Arts Council and HLF revitalise partnership to better support museums

Main Image: Torbay Culture Board received a £1.2m grant from the Great Place Scheme, a partnership between the Arts CouncIl, HLF and Historic England, to transform its cultural offer. Photograph courtesy of Torbay Culture Board

Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which follows recommendations set out in the Mendoza Review, which stated that ‘the challenges faced by museums require a more joined-up approach between DCMS, Arts Council England and HLF to make best use of the resources available’

The Arts Council says, as the national development agency for museums in England, it is taking a leading role in delivering the priorities identified in the Mendoza Review. In formalising its relationship and developing a collective strategy with Heritage Lottery Fund, it says the MoU will enable both organisations to achieve the best possible outcomes for museums and their audiences across England.

This two organisations have worked closely together on a number of projects recently including the Catalyst programme (complementary capacity-building grants schemes for arts and heritage); joint funding of 14-18NOW and the Great Place Scheme, which is a joint investment in the role of culture in place-making.

There has also been close liaison between ACE and HLF (including the National Heritage Memorial Fund) on a wide range of museums-specific issues surrounding collections and cultural property. These include export licensing, collections at risk and acquisitions, especially with NHMF’s financial assistance for the acquisition, preservation and maintenance of heritage of outstanding importance in the UK.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said through their collections and knowledge, museums: “Open our eyes to the wonders and challenges of the world and can help us find our place in it. I hope that, together, we can help museums meet the challenges they face and ensure that more people are able to benefit from the excellent museums across this country.”

Aims of the agreement

  • Develop a better understanding of the support each organisation offers to generate a shared strategic approach for museums
  • Seek to make it easier for museums to work with our two organisations, providing greater clarity on who to approach for different needs, and, wherever possible, aligning our funding processes and programmes to ensure maximum impact
  • Share national and local intelligence and data to enable better informed decision-making, particularly in relation to achieving efficient use of National Lottery funding, by taking into account shared and individual priorities and developing a mutual approach to priority places

Sir Peter Luff, Chair, Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Museums are not just an important part of England’s heritage, but they provide precious public services, from education to community engagement. HLF is 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. 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.”

The MoU formalises Arts Council England’s and the Heritage Lottery Fund’s commitment to a close strategic working relationship for the period 2018-2021.