On 1 October 2020 management of Royal Pavilion & Museums was transferred from Brighton & Hove City Council to a new charity: the Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust.
Below we explain why these services moved and the advantages it brings to the city.
About the Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust
The Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust (RPMT) is a charitable organisation. RPMT now manages and operates the Royal Pavilion & Museums’ buildings and collections on behalf of Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC).
The trust manages the museums through a 25 year contract with BHCC. The Council still owns the buildings and the collections.
The Trust board has 14 trustees including three councillors. The chair is Michael Bedingfield.
Hedley Swain is the Chief Executive Officer for the trust.
A sustainable future
Becoming a Trust enables our museums services to be sustainable and resilient.
The professional teams that have made the museums such a success transferred to the Trust under the same terms and conditions they held with the Council.
How the Trust will be funded
The Trust has financial independence from the Council. It can apply for grants unavailable to local authorities.
RPMT operates as a charity and benefits from tax relief from income such as Gift Aid.
Most of the budget comes from:
- admission charges
- commercial income
- external sources such as Arts Council England
- other bodies
BHCC continues to support the Trust through some regular funding.
Freedom to develop the service
Becoming a Trust gives staff the freedom to develop and improve services. This benefits the local community and visitors.
Royal Pavilion & Museums’ skilled staff range from customer services and outreach to conservation and curating teams. The expertise of staff, combined with a strong fundraising track record and the knowledge and experience offered by the trustees contributes to the success of the Trust.
The Trust now has more freedom to develop digital services that match the needs of all visitors and residents. This opens up the collections for everyone to experience and enjoy.
Over the longer term the Trust is working to develop a strong independent voice and explore a more diverse exhibition and outreach programme.
Preserving the past for the future
RPMT is dedicated to preserving its historic buildings and collections. Brighton & Hove’s Royal Pavilion & Museums will be even more accessible in the future. The aim is to create a stimulating and unforgettable experience for visitors. It will be an inspiring resource for those who want to explore our rich heritage in more depth.
The Trust is working on developing alternative sources of funding such as charitable giving and sponsorship.
Gift Aid is now used to claim tax relief on donations such as admission charges. It does not cost the visitor anything but enables charities such as RPMT to claim an extra 25p for every £1 given.
Admission charges until March 2021 were set in November 2018 by the Council. This takes into account the needs of the travel trade and group bookings which are made in advance.
Reduced rates for residents and other discounts also remain.
RPMT now offers new kinds of tickets, such as an annual ‘pass’ that provides better value for money and more flexibility for regular visitors.
The trustees have strong links with the city and the museums sector. They are complemented by having elected councillors on their board.
RPMT reports its annual business and development plan to the council through the public committees.
BHCC is able to vote at the Trust’s general meetings. When that happens the democratically elected Policy & Resources Committee makes the decision in advance. The Council representative at the meeting votes in accordance with the decision of the committee.
As well as the involvement of BHCC, as a registered charity RPMT is legally obliged to publish an annual report about its finances and activities.
Buildings and collections
As a registered charity RPMT is committed to activities that support the management of the buildings and collections for public enjoyment.
The agreement between the Council and the Trust protects the collections and buildings. BHCC still owns the buildings and collections.
BHCC also has a veto as the formal legal structure of the Trust is a company limited by guarantee as well as having charitable status. The council will be a member of the company.
About the Royal Pavilion & Museums
The Royal Pavilion & Museums runs:
- Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
- The Booth Museum of Natural History
- Hove Museum & Art Gallery
- Preston Manor
- The Royal Pavilion and its garden
The service holds over a million objects in its collections, including three that are recognised to be of outstanding importance and quality under the Designation Scheme.
Royal Pavilion & Museums is a National Portfolio Organisation funded by Arts Council England. It is the lead partner in the consortium that manages the South East Museum Development serivce, which supports over 300 museums in the region.