Draft Local Government (Organisation and Standards) Bill Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence - First Report


Memorandum by the Museums and Galleries Commission

  The Museums and Galleries Commission welcomes the opportunity to respond to this document. The MGC is the national advisory body for museums and galleries in the United Kingdom. It promotes the interests of all such institutions and undertakes strategic work to raise standards. The MGC provides expert and impartial advice to museums and others, and advises the Government on museums policy. Through its work, the MGC's long term aim is to help people enjoy and benefit from the 2,000 museums and galleries in the UK.

  This response has been drawn up following a review of the document in consultation with MGC officials.

  The MGC has no comments to make on the broad principles of the Bill. However, the MGC is concerned about the potential impact of the Bill on the Commission's Registration scheme. Registration is, essentially, a "good housekeeping" certificate for museums. The scheme encourages all museums and galleries to achieve approved standards in museum management, collections care and public services. It therefore fosters confidence in museums as repositories of our common heritage and managers of public resources.

  We wish to be satisfied that the new legislation will ensure an arrangement at least as robust as at present, whereby there is clear and democratic acceptance and accountability relating to acquisition and disposal of museum and art gallery collections. It is essential that any major policy decisions be confirmed by minute of the Full Council. The MGC would not be content if such decisions were delegated to officers alone without member scrutiny and approval. This would directly contradict the principles which the Commission has worked so hard to implement.

1 July 1999

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