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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - April 2009

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 2 April 2009


Mark Getty (Chairman)
Gautam Dalal
Professor David Ekserdjian
James Fenton
Lady Heseltine
Professor Dame Julia Higgins
Michael Hintze
Lord Kerr
Patricia Lankester
John Lessore
Hannah Rothschild
Caroline Thomson


Simon Burke
Lady Normanby

In attendance:

Dr Nicholas Penny (Director)
Martin Wyld (Director of Conservation)
Kate Howe (Secretary to the Board)
Dr Susan Foister (Director of Collections) for items 1 to 6
David Jaffé (Senior Curator) for items 1 to 6
Dawson Carr (Curator of Italian and Spanish 1600-1800) for item 1
Carol Plazotta (Myojin Curator of 16th Century Italian paintings) for item 1
Luke Syson (Curator of Italian Paintings 1460-1500) for item 1
Betsy Wieseman (Curator of Dutch paintings) for item 1
Larry Keith (Restorer) for item 1
Jane Ellis (Head of Finance) for items 6 to 10

The Chairman warmly welcomed Hannah Rothschild and Gautam Dalal to their first meeting of the Board.

Pictures for treatment

1. The Board saw in the course of treatment 'The Adoration of the Shepherds' by Rembrandt (NG 47) and 'The Virgin of the Rocks' by Leonardo da Vinci (NG1093).

The Board saw and approved the treatment proposed for 'The Virgin and Child in an Apse with Two Angels' after Robert Campin (NG2608). The Director of Collections said that this was a work which was not at present displayed on the main floor, but which, following conservation work, could from time to time be so displayed.

The Board also saw and approved the treatment proposed for 'The Holy Family (Il Silenzo)' Attributed to Marcello Venusti (after Micahelangelo) (NG1277). The Board also saw prior to treatment for information only 'The Angel appears to Hagar and Ishmael' by Guercino (L612).

Loans Out

2. The Board approved the proposed loans from the Collection. The Director said that, unusually, on this occasion no loans out of pre-eminent paintings were recommended.

Picture Movements

3. The Board noted the report on picture movements.

Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising

4. The Board approved the minutes of the meeting held on 29 January 2009. They were later signed by the Chairman.

The Director confirmed that the agreement relating to the Boundary between the collections of the Gallery and Tate had been signed, and a press release issued.

The Director confirmed that the memorial event for the late Sir Michael Levey would be held on 8 June and all Trustees would be invited.

Director’s report

5. The Director reported that the post of Exhibitions Curator had been offered and accepted.

He said that the Interim Director of Resources had left to take up another interim post. The Director was putting in place, where required, special reporting procedures for those who had previously reported to the Interim Director of Resources, pending the appointment of a new Director of Operations. The post of Director of Operations had been offered, although not yet formally accepted.

The post of Director of Education, Information and Access had also been offered. The Director thanked those Trustees who had assisted with the recruitment process for these posts.

The Director reported that the Picasso exhibition was proving even more successful than anticipated.

Professor Higgins commented on the important grant for scientific equipment received from the EPSRC.

Information has been excluded under s 41 and 43 and FOI 2000.

Exhibition report, Renaissance Faces

6. The Board congratulated all the Curators involved in the 'Renaissance Faces' exhibition. Lord Kerr said that, in the future, with proper planning, it should be possible to achieve higher levels of sponsorship for an exhibition of this type.

In answer to a question from the Board, the Head of Finance confirmed that, currently, the level of overhead attributed to all charging Sainsbury Wing exhibitions was put at £150k, a figure set about 2 years ago, which had been arrived at based on an estimate of curatorial, marketing and other staff time involved in putting on such exhibitions. Direct costs were separately computed.

Corporate plan

7. The Head of Finance confirmed that the budget at section 3 of the Corporate Plan was a balanced budget, containing an element of contingency, for unforeseen expenditure. Corporate income was expected to fall in the year 2009-10 as was admissions income, as a result of the switch from three annual paying exhibitions, to two paying and one free exhibition.

The inclusion of one free exhibition would however improve access. The Head of Finance said that these were, of course, figures for the forthcoming year only, and confirmed that at their June strategy weekend the Board would be invited to consider what the impact on the Gallery’s activities and programmes might be if there was a substantial fall in income (self-generated or otherwise) over the next few years.

It was agreed that any further comments on the draft Corporate Plan should be submitted to the Head of Finance following the meeting, prior to the plan being finalised by the end of April.

Quarterly management report

8. The Head of Finance confirmed that the quarterly management accounts to the end of December which were now before the Board had, when projected forward, showed a likely year end surplus, in part due to unfilled posts during the year.

The Gallery had therefore been able to respond positively to the urgent request from DCMS to all museums and galleries not to draw down grant-in-aid fully at the year end if this could be avoided.

It was clear however that, with senior posts now filled and important works to the building scheduled for the forthcoming year, grant-in-aid in 2009-10 would have to be fully drawn down, and the Board requested that DCMS be made aware of this.

Minutes of committees of the Board

9. The Minutes of the Trust Funds Investment Committee meeting on 20 January were noted. There was a discussion of names of those who might be invited to join the Committee, to bring its number back to three members.

Gallery risk management statements

10. The Board considered the draft Fraud and Information Risk Policies. It was confirmed that both policies, once approved, would be made available to staff on the Intranet.

In connection with the Fraud policy, and in response to a question from the Board, the Head of Finance confirmed that the staff handbook made staff aware of the right, if they suspected fraud , to by-pass their own line manager and report this to a more senior manager.

This was dealt with in the Gallery’s Whistleblowing Policy which staff were currently made aware of through the staff handbook. In relation to the Information Risk Policy, the Head of Finance confirmed that a programme of staff training would be put in place, and that it might be necessary to require selected staff to complete an online questionnaire, annually, confirming compliance with this policy.

The Director said that the role of SIRO (Senior Information Risk Owner) would, as the policy document confirmed, be one for the new Director of Operations, once appointed, but in the meantime, an interim arrangement would be made. The Board approved both policies. In connection with the protection of personal data, the Board suggested a change to the system of sending out brief biographies of invitees prior to dinners and private views.

Chair of Audit and Finance committees

11. The Board noted that the last meeting of the Audit and Finance Committees on 25 March 2009 had been chaired by Mervyn King, notwithstanding that his term of office as a Trustee had expired on the previous day.

The Board agreed to ratify his continued membership and chairmanship of the Audit and Finance Committees until close of business on 25 March, and to ratify the proceedings of the Committees on that day. The Board further agreed to appoint Gautam Dalal to be a member of the Audit and Finance Committees, to fill the vacancy arising following the retirement of Mervyn King, and to serve as Chair of those Committees.

Any other business

12. At the request of a member of the Board, it was agreed that a document summarising levels of corporate membership and benefits associated with corporate membership should be distributed to all Board members.

Copies of previous Board minutes can be obtained from the Libraries and Archive department.

Confidential and sensitive information has been excluded from these published minutes in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

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