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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - 26 November 2014

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 27 November 2014


Mark Getty (in the Chair) 
Lance Batchelor
Gautam Dalal
Professor Dexter Dalwood
Lady Heseltine (items 1-3)
Professor Anya Hurlbert
Lord King of Lothbury
John Nelson (items 1-3)
Hannah Rothschild
Charles Sebag-Montefiore
Monisha Shah
John Singer
Caroline Thomson (items 1-10)


Sir Michael Hintze

In attendance

Dr Nicholas Penny - Director (not for item 3)
Kate Howe - Secretary to the Board and Legal Counsel
Dr Susan Foister - Director of Public Engagement and Deputy Director (not for items 1-3)
Dr Ashok Roy - Director of Collections (not for items 1-3)
Chris Walker - Director of Finance and Operations (not for items 1-3)
RoseMarie Loft - Head of Human Resources (item 6)
David Commins - Head of Change and VSS (item 6)
Larry Keith - Head of Conservation and Keeper (items 7, 8 and 14)
Caroline Campbell - Curator of Italian Paintings before 1500 and Interim Head of Curatorial (items 7 and 8)
Christopher Riopelle - Curator of post 1800 paintings (item 14)
Paul Ackroyd - Restorer (item 14)
Alex Hamilton-Bailey - Odgers Berndtson (item 3)
Sarah Lowndes Jones - Odgers Berndtson (item 3)

1. Declarations of interest

Professor Anya Hurlbert declared an interest in a possible confidential acquisition discussed under item 8.

2. Chair appointment process

The agreed process for selection of the next Chair was followed, and at the end of the process, the Board unanimously agreed to the appointment of Hannah Rothschild as next Chair of the National Gallery Board to serve from 10 August 2015, when Mark Getty’s term of office would come to an end.

3. Director appointment process

Caroline Thomson as Chair of the panel leading the search for the next Director reported on panel interviews conducted to date and it was agreed that decisions on whom to put through to final interviews with the full board would be taken once all panel interviews had taken place.

4. Minutes of 25 September and 6 November arising

The Board approved the Minutes of 25 September and 6 November subject to minor amendments and the Chairman was authorised to sign them as a true records of the respective meetings. 
There were no matters arising.  

5. Director's report, events and visitor numbers

The Director's report was noted.

6. Security update

The Board were reminded that in September, the Gallery had embarked on discussions with PCS, as requested by the union, the purpose of which discussions was to establish whether it would be possible for the Gallery to find an in-house solution to its need for guaranteed levels of service and flexibility in the areas of visitor facing and security services, without the necessity to tender for a partner to manage the provision of some of these services. The Board were updated on the status of discussions with PCS.

Copies of a letter from PCS to members of the Board were tabled at the meeting; the letter was discussed and it was agreed that a response should go from the Chairman.

A report was delivered by the Head of Change and VSS. He confirmed that if the Gallery went down the route of partnering to secure the required guaranteed levels of service, then from the moment of publishing the first notice, it would take eight months to procure a partner and a further three months for staff contracts to be transferred under the TUPE arrangements.

Information has been excluded under s31 and s 36 FOI 2000.

It was reported to the Board that the Head of Change and VSS was leaving the Gallery in December and management of the change programme would become the responsibility of the new Programme Manager.               

7. Loans out

There was tabled to the meeting an addendum to the loans paper. The Board approved the proposed loans from the collection.   

8. Possible acquisitions

Information has been excluded under 43 FOI 2000.

9. Exhibition report, 'Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice'

The Board noted the report on the Veronese exhibition.

10. Management accounts as at 31 October 2014

The Board noted the management accounts to 31 October. 

11. Medium term financial planning 

The Director of Finance and Operations presented the report on medium term financial planning. He emphasised the potentially extremely serious situation facing the Gallery given the reduction in grant in aid of 15% over the last 3 years, and the clear message from the Government that further cuts would follow. He reported that the Finance Committee had asked the Finance Department to model alternative financial projections based on possible future cuts of 5%, 7% and 10% pa. He alluded to the fact that some income generating initiatives were in hand and to the need for further urgent planning.

12. Minutes of Audit and Finance Committees of 4 November 2014

The Board noted the Minutes of the Audit and Finance Committees of 4 November 2014.

13. Reminder of Board dates to end 2015

The Board noted forward board dates to end 2015.

14. Any other business  (this item was taken at the start of the meeting immediately before item 1)

The Board saw in the boardroom, Portrait of Hermine Gallia by Gustav Klimt (NG6434) following completion of treatment and approved it as ready to go back on display.