Memorandum by the Museums and Galleries
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