Minutes of the Board of Trustees - May 2014

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 1 May 2014


Mark Getty (in the Chair) 
Gautam Dalal
Professor Dexter Dalwood
Lady Heseltine 
Professor Anya Hurlbert
John Nelson (not for items 9-12)
Charles Sebag-Montefiore
Hannah Rothschild
Monisha Shah
John Singer
Caroline Thomson


Lance Batchelor
Sir Michael Hintze

In attendance

Dr Nicholas Penny - Director
Kate Howe - Secretary to the Board and Legal Counsel
Dr Susan Foister - Director of Public Engagement and Deputy Director
Dr Ashok Roy - Director of Collections
Chris Walker - Director of Finance and Operations
RoseMarie Loft - Head of HR (item 4)
David Commins - Head of VSS and Change (item 4)
Larry Keith - Head of Conservation and Keeper (items 5-6)
Letizia Treves - Head of Curatorial and Curator of Italian and Spanish Paintings 1600-1800 (items 5- 6)
Caroline Campbell - Curator of Italian Paintings before 1500 and Loans Curator (item 5)
Emma Collings - Membership Project Manager (item 7)
Louise Peckett - Head of Finance (items 8-9)

At the start of the meeting, before discussion of the agenda items, there was a discussion between the Director and Trustees. The Director told the Board that he would like to step down as Director of the Gallery, ideally in 2015. He would, however, be happy to remain until his successor was appointed and able to take up the post, including allowing time for a reasonable handover period. The Board expressed their sadness at this news.

Information has been excluded under s 36 FOI 2000.

1. Declarations of Interest

Hannah Rothschild declared an interest under item 5 of the agenda (Loans Out) in relation to a proposed loan to Spencer House. She left the meeting for discussion of this item and did not participate in the discussion or decision arising.

2. Minutes of 13 March 2014

The Board approved the Minutes of 13 March subject to one minor amendment and the Chairman was authorised to sign them as a true record of the meeting.

3. Director’s report, events and visitor numbers  

The Director presented and expanded on his written report.

He updated the Board on changes to ensure tighter controls over un-booked groups entering the Gallery. In particular, group leaders would be required to sign up to Gallery guidelines on entry to the Gallery. In the case of groups of young people under the age of 16, the Gallery required at least one adult to supervise every 10 visitors. 

He updated the Board on the court sentence passed on the visitor who had stuck a photograph to a Gallery painting.

He confirmed to the Board that the final visitor numbers to the display of the Gallery’s version of Van Gogh’s 'Sunflowers', alongside the version on loan from the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, were approximately 205,000.

There was a discussion of visitor numbers to the 'Veronese' exhibition, including the impact of ticket pricing and the positioning of ticket sales desks.

Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000.

Information has been excluded under s 42 FOI 2000.

4. Pay Proposal

The Director introduced a discussion of this item. It was proposed to offer a 1% increment to all employees for 2014-15. At the same time, the recommendation was to undertake a formal tender process for the outsourced provision of services covering security, visitor services, front of house services and information services, and to evaluate the response against the current in house provision.

The Director emphasised that this recommendation was not driven by the wish to achieve costs savings, but to achieve improved services to the public including, for example, longer opening hours during very popular exhibitions.

The Head of HR outlined for the Board some of the implications of this proposal, including the fact that if and to the extent that services were outsourced, Gallery staff who were currently engaged in providing those services would not be at risk of redundancy but would be protected by the TUPE regulations.

The Board endorsed these recommendations.   

Information has been excluded under s 36 FOI 2000.

5. Loans out

The Board considered the Loans paper and Addendum and approved all proposed loans from the Collection.

The Board considered a proposed loan to Spencer house, and approved in principle the making of such a loan, subject to all the proposed conditions.

6. Possible acquisitions

Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000.

The Board considered the gift to the Gallery of a painting under the Will of the late John Leslie Morrish, but agreed that it should not be accepted as an addition to the collection. The Director was authorised to communicate this decision to the Executors.

7. Membership and CRM update

The Membership project manager presented her update to the Board on the proposed new membership scheme and associated CRM issues. Specimen membership materials were tabled to the meeting, and it was noted that the Gallery was working towards a launch of the membership scheme in September. 

Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000.

8. Management accounts to 31 March

The Head of Finance presented the management accounts to 31 March, which were noted by the Board.

9. Minutes of Committees of the Board

The Board noted the minutes of the meetings of the Audit and Finance committees on 13 March.

10. Reports to the Board

a.  Report from the Chair of the Nominations committee
The Chairman confirmed the make-up of the panel which would deal with the search to fill the current vacancy on the Board.

b.  Report from the Chair of the Development committee
There was a brief report, on behalf of the Chair of the Development committee, on progress in securing exhibition sponsorship.          

11. Trustees’ Introduction and Director’s foreword to the National Gallery Review

The Board noted the Director’s foreword and proposed some amendments to the Trustees' introduction to the National Gallery Review for 2013-14.

12. Any other business

The Board noted the paper in relation to the Estate of the late Professor Swanston, and, in the light of the legal advice received, agreed that it appeared the intention of the Testator was to benefit the National Gallery Trust; they agreed to waive any claim they might have to the legacy under the Will and to the distribution of the legacy to the National Gallery Trust.

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