Brighton Museum

Future of Brighton and Hove’s Royal Pavilion and Museums still unclear

Simon Stephens, 03.07.2018
Creation of a “single-purpose trust” proposed
Staff at Brighton & Hove’s Royal Pavilion and Museums are seeking clarification on the future governance of the service after a recent council decision to abandon a proposal to merge the organisation with Brighton Dome and Festival.

In mid-June the city council’s Policy, Resources and Growth Committee amended the decision to merge Royal Pavilion and Museums with Brighton Dome and Festival and instead recommended creating a “single-purpose trust”.

The meeting also resolved “that a report is brought to this committee on 11 October setting out a plan for the establishment of the single-status trust, and that the transfer of the Royal Pavilion and Museums into the management of the trust is completed by 5 December”.

But despite last month's amendment, the status of Royal Pavilion and Museums has still not been confirmed.

“The future governance model for the Royal Pavilion and Museums has not been decided,” a council spokesperson said. “A decision on which model is best for the sustainable future of the services can only be made once the council, staff and the trades unions fully understand all of the options. An expert external review of all of the options open to us is currently underway.

“A further report will come back to the council’s Policy, Resources & Growth Committee in October in which the transfer of the Royal Pavilion and Museums to a single trust will be considered, alongside other options,” the spokesperson concluded.

Brighton & Hove City Council postponed a decision to merge its museum service with Brighton Dome and Festival in February following the threat of strike action and a legal challenge.

A Royal Pavilion and Museums staff member, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I hope this amendment gives us a clear direction of travel now. Staff have become really frustrated with the lack of meaningful engagement from senor council managers on this.”

Royal Pavilion and Museums operates five venues and is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. It also leads museum development services for South-East England.