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Minutes of the Board of Trustees – July 2012

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 19 July 2012


Mark Getty, Chairman
Gautam Dalal
Dexter Dalwood
Professor David Ekserdjian
Lady Heseltine
Professor Anya Hurlbert
John Nelson
Hannah Rothschild
Charles Sebag-Montefiore
John Singer


Lance Batchelor
Michael Hintze
Patricia Lankester
Caroline Thomson

In attendance

Dr Nicholas Penny (Director) save for part of item 6
Dr Susan Foister (Deputy Director) save for item 6
Kate Howe (Secretary to the Board)     
David Jaffe (Senior Curator) items 1 and 2
Larry Keith (Director of Conservation) items 1 and 2
Greg Perry (Director of Administration and Operations) item 8
Jane Ellis (Head of Finance) items 9–13
Sarah Ward (Director of Public Affairs and Development) item 12

The Chairman welcomed Charles Sebag-Montefiore and John Singer to their first meeting of the Board.

Declarations of interest

1. Anya Hurlbert declared an interest in loans recommended to the Laing Art Gallery under agenda item 2 and took no part in the discussion of these proposed loans or the decision arising.

Loans out

2. The Board approved all proposed loans from the collection.

There was a discussion of proposed loans to the Laing Art Gallery for an exhibition planned for 2013; it was noted that the exhibition was one which was being curated by an Art Fund sponsored curatorial trainee who had spent 6 months at the Gallery; and the Gallery had been involved, with the Art Fund, in selecting the project for which the sponsorship had been awarded.

There was a discussion of loans of the Gallery’s most iconic and popular paintings. The Board noted that there was a presumption against lending these paintings too often and asked whether it would be possible to be given more information about the number of such loans which would be out at any given time, trends in such loans and the particular reasons why such loans had been agreed. It was agreed that consideration would be given to the best way of providing the Board with this information.

There was also a discussion about how travel arrangements were managed in the case of multiple loans to a single venue. It was confirmed that, in any such case, careful consideration was always given to the desirability of split shipments.

Minutes of 17 May and matters arising

3. The Minutes were approved subject to one minor amendment and the Chairman was authorised to sign them as a true record of the meeting.

Information has been excluded under s 22 FOI 2000.

Director's report, events and visitor numbers

4. The Board noted the Director’s report.

The Director informed the Board of the loan to the permanent collection of Picasso’s Portrait of Bibi la Purée (L1142).

He also informed the Board of an appeal to the Information Commissioner made in relation to an earlier request for information under the Freedom of Information Act and Data Protection Act.

The Director reported on proposed strike action by the PCS union on four dates in July and August and said that the Gallery had been notified that, on each of these dates, staff would take action for a two hour period. He said that this might result in room closures.

Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000.

Follow up to Board strategy weekend

5. The Board agreed that there should be further discussion at their November meeting of the Gallery objectives which the Communications Strategy would be designed to support, with a view to bringing the full strategy back to the Board for approval by summer 2013. They also agreed that a revised Acquisition Strategy should be brought to the Board for approval in November 2012.

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

Director’s performance review

6. The Chairman reported to the Board, in the absence of the Director, that he had discussed with the Director and the Remuneration Committee the performance of the Director against agreed objectives in the year 2011-2012. The Board discussed this. It was agreed that consideration of any pay award should be deferred until after approval of any pay award for the rest of the Gallery’s staff.

The Board discussed with the Director proposed objectives for the year 2012-13, which were agreed, subject to one proposed modification, and one proposed additional objective.

Exhibition report – Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude

7. The Deputy Director presented the exhibition report to the Board and reminded them that this had been a very successful collaboration with Tate Britain. She said that one aim had been to put on a relatively administratively undemanding and low risk exhibition between the far more complicated Leonardo exhibition and the current Metamorphosis exhibition. 

8. Information has been excluded under s 31 FOI 2000.

Annual Accounts and Annual Report of the Audit Committee

9. The Head of Finance presented to the Board, for information, the Annual Accounts and Annual Report of the Audit Committee. She confirmed that the Annual Accounts had already been approved by the Audit Committee, under their delegated authority, and had been laid before Parliament. She drew to the attention of the Board the inclusion of a Governance Statement, which had not been included in previous sets of accounts. She also drew attention to the reduction in the Gallery’s investments arising from the purchase of Titian’s Diana and Callisto. She confirmed in answer to a question from the Board that the National Audit office had produced an audit completion report which had been considered by the Audit Committee.

The Head of Finance reminded the Board that the Annual Report of the Audit Committee was one of the important means by which the Audit Committee provided assurance to the Board in relation to the matters delegated to it.

Minutes of the Audit and Finance committees of 28 June

10. The Chair of the Audit and Finance committees presented the minutes of the meetings on 28 June to the Board.

The Board approved the appointment of John Singer as an additional member of both committees, with immediate effect.

Proposed revised terms of reference of the Finance Committee

11. The Head of Finance presented proposed revised terms of reference for the Finance Committee, and reminded the Board that changes had been made to take account of the dissolution of the Board’s Investment Committee, and transfer of its responsibilities to the Finance Committee. The Board approved the revised terms of reference of the Finance Committee.

Ethical Fundraising policy

12. The Director of Public Affairs and Development presented the proposed revised Ethical Fundraising policy to the Board. She outlined for the Board the process which had been adopted in reviewing the policy, and in particular the wide consultation which had been undertaken both within and outside the Gallery; she outlined the changes which had been made in relation to the previous policy approved by the Board in 2006; and she confirmed that the policy took account of guidance from the Institute of Fundraisers and Charity Commission in relation to matters which Charity trustees were permitted to take into account when deciding whether to accept or refuse any donation or sponsorship.

The Board approved the revised Ethical Fundraising policy.

Quarterly Management Report to 31 March

13. The Head of Finance presented the Quarterly Management Report to 31 March. It was noted that the year to 31 March had been extremely successful, in part due to the success of the Leonardo exhibition. It was also noted that sales of floorplans, a measure introduced to help meet cuts to government grant in aid, were now generating income of £200k per annum.

The Chairman reminded the Board that this was the last meeting which would be attended by the Jane Ellis the Head of Finance, who was leaving to take up a new post. He thanked her warmly on behalf of the Board for all she had done for the Gallery and wished her every success in the future.

Any other business

14. The Chairman told the Board that questionnaires in relation to Board effectiveness would be sent to them following the meeting and asked them to complete and return these by early September, so that responses could be analysed for discussion at the September meeting.

There being no other business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed.

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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