AIM Launches New Website For The UK Museum And Heritage Sector

The Association of Independent Museums (AIM) has just launched its new website with free resources and publications, a section for heritage trustees and event listings. The website includes AIM’s own online content combined with new and useful sections such as case studies from UK museums and heritage sector news and has been designed to be viewable on mobile phones and tablets so you can stay in touch with AIM on the move. It can be found at

AIM’s website has long been a valuable hub of information for the museum sector, but the new version has been designed to make AIM updates and resources much easier to find by bringing together resources on similar topics in the same pages. The Latest News section which will cover hot topics, grants, jobs and events from across the sector to help keep AIM members and other heritage organisations updated on the latest opportunities.

“We know that the new design is going to make a real difference to how easy it is for people to find the support and advice they are looking for and most importantly, we want members to be able to find out more about what each other are doing through the introduction of case studies and stories from different museums across the UK,” said Tamalie Newbery, AIM’s Executive Director.

The AIM Hallmarks of Prospering Museums also has a designated section and fresh content will be added to this in the coming year and a new menu at the side of each page will visitors find information about AIM grant schemes and other benefits quickly. Funded by Arts Council England and  developed with the support of website developers, Grit Digital, the new website showcases all AIM’s social media platforms on the homepage to allow for greater interaction between AIM and its members.

“We have listened to feedback from our members and improved the functionality of the site and reworked its visual appeal to include interactive elements and modern imagery and we hope the new layout will help to save heritage sector organisations time when searching for what they need,” said Sassy Hicks, Membership, Marketing and Projects Manager at AIM.

From 21 April 2017, please view all AIM news and sector updates on the main AIM website at:

This blog will remain open to allow AIM members access to old posts, but all future posts will be published on the new AIM website.

Thank you for supporting this blog over the past three years.


Want to work differently? A grant from the AIM Hallmarks Awards can help you

Now open for applications, the latest round of the  AIM Hallmarks Awards will make grants totalling around £70,000 in England and just over £20,000 in Wales.

Funded by Arts Council England and supported by Welsh Government, the AIM Hallmarks Awards offer grants of between £5,000 and £15,000 to help AIM member museums and heritage sites to begin to use the principles in the AIM Hallmarks to improve the way they work.

So, what type of project has been previously funded and how can you ensure you are successful? We talked to Catherine Allan, Chair of Trustees and Co Director from Rhayader Museum & Gallery in Wales who were successful in Round 2 to see how the Awards have benefited them – and what tips they could share to help your application.

Rhayader Museum & Gallery

AIM: Hi Catherine, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Can you explain why you decided to apply for the AIM Hallmarks Awards please?

CA: At Rhayader Museum and Gallery, we had already identified a project we wanted to work on and I felt that it would fit really well within the grant guidelines and would give us the opportunity to do the work. We had already trialled parts of the project – which was about recording local town and county shows – two years ago with volunteers so knew that what we wanted to do would be possible!

AIM: How did it enable you to work in new ways as an organisation?

CA: There were three aspects to this: using volunteers in new ways, using new technology and – especially – developing new kinds of community involvement. Encouraging people to record their community in various ways allows them to use new technology, take ownership of the process, to feel that their way of life is of value. It gives those who are not so skilled more confidence and improved social networks. It has allowed us to re-engage with sections of our community in ways we haven’t been able to do in a while.

AIM: How does the project AIM has funded fit in with your strategic priorities?

CA: Rhayader Museum and Gallery, has a mission statement which includes promoting participation in arts and heritage activity for social and cultural benefit, encouraging skill sharing and learning and using creative projects to celebrate and represent the area’s distinctive voices. We work in partnership with all ages and abilities to foster a sense of place, worth and confidence. As well as the project fitting in with the mission statement aims, it also fitted in with our aim as a museum, of growing our audience.

AIM: What did you apply to the AIM Hallmarks Awards to fund?

