Arts Council England (ACE) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) have formed a partnership to take a more joined-up approach to the challenges faced by museums in England.
The two agencies signed a memorandum of understanding last week to work together to develop a collective strategy, one of the key recommendations of the Mendoza Review of the English museum sector, which was published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in November 2017.
The new partnership will seek to “develop a better understanding of the support each organisation offers to generate a shared strategic approach for museums”. It also aims to make it easier for museums to work with both organisations and offer greater clarity on who to approach for different needs, as well as aligning funding processes and programmes where possible.
The memorandum of understanding includes a commitment between the organisations to share intelligence and data more regularly and effectively, particularly in relation to the efficient use of National Lottery funding.A project group made up of members from both organisations will be responsible for delivering the aims of the partnership, and will come together every three months.
A spokeswoman for the arts council said that collaboration between the two organisations was already underway, with a series of meetings planned for autumn to give them the opportunity to shape each others’ new strategies.
The spokeswoman said that ACE’s area management teams and HLF’s heads of regions would also meet regularly “to share regional intelligence and help inform funding decisions”.
The spokeswoman said that both organisations were “very open” to receiving comments and suggestions from people in the museum sector on developing ways of working together.
“This partnership has been developed in order to serve museums in England to the best of our ability, and ensuring we have open lines of communication with museums is at the heart of this,” she said.
It will be the first formal partnership between the two organisations, although they have previously invested jointly in programmes such as Catalyst and the Great Place Scheme, as well as working together on issues such as export licensing, collections at risk and acquisitions.
The spokeswoman added: “While we have always worked together, certain details outlined in the memorandum of understanding – such as regular and consistent sharing of intelligence and data – have not been formalised.
"By establishing clear timelines, objectives and regular engagement with one another, we are able to deepen and strengthen our working relationship to ensure we are working even more closely and consistently to achieve the best possible outcomes for museums and their audiences.”
The HLF’s chair, Peter Luff, said the organisation was “proud to be working together with the arts council to offer the most insight and informed support to deliver the most impact for the museums sector”.
He said: “Through shared learning and practice, we will be able to invest National Lottery players’ money in the most effective way to see English museums of all sizes thrive for future generations.”