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RCAGM Governance Change

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We’re Changing How the Russell-Cotes is Run

Over the past few years, the Management Committee of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum has been considering whether to make some fundamental changes to how the museum is run to improve its performance and reach its full potential.

Under the current arrangement, BCP Council is the sole trustee for the Russell-Cotes charity. This means that unlike other independent museums, the Russell-Cotes does not have a dedicated and appropriately skilled board of trustees to set its strategy and guide its operation. It also creates issues with financial transparency and conflicts of interest and prohibits effective support from some cultural trusts and foundations.

We want to transform the Russell-Cotes into a fully independent charitable trust and the Charity Commission have agreed we can proceed with this process. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has provided a grant to support the transition arrangements and involve our community and visitors in the journey.

There is no agenda to change the museum’s offer, pricing or staffing structure; the intention is to grow and develop it through sourcing increased funding and support.

We’re Seeking your Views to Shape that Change

The Russell-Cotes Management Committee would be interested to hear your thoughts on the ideas, to inform its thinking and the deliberations of the Charity Commission who are considering our proposals. 

We are aware that because of the distinctive nature of the Russell-Cotes governance arrangements, the position is a complex one.

We’re Aware Change Brings Risks

The team at the Russell Cotes and our key stakeholders, including the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England, are aware that there are risks in making these changes. We are confident the benefits outweigh the risks, but we are making sure we think about all the implications and act prudently.

We know that many people will be concerned about the future financial position of the museum. An important part of the transition process will be to establish a long-term funding agreement with BCP Council, which means the museum will be able to maintain its buildings, sustain its visitor offer and programme into the future. We have also developed a robust and realistic business plan to ensure that we can maintain our staff team and not increase charges or decrease opening hours.

Independence will provide us with the freedom to commission our own support services, generate additional income and secure philanthropy and grants not accessible to us now as a local council service.

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