Brighton Museums and Pavilion

Brighton City Council delays trust move for museum service

Patrick Steel, 21.02.2018
Review of proposed merger with Brighton Dome and Festival
Brighton City Council has postponed a controversial decision to merge its museum service, including the Royal Pavilion, with Brighton Dome and Festival Ltd (BDFL), in the face of strike action and a potential legal challenge.

In January last year that the council approved the establishment of a charitable trust for the museum in April 2018, while considering a merger with BDFL within four years”. But in November staff were informed that the council was proposing to go straight to trust with BDFL. This proposal was voted through last month by the council’s Policy, Resources and Growth Committee.

Staff were said to be “concerned” about the move, which would see them work for BDFL under a changed name, board and structure.

Trade union GMB, which represents many of the staff, was considering legal action to reverse the decision, and staff were considering strike action. But at a meeting this morning, they agreed they would not pursue legal or strike action.

An independent expert, chosen by the council, staff and union, will lead the review, which will look into every option for the future of the museum service, and report to the council's Policy, Resources and Growth Committee in the autumn.

The union would prefer the museum service to remain in-house, or transfer to an independent trust.

A council spokesperson said: “We have proposed postponing the current process to allow us to commission an expert external review of all of the options open to us.

“We want to ensure that we engage with staff and unions in identifying the best option for the future of the service and developing a shared vision.

“We aim to complete this piece of work by the end of September 2018 and anticipate that this will allow us to secure a sustainable future for the service, protect and care for the city’s assets and collections and ensure future generations can fully benefit from what is an internationally renowned heritage and cultural offer.”

Museums Journal contacted BDFL for comment.

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