Museums trust moves a step further

An update on progress with moving the Royal Pavilion & Museums (RPM) into a stand-alone trust will be discussed by the Tourism, Development & Culture Committee next week.

Staff at the Royal Pavilion & Museums and other council colleagues are preparing for the transfer to trust and have made positive progress.

A project board was set up in March and specialist staff from the Royal Pavilion & Museums have taken part in business and staff planning and have helped set up property, legal and computer system arrangements for transfer. 

The expertise of staff will ensure the new trust is well-resourced and has the systems needed to offer the best service to residents and visitors.

Royal Pavilion & Museums Foundation

Our proposal is to make the museums’ existing fundraising charity, the Royal Pavilion & Museums Foundation, the ‘vehicle’ for the new Trust. To do that the foundation will be making some changes to its constitution and recruiting new members to its board to be sure that it has the diversity and experience needed for the governing body. A ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ has been drafted setting out the terms under which the trust will operate. 

Foundation trustees as well as union representatives have also attended project board meetings to input into planning for transfer.

The foundation was established in 1972 as a charity and has helped buy many important items for the museums’ collection, including:

  • King George IV’s only surviving grand piano
  • A watercolour by JMW Turner
  • The Elaine Evans Archaeology Gallery, which opened in Brighton Museum earlier this year.

Purpose of the trust

Councillor Alan Robins, chair of the Tourism, Development & Culture Committee, said: “The purpose of the new trust is to make sure that the museum services will be provided to the same high standards over the long-term. We are proud to be custodians of such unique historic buildings and collections and to have such a highly regarded museums staff team who are key to delivering service success. 

“Having staff share their expertise and be involved in the trust project as it progresses, and combining this with the strong fundraising track record of the RPM’s long established charity and it’s trustees, gives a fantastic basis for building on the successes of our museums service, our internationally-recognised buildings such as the Royal Pavilion and collections for future generations to enjoy.”

Last year an independent review concluded that a charitable trust model would be more financially sustainable for Brighton & Hove’s museums than an in-house service in the mid to long term. 

The aim of the trust will be to ensure the museums service is sustainable and resilient and able to deliver the best possible offer to residents and visitors.- it will be able it to access new charitable income streams and operate outside of the constraints of annual local government budget setting. 


It is expected that work to transfer to the new Trust will be completed by April 2020.

More information

Read the report (agenda item number 10)

The Tourism, Development & Culture Committee is open to the public and will be held on Thursday, 20 June, from 4pm in Hove Town Hall's council chamber.

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