by DCMS; staff would receive a 1% consolidated increase, and a further non-consolidated payment payable in tranches in August, November and March.

6.9. There was a discussion of the impact of the recent re-hang in the Wohl Galleries.

7. Information has been excluded under s 36 and s 43 FOI 2000.

8. East Wing accommodation hub (This item was taken before item 7)

8.1. The Director reminded the Board of the importance of this proposed project in terms of creating a more integrated workforce, improving staff working conditions and making best use of what was currently poorly used space within the Gallery. He emphasised that this project would be a key part of the Gallery’s future Masterplan.

8.2. The Head of Buildings and Facilities presented plans to the Board, highlighting that since the Board had last considered the proposal, the scheme had been extended to include the lower ground floor and archival facilities. He drew the attention of the Board to the current costs estimate, but it was noted that the scheme would be the subject of a full OJEU tender process, and the costs would ultimately depend on the outcome of that process. A full-time in-house project manager had been engaged to deal with the project alongside the professional team. It was noted that listed building consent and full planning permission had been applied for. Information has been excluded under s36 and s43 FOI 2000.

8.3. In response to a question from the Board, it was confirmed that there were no plans to move the Gallery’s scientific, conservation or library staff and studios into the new space, but that all other office based staff would be accommodated. It was confirmed that the new space would be partly open plan and partly not.

8.4. The Board endorsed the current proposals and agreed that the scheme should be put out to tender. David Marks advised that the more detailed the plans were at the point of going out to tender, the better. The Chair asked that David Marks should have a session with the Head of Buildings and Facilities, to interrogate the details of the scheme.

8.5. Information has been excluded under s22 FOI 2000.

9. Loans out

9.1. The Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department presented the loans out paper.

9.2. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000.

9.3. The Board approved all proposed loans out.

10. Proposed acquisitions and Loan to the Collection

10.1. The Board noted the update in relation to the proposed purchase of The Fortress of Königsten from the North by Bernado Bellotto, including the summary of funding already secured and proposals for the remaining funding for the purchase. The Board :-

  • 10.1.1. Endorsed and approved the proposed funding proposals and
  • 10.1.2. Subject to the securing of the funding on the basis proposed, approved the proposed purchase of the painting at the price proposed and authorised the Director to approve the form of any agreements or documents required to acquire the painting at that price, and to sign (and where necessary affix the Gallery seal to) all such documents on the Board’s behalf.

10.2. Information has been excluded under s22 FOI 2000.

10.3. Information has been excluded under s43 FOI 2000.

11. Annual Accounts, report from the Audit Committee and risk register

11.1. The Head of Finance presented the annual report and accounts and annual report of the Audit committee. She reported to the Board that the accounts had already been approved on the Board’s behalf by the Audit committee, had been signed by the Director and Chair of the Audit committee and had been laid in Parliament.

11.2. The Board noted the risk register and in response to a question from the Board concerning compliance with the GDPR regulations which would come into force in May 2018 (compliance with which was highlighted in the risk register as a topical risk) it was confirmed by the Deputy Director (in her capacity as Data Protection Officer) that a report would be brought to the September Board.

12. Finance and Development report to 31 May 2017

12.1. The Director of Finance and Operations presented the finance report to 31 May and highlighted that 2017-18 was proving  to be a challenging year financially for the reasons set out in the report; the finance department were embarking on a detailed re- forecasting exercise.

12.2. The Head of Development presented the development to 31 May, highlighting that income raised in the year to date was £1m higher than in the corresponding period in the previous year.

13. Exhibition report: Australia’s Impressionists

13.1. The Board noted the report.

14. Update on claim re Matisse’s Portrait of Greta Moll

14.1. The Secretary to the Board and Legal Counsel updated the Board in relation to the claim in respect of this painting.

15. Committees of the Board

15.1. The Board noted the Minutes of the meeting of the Finance Committee of 18 May.

15.2. The Board noted the Minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee of 18 May.

15.3. The Chair of the Development Committee reported on recent sponsorship secured for a number of exhibitions and projects.

15.4. The Chair reported that the Nominations Committee had decided, with the approval of DCMS, to delay making any recommendation about the skills to be sought when recruiting to fill the existing Board vacancy, pending a decision from the Tate Board as to who they would be appointing from their Board to sit on the Gallery Board, following the imminent retirement from the Board of Lisa Milroy.

15.5. The Chair of the Digital Advisory Group reported on the second meeting of that group.

15.6. The Board approved the appointment of Dexter Dalwood as an additional member of the Governance committee .

16. Any other business

16.1. Dexter Dalwood raised the question of whether the levels of vibration within the Gallery had been measured during the Formula 1 event in Trafalgar Square on 12 July. The Director of Collections confirmed that the impact of vibration within the Gallery was highly site specific, and that during this event, steps had been taken where necessary to remove items from display.

16.2. There being no other business, the Chair declared the meeting closed.