Board meeting: October 2019

Summary minutes of the Board of Trustees meeting on 29 October 2019 at 11.00 a.m. in the Britannia room, St Katharine's Way, London E1W 1LD



  • Peter Luff (Chair)
  • Maria Adebowale-Schwarte
  • Jim Dixon
  • Claire Feehily
  • Sarah Flannigan
  • Perdita Hunt
  • Ray McFarlane
  • Steve Miller
  • Rene Olivieri
  • David Stocker
  • Tom Tew


Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the Board, welcomed everyone to the meeting. He welcomed Demmy Adewole as the new Governance Manager.

The Board also said goodbye to Carli Penman-Harper, Interim Executive Director of Business Insight and Innovation, who would be leaving the Fund before the next Board meeting in December 2019.

Board business

1. Minutes of the Board meeting on 23 July 2019 and 24 September 2019 matters arising

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The minutes were agreed to be a true account of the meeting and signed by the Chair.

2. Declarations of interest


No declarations of interest.

3. Chair’s Report

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Sir Peter Luff presented the Chair’s report in which he highlighted the acknowledgement of the National Lottery at the Silverstone Heritage experience.

4. Chief Executive’s Report and Corporate Update

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Eilish McGuinness, Executive Director of Business Delivery provided an update on corporate activity.

Items for decision

There were two items brought for decision

  • It was noted that – under SF4 – it was the practice that, if a grantee in receipt of a Heritage Grant (below £5M) was seeking a grant increase and that increase would take the total grant award to a figure in excess of £5M – the decision on the grant increase would go to the Board. The Executive recommended that this approach is amended (and a suitable change in delegations made) so that the decisions on such grant increases are made by the relevant Area or Country Committee. This amended delegation was approved by the Board.

  • Digital Campaign – the Executive requested an increase in grant funding from £250,000 to £500,000 for Tranche 2 of the Digital Campaign. This increase in grant funding was approved by the Board.  


Business transformation

Colin Bailey, Executive Director of Business Services, presented the results from the pulse survey conducted with staff on ‘Shaping our Future Business’ project.

The Board noted the importance of communicating effectively with staff and asked the Executive to tell staff how their feedback has or would be used.


Heritage Horizons award

Eilish McGuiness described the strong response to the Fund’s call for proposals for the Heritage Horizons Awards. There had been 146 EOIs with a total grant request of £1.3 billion across the UK.


Income – current year (commercial in confidence)

Colin Bailey also presented the finance report to the Board.


5. Feedback from Audit and Risk Committee

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Claire Feehily, Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) reported the following from the recent meeting:

  • The Committee approved the internal audit strategy

  • The Committee welcomed the brief update given to them on the Governance Review Implementation Plan.

  • The Committee identified financial and risk management as a top priority skill for recruitment both on the ARC and the Board of Trustees.

  • The Committee also discussed the Risk assessment of Brexit by DCMS. The committee took the view that there should be an extended conversation around Brexit related risks and long-term sectoral resilience to the impact of Brexit. They proposed that Executive should take a more quantitative look at measuring these risks.

6. Corporate Risk register

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Colin Bailey presented the corporate risk assessment.

The internal risks had been diminished over the summer and changes had been implemented in relation to SFB, design/recruitment and appointments have been supplemented in some instances by new ways of working/behaviours and technology changes. The office moves had also been completed successfully.

He explained that the organisation showed low exposure to risks from Brexit.

A risk in the funding of projects which also relied on EU funding was however noted. These projects must be monitored and applicants would be given advice relating to this issue. A policy would also need to be created to identify when the organisation would intervene with regards to high risk projects.

Colin Bailey also commented on the environmental and climate expectations and how these have heightened in the last 12 months. He confirmed to the Board that the Executive would do some thinking around this in the coming months.

The Board commented on the following issues:

  • The presentation of the risks and asked for the format to be changed to make the register easier to read.

  • They showed concern at the lack of information sharing from DCMS on Brexit.

  • Importance of liaison with DEFRA and associated bodies in terms of Brexit risks around the natural environment.

  • Asked that the Executive develop guidance for Area and Country Committees on viability of funding around Brexit and when the Fund should be able to intervene and provide funding.

7. Country and area chairs meeting

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The Chair gave a summary of the discussion in the Country and Area Chairs meeting in line with the minutes of the meeting.   

