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Minutes of the Board of Trustees – October 2010

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 21 October 2010


Mark Getty, Chairman
Gautam Dalal
Professor David Ekserdjian
Lady Heseltine
Michael Hintze
Patricia Lankester
John Lessore
Lady Normanby
Hannah Rothschild


Simon Burke
Professor Anya Hurlbert
John Nelson
Caroline Thomson

In attendance:

Dr Nicholas Penny (Director)
Dr Susan Foister (Deputy Director)
Kate Howe  (Secretary to the Board)
David Jaffe  (Senior Curator) Items 1 to 3
Larry Keith  (Director of Conservation) Items 1 to 3
Chris Riopelle  (Curator of post 1800 paintings) Item 1
Jill Dunkerton  (Restorer) Item 1
Greg Perry  (Director of Operations and Administration) Items 5 to 10

The Chairman said he was delighted to report that John Nelson had been appointed by the Prime Minister to join the board for a term of 4 years from 11 October. Due to a prior commitment, he had sent his apologies for what would have been his first meeting of the Board.

He had been appointed with the intention that he would take on, with immediate effect, the position of Chair of the Gallery’s Development Committee. The Board endorsed his appointed as Chair of the Development Committee with effect from 11 October.

Pictures for treatment

1. The Board saw in the conservation studio following completion of treatment 'Mrs Oswald' by Johann Zoffany (NG4931) and 'The Virgin and Child in a Landscape', Style of Bernaert van Orley (NG 714) and approved them as ready to go back on display.

Information has been excluded under s 22 FOI 2000. 

Minutes of 2 September and matters arising

2. The Board approved the minutes of 2 September subject to one minor amendment and the Chairman was authorised to sign them as a true record of the meeting.

The Board requested that the Director of Education, Information and Access should return to the Board within the next year to update them on progress in relation to her plans for learning and engagement, as presented to the last meeting.

Information has been excluded under s 40 FOI 2000.

Loans out

3. The Board approved the proposed loans from the Collection.

Information has been excluded under s40 FOI 2000.

Director’s report, events and visitor numbers

4. The Director presented his report to the Board.

In relation to the proposed loan to the Gallery of 'King David' by Guercino he confirmed that this painting would be loaned to the Gallery for a period of 2–3 weeks to be shown alongside 'The Cumaean Sibyl with a Putto' by Guercino (L592).  Hannah Rothschild declared an interest in this arrangements and took no part in the discussion arising.

Information has been excluded under s 40 and 43 FOI 2000

Strategic framework

5. The Director of Operations and Administration presented the strategic framework document to the Board and confirmed that once the impact of the cuts to grant in aid for the next spending round had been taken into account, further work would be done to flesh the document out into a full strategic plan. The Board welcomed the document in its present form.

CSR and Museums' Status

6. There was a discussion of the letter of 20 October from the Secretary of State to the Chairman, notifying the Gallery of a cut to resource grant in aid of 15%, in real terms, spread over 4 years.

Although the level of the cut was less severe than the Gallery (and others in the sector) had previously been led to expect, nevertheless the Board were told that it was still the case that staffing reductions would be required to meet the cut, and staff had already been told this. The Director confirmed to the Board that it was hoped that draft proposals for measures to meet the cut to grant in aid would be ready for consideration at the next meetings of the Audit and Finance Committee and the Board.

The Director confirmed to the Board that the letter from the Secretary of State indicated that the Museums and Galleries would be given access, over the next four years, to half their historic reserves, although the details of how this would be implemented had yet to be disclosed. In relation to the administrative status of Museums and Galleries, it was confirmed that no changes were to be implemented through the Public Bodies Bill.

Minutes of Committees of the Board

7.The Chairman of the Audit and Finance Committees presented the minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee on 2 September. In relation to errors in the administration of the payroll previously reported to the Board, it was confirmed that detailed figures were not yet available. In relation to the HR risk management statement which had been brought to the Audit Committee for approval, he said that the committee had sent it back for reconsideration, since they felt it should include information on performance management.

The Chairman of the Audit and Finance Committees presented the minutes of the meeting of the Finance Committee on 2 September. A question was raised about the lower than expected level of catalogue sales for the Picasso exhibition; the Director said that this was probably due to the large number of other books and publications on this artist.

The Chairman presented the minutes of the meeting of the Nominations Committee on 3 September; he confirmed that the process of searching for two new trustees, one a practising artist and one with commercial experience was underway and that interviews were due to take place on 8 November.

Appointments to the Board of the AFGNL

8. The Board approved the re-appointment of Mark Getty and Christopher Gibbs as Class A Directors of the Board of the American Friends of the National Gallery. Mark Getty took no part in the discussion of this item or the decision arising.

Charities Act 1993

9. The Board noted the contents of the report on s 73 A-C Charities Act 1993.

Any other business

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

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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