Croydon stripped of Accreditation

ACE removes status following Riesco sale
Patrick Steel
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Arts Council England’s (ACE) Accreditation panel has removed Croydon Museum’s Accreditation status, effective from today.

The panel found that Croydon was in deliberate contravention of the standard, which incorporates the Museums Association’s (MA) code of ethics, following the sale of 24 items from the Riesco collection, the proceeds of which were not to be used solely for the development of the remaining collection.

As a result of the panel’s ruling Croydon will be excluded from the Accreditation scheme for five years.

Scott Furlong, ACE’s director, Acquisitions, Exports and Loans Unit, said: “It is always greatly regrettable when we have to remove an organisation from the Accreditation scheme, but it is equally important that we are robust in upholding the standards which underpin the scheme and are shared by the vast majority of museums.

“I believe that the museums sector [and wider community] will support the decision to remove Croydon Museum from the scheme. It is of great importance that the public retain their trust in museums to look after the collections held in their name. We remain concerned that this trust may be seriously undermined if disposals from public collections are seen to be driven by financial considerations.”

Mark Taylor, director of the MA, said: "We have been urging ACE to remove Croydon's Accreditation since we barred the council from membership of the MA. We are glad it is for a decent length of time, but they will have to prove themselves to be allowed to reapply.

"The MA will also be pressing the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to refuse funding for Croydon for a similar length of time, and the HLF should consider whether previous investments should be clawed back.

"There is some concern about the future of the museum service, and for staff who have had to undergo a dreadful experience that has seen their professional standards undermined."

A report to Croydon Council's Corporate Services Committee in July this year, assessing the pros and cons of the sale, stated: "HLF have advised that if the sale resulted in the loss of accreditation that they may consider attempting to claw back some or all of their 1995 investment of £934k in the museum service."

An HLF spokeswoman said: “It is disappointing to hear that Croydon Council has lost arts council Accreditation following its decision to sell part of its collection.

"HLF would - and could - only take action if elements of Croydon Museum that it has funded, such as the new facilities and exhibition spaces, were adversely affected.”

A spokesman for Croydon Council said: "We are disappointed to lose arts council Accreditation, however this will not alter our ability to continue providing residents of this borough with an excellent museum service.

"Our staff have always worked to the standards required for accreditation and it is our intention to continue this."

Update
05.12.2013
4.30pm

Updated to include response from Croydon Council.



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