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Minutes of the Board of Trustees – March 2010

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 25 March 2010


Mark Getty, Chairman (not for items 7 to 13)
Simon Burke
Gautam Dalal
Professor David Ekserdjian
Lady Heseltine
Professor Julia Higgins
Professor Anya Hurlbert 
Patricia Lankester (from item 2)
John Lessore
Lady Normanby, Deputy Chair 
Hannah Rothschild
Caroline Thomson (from item 5)


Michael Hintze

In attendance:

Dr Susan Foister  (Deputy Director) Items 1, 9, 10 and 11
David Jaffé   (Senior Curator) Items 1, 9, 10 and 11
Larry Keith  (Director of Conservation) Items 1, 9, 10 and 11
Jill Dunkerton  (Restorer) Item 1
Paul Ackroyd  (Restorer) Item 1
Greg Perry  (Director of Operations and Administration) Items 4 to 8
Anne Millman  (Anne Millman Associates) Item 4
Dawn Herlihy  (Head of HR) Item 6
Cathy Putz  (Exhibitions Curator) Item 10

The Chairman said that this was the last meeting of Julia Higgins, the retiring Scientist Trustee. He thanked her warmly on behalf of the Board, for all she had done for the Gallery, and particularly the Scientific Department, over many years. The Director added his thanks in particular for her advice and guidance in relation to all aspects of research at the Gallery. The Chairman said that in future outgoing trustees would be interviewed by the Chairman and Director, to elicit their final views on matters affecting the Gallery. 

The Chairman welcomed Anya Hurlbert to her first meeting of the Board.

The Chairman reminded the Board that following the retirement of Lord Kerr the Board had no Deputy Chair. The Board agreed that Lady Normanby should assume the position of Deputy Chair.

Pictures for treatment

1. The Board saw in the conservation studio following completion of treatment A Merry Company at Table by Hendrick Pot (NG1278) and approved the same as ready to go back on display.

The Board also saw and approved the treatment proposed for The Adoration of the Kings by Paolo Veronese (NG268), Portrait of a Man (Girolamo Fracastoro?) After Titian (NG3949) and The Virgin and Child in an Landscape Style of Bernaert van Orley (NG714). The Director said that work on the Veronese could take two to three years to complete and that the Board would be shown the painting at regular intervals during the course of treatment.

Minutes of the last meetings and matters arising

2. The Board approved the minutes of the meeting on 4 February and the Chairman was authorised to sign them as a true record of the meeting.

Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000.

Minutes of the Nominations Committee

3. The Board noted the minutes of the Nominations Committee of 22 February. The Chairman reported to the Board that, although the Committee had wished to commence a search for a successor for John Kerr (who was not able to chair the Development Committee beyond May) as Chair of the Development Committee, a direction had been received from Cabinet office via DCMS that no searches should now commence until after the Election.

The Chairman proposed that if no appointment had been made by September 2010, he himself would chair the Committee on an interim basis. This proposal was endorsed by the Board.

Director’s report, events and visitor numbers

4. The Director reported on the completion of the refurbishment works to the ground floor cruciform galleries, rooms B, C, D, E and G, which the Board would see following the meeting.

The Director reported to the Board on the outcome of an application made by Peyton and Byrne for a summer café on the North lawn of the Gallery. He reminded the Board that they had seen the plans before the planning application was made. He told the Board that a number of interested parties, including English Heritage, had opposed the application. He confirmed that the opening of the café would be on an experimental basis, and that if its appearance was judged by the Gallery to be in any way detrimental to the appearance of the building or the square then the Gallery would not support the continuance of the trial. The Board discussed other longer term possible improvements to the North terrace area. 

The Director reported on progress in the negotiation of a proposed collaboration with Kings College to run an MA in Christianity and Art. This was a subject area which had been identified as one of the principal areas of research to be pursued by the Gallery, following its recognition as an Independent Research Organisation .The Board approved the proposal.

Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000.

Three-year strategic planning process

5. The Director of Operations and Administration reported to the Board on the process which was underway to produce a three-year strategic plan for the Gallery, and the appointment of Anne Millman, of Anne Millman Associates, as a consultant to assist in the process. She had been selected by the Executive Committee following a process of tender. Patricia Lankester declared that she sat on the Board of the Sage Music Centre with Anne Millman.

Anne Millman joined the meeting and was introduced to the Board. She outlined how the process would proceed, including involvement of staff and external stakeholders; she said that the objective was to present the Board with proposed goals and priorities for consideration at their next strategy weekend. Actions and implementation would be discussed thereafter. It was agreed that over the next three years, levels of funding and external circumstances might change, but that priorities for the Gallery should not change as a result.

The question was raised of whether a three-year plan was the most appropriate time-frame for an institution such as the Gallery; the Director confirmed that longer-term plans and aspirations would also be on the agenda for the strategy weekend. The Board approved the proposals.

Industrial relations

6. The Board noted the contents of the paper from the Head of Human Resources.
Information has been excluded under s 36 FOI 2000.

The Chairman left the meeting and Lady Normanby took the Chair.

Financial Plan 2010-11

7. The Director of Operations and Administration presented the Financial plan for 2010-11 which was approved by the Board.

Information has been excluded under s 36 FOI 2000.

Quarterly management reports

8. The Board noted the quarterly management reports to 31 December 2009. The Chair of the Audit and Finance Committees said that he anticipated that grant in aid would have to be drawn down in full by the year end.

Risk management statements

9. The Board approved the risk management statement on money laundering (in relation to donors to the Gallery). The Director of Operations explained that that a parallel policy was being drafted to cover the risks to be managed in relation to lenders to the Gallery. The Board agreed that in future approval of management statements should be delegated to the Audit committee, provided that the Board should continue to see the register of key risks.

Exhibition report, The Sacred Made Real

10.  The Board noted the report on The Sacred Made Real and the Deputy Chair expressed the congratulations of the Board to all concerned on what had been an exceptional
Exhibition both in terms of critical acclaim and audience numbers.

The Head of Exhibitions enumerated some of the reasons why the exhibition had in her view been so successful; much of its success must be attributed to the vision and passion of the Curator, Xavier Bray, she believed the use of external lighting consultants had helped with the display on this occasion, and she said that the photography of the sculpture for use in posters and catalogues had been outstanding. She anticipated that the contacts made in Spain would serve the Gallery well in the future. It was acknowledged that the Gallery would have benefitted from more data about the profile of the audience who had visited the exhibition.

Loans out

11. The Board approved proposed loans from the Collection. The Deputy Director presented statistics showing trends in loans out since 1999. The Director said that if Trustees were anxious about the number of loans out being made, they should be re-assured to some extent by the downward trend in these figures over the last two years.  It was agreed that the Board should be presented with this information once a year, and that it would in future detail, if possible, loans out which had exceptionally  been made contrary to the guideline  that a painting should not be lent more than once every three years.

Picture movements

12.  The Board noted the paper on picture movements, and agreed that they did not require to see this information in future.

Any other business

13. There being no other business the Deputy Chair declared the meeting closed. Following the formal part of the meeting, Trustees visited rooms B, C, D E and G, the refurbished cruciform ground floor galleries.

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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