Royal Pavilion and Museums - future management proposals

We’re creating a cultural trust for the Royal Pavilion and Museums to ensure they’re protected for future generations.

In April 2016, councillors agreed to start a procurement process to find a suitable organisation to manage the Royal Pavilion and Museums.

We're also looking at the future of the Royal Pavilion Estate.

Will the council still own the Royal Pavilion and museums?

Yes, there will be no change in ownership. The council will still own Royal Pavilion & Museums and their celebrated collections. We’ll also represent residents’ interests in how they are run.

Why are you looking to change?

We need to find a way of generating new income for Royal Pavilion & Museums, as council budgets are reducing. This will put the service in the strongest position to offer opportunities for education, activities, events and exhibitions.

What happens next?

The changes were agreed by the council’s Policy, Resources and Growth committee on 19 January 2017, the timescale will be:

  • February-May2017: Establish an interim board of trustees, to include councillors
  • April 2017-March 2018: Draw up business plans and legal documents for the new trust, work with staff on transfer to the new trust
  • April 2018: New trust begins a transition year
  • April 2019: Hand over from interim to full-time board of trustees

What are the advantages of creating a cultural trust?

A trust will give the service greater freedom to bring in new income and help provide financial security for the future.  It would have tax benefits and charitable status.

Because it is the best option financially, it will be able to focus on maintaining the buildings and collections as well as create many more opportunities for residents and visitors to see and experience the collections and enjoy the buildings.

What other options has the council looked at?

Remaining with the council

Keeping the service with the council could put museums at risk of having to reduce what they offer or closing through lack of funds

Management contract with a third party organisation

This was thought the least financially sustainable of the options considered because, unlike trust status, there would be no tax benefits and the council would have to pay a management fee to the contractor.

Create a ‘mutual, Community Interest Company, or other form of social enterprise

This option has high risks because it is not a tested model for museums like Brighton & Hove’s which have internationally recognised collections and  operate on long timeframes. As a mutual, an organisation may only be awarded a contract for three years and does not attract taxable benefits.

What will happen to staff?

Staff working for the service will transfer to the  new trust once it is established under their existing terms and conditions of  employment. The council will support the new trust in its first three years of business to allow it time to develop new sources of income.

During the process staff will be kept informed and will be consulted before any transfer takes place to address concerns and questions.

What is the background to this proposal?

The project is part of the council’s modernisation programme to put services on a sound financial footing for the long-term so that they can respond to and involve communities effectively. We are developing options that aim to protect Royal Pavilion & Museums and the services it provides for residents and visitors.

In November, 2015, the council’s Economic Development & Culture Committee agreed to prepare a business case in order to set up a new trust to manage Royal Pavilion & Museums.

At Policy & Resources Committee on  28 April, 2016, councillors agreed to start a procurement process that would invite organisations to bid for the management and operation of Royal Pavilion & Museums.

Before going ahead with a notice to advertise the procurement, the business case was prepared.  An independent assessment was carried out that looked at the different options and their financial implications to help the council make decisions on future contracts.

The assessment showed that the trust model will provide the most financially sustainable long-term future for Royal Pavilion & Museums.

The changes were agreed by the council’s Policy, Resources and Growth committee on 19 January 2017. 

About the Royal Pavilion and Museums

The Royal Pavilion and Museums runs:

  • Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
  • The Booth Museum of Natural History
  • Hove Museum and Art Gallery
  • Preston Manor
  • The Royal Pavilion and its garden.

Brighton & Hove’s museums’ services is one of only 23 in the country to be part of the Arts Council England’s Major Partner Programme. It is the lead organisation for the sector across the South East, supporting 300 museums.

Go the Royal Pavilion and Museums website