20 April 2016

Securing the future of the Royal Pavilion and Museums

A proposal to safeguard the Royal Pavilion and Museums for future generations will be considered by Brighton & Hove City councillors on 28 April.

Members of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee will consider whether to start a procurement process to find a suitable organisation to manage the Royal Pavilion and Museums in future.

The aim is to find a way of generating new income for the Royal Pavilion and Museums, at a time of reduced council budgets, to put them in the strongest position to deliver their cultural and educational offer for all. A report to the committee says that if the service continues to be managed by the council there is a risk that sites might have to close as the squeeze on council finances continues.

It should be stressed that if the move goes ahead there will be no change in ownership -  the council will still own the Royal Pavilion and Museums and their celebrated collections, and represent residents’ interests in how they are run.

Councillor Warren Morgan, leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, said:

“We value the city’s fantastic heritage and it is vital we make sure we preserve the Royal Pavilion and our renowned museums for future generations of residents and visitors to enjoy.

“At a time when we have less money to spend on services we have to come up with creative and practical solutions and this proposal is, in effect, like putting the Royal Pavilion and Museums into a lifeboat to protect them.

“There is a long and established history in this country of putting historic buildings and museums into the care of trusts or other organisations to safeguard their future. This way, they will have more freedom and opportunities, than the council, to generate new income to manage the service.”

He added: “We have been talking to staff to explain that we believe this is the best solution to secure their future. If a change of management goes ahead their jobs will be transferred to the new organisation.”

In November, the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee agreed a business case should be prepared to set up a new trust to manage the Royal Pavilion and Museums. However this decision has been reviewed and the proposal now is that a procurement process should be held to find the most suitable organisation to manage the Royal Pavilion and Museums.

If the proposal is agreed, a procurement process could begin later this year, with a view to the Royal Pavilion and Museums moving to new management in 2018.

Further information:

For more background see committee report

The Royal Pavilion and Museums includes:

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

Plans to move Hove Library to Hove Museum, and the regeneration of the Royal Pavilion Estate, will not be affected if the management of the Royal Pavilion and Museums is moved to another organisation.