8. Governance Review recommendations

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Irene Hurrel, Director of Legal and Governance, presented an update on progress against the Governance Review Implementation Plan (GRIP), highlighting in particular the outcome of the recent Board skills audit where it was noted that the current Board measures up well against the skills matrix, with only ‘Financial planning and monitoring’ and ‘Risk identification and management’ as areas to consider in forthcoming Trustee recruitment exercises.

Trustees made the following comments on the skills position:

  • It is important for the credibility of the Board that its heritage expertise is retained (notwithstanding the Board’s ability to call on the heritage expertise of the Fund’s wider governance community – in particular, the expertise of committee members); and

  • Consideration should be given to sharing named responses to self-assessments of Trustees’ skills with other Trustees. It was not known whether this would be likely to influence outcomes

Board Terms of Reference

The GRIP envisaged these being presented to this Board meeting. However, due to the interdependencies between the Board terms of reference and other documents (such as the proposed paper on reserved and delegated matters and the terms of reference for the Board’s committees), it was now proposed to submit these to the Board in December.

Extensions to current English area committee member appointments

All 27 committee members who had been asked to agree to an extension of their terms had responded to our request. 26 responses confirmed the relevant committee members’ agreement to an extension to the terms of their current appointments. One committee member was unable to extend their term.

9. Culture Change

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The Head of Culture Change, presented the culture change plan.

The organisation’s culture had evolved over the years and there were positives and negatives identified. Pulse Surveys, analysis through ‘Shaping our Future Business’ had allowed the culture team to gather insight. Key insights identified about the organisation were highlighted.

Three key groups were identified as part of the culture change process:

  • Culture Champions – A group of staff who meet regularly to keep a check on what is working in relation to culture change and giving and receiving feedback from the culture team and the rest of the organisation.

  • Culture Sponsor Group – Representatives from the champions group, leaders across the organisation and a Board member who meet to discuss changes to culture.

  • Strategy and Performance Group – as the new senior leadership team

The key upcoming stages of culture change were highlighted.

10. Diversity, Equality and inclusion

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The Head of Strategy and Policy Project Manager, presented the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion plan.

This paper set out the internal contexts, driven by the Strategic Funding Framework (SFF) and Corporate Strategy, to adopt an ambitious approach to developing the Fund’s diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) strategy. The paper set out our suggested approach and some key questions for the Board to truly embed inclusion across governance, human resources and investing money from National Lottery Players.

11. Corporate strategy refresh

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The Director of Strategy and Innovation and Head of Strategy presented the Corporate strategy refresh.

They explained the purpose of the changes to the strategy, the key achievements and the challenges of the programme as presented in the paper.

There was an additional external horizon scanning session with the Strategy and Performance Group and Senior Management Team and this also brought out additional context to this work in the following areas:

  • Political and policy environment is volatile, fast moving (e.g. climate change) and uncertain

  • Populist politics can frame heritage in a different way

  • Devolution

  • Retaining our distinctive voice

  • Fast paced technological changes

  • Preparing for a possible economic downturn

12. Capacity Building, resilience and enterprise development; Heritage Campaign

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The Board were presented with a paper on the capacity building, resilience and enterprise development; Heritage Campaign.

Following Trustees’ discussion of the overall design and objectives of the campaign in June 2019, including outline proposals for two business support programmes, the paper was brought as an update to the Board and to ask for agreement to commission the enterprise development and business support tranches.

The key proposals for decision were discussed:

  • Agreement to the design of two enterprise development and business support programmes as set out in sections 3 and 4 and Appendix 1, and process for commissioning those.

  • Agreement to delegate decisions on the selection of delivery partners to a small panel of senior staff and one or two trustees (for enterprise development) and country committee members (for business support programmes).

The Board endorsed the paper and approved the proposals.

National Heritage Memorial Fund

13. NHMF Report

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The Board noted the report.





18. Charlotte Bronte's Young Men's Magazine

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Applicant: The Bronte Parsonage Museum

Request: Award grant of £756,000 (70%)

Project: The Bronte Parsonage Museum sought to acquire the magazine, which was written by Charlotte Bronte, (1816-1855), when she was 13 years old. This was one of a series of magazines by the Bronte siblings.

The Panel recommended the pre-application as a HIGH priority to proceed to full application to the Board.

The Board AWARDED a grant of up to £756,000

19. Schedule of Delegated Decisions (circulated electronically)

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The Board noted the schedule of decisions.

Any other business

There was none

The next meeting would be held on 17 December 2019 at The Science Museum