CA: We are a rural area and have four small agricultural shows around small town of Rhayader (population around 2,000.) Rhayader also has a large summer Carnival. Although some of the same people go to and take part in the Carnival, the events are very different in feel and content.

Carnival is a town celebration with a procession, a crowning of the Carnival Queen, visits from other towns with their floats and princesses and lots of people dressing up. Many different organisations take part and visitors come from far and wide. There is food and drink and live music all day coming from the local pubs and the streets are busy from late morning to evening.

The shows are much quieter and are the way the farming community and their families celebrate. Outsiders do come to them but they tend to be very local to the show fields or family members who have left the area. They feature events such as stock judging, handicraft and produce tent, duck and horse racing, pet shows etc. The bar is often a horse box.

It struck me that they also had a much more fragile feel. The shows are only just recovering from the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001. Foot and mouth is an ever-present danger, and with proposed changes in EU membership and farm subsidies, I felt we should be doing what we could to record a way of celebrating that might change substantially or even be lost. Recording both projects would also involve doing oral histories and collecting historic documents and photographs where possible.

There will also be film and written records for people to look at in the museum. Our geographic footprint will be improved as more visitors are able to access aspects of these events they may not have before. The project will allow people who would not normally be inclined to go into a museum to do so, or to access our work in different ways. Overall, the project will reflect back the community to itself and allow it to value how unique it is.

AIM: What was the AIM Hallmarks Awards application process like for you?

CA: My colleague, Krysia Bass, and myself both found the process of applying for a grant was much more straight forward than many. I am not a trained fundraiser and found it quite manageable.

AIM: That’s good to hear Catherine – so what advice or tips would you give to other organisations applying for an AIM Hallmarks Award in Round 3?

CA: I would say that the most important thing is to find a project you feel passionate about. If you don’t really care…why should anyone else? The second thing is obvious – make sure that what you want to do fits with AIM’s criteria. And lastly, have all the fairly tedious but necessary information and statistics about your organisation to hand.

AIM: We are looking forward to seeing how this unique project develops Catherine – so what do you think the legacy of the AIM Hallmarks Award will be for the museum and your community?

CA: I would say that the main legacies for our community will be that participants will be positively affected by the process of recording the shows. People will be able to look at what we produce and remember their experiences. Their children will be able to look back in time and see and hear significant people in their locality.

I hope we will benefit from a raised profile and good will. We will also be able to capture a way of life for future generations to learn from and enjoy finding out about. As we are a largely volunteer run organisation. I anticipate that people will see the value in our work and come forward to help us in the way they did when we were set up as a community arts organisation and community museum.

AIM: Thanks for your time Catherine. Finally, what would you say to encourage other AIM members to apply for an AIM Hallmarks Award?

CA: I would encourage people to go for the award. You will find the process easier than most. It will help you realise a project you feel passionate about or will help you to develop one. That in turn will allow you to revisit and re-evaluate who you are and what you do.

Application information for the AIM Hallmarks Awards

Offering grants of between £5,000 and £15,000, the AIM Hallmarks Awards help AIM member museums and heritage sites to begin to use the principles in the AIM Hallmarks to improve the way they work.

The third round of the AIM Hallmarks Awards is now open for AIM members in England and Wales with applications closing on 15 May 2017 – but how could you use an award in your museum?

The AIM Hallmarks Awards can be used by successful applicants in two distinct ways:

*To fund an organisational review: This can involve either review and planning, or taking forward new ways of working. Some museums might want to use the AIM Hallmarks as a framework to review their organisational health and can apply for this funding for support in planning future development

*To contribute to a project that supports applicant organisations to behave or develop differently: Museums which have already identified development needs reflecting the principles of the AIM Hallmarks, can apply for funding to put their ideas into practice and progress programmes of work which will enable them to become more resilient and to prosper in the future. Projects can be linked to any of the Hallmarks but must seek to support change at a strategic level and/or to have an impact on organisational culture and behaviour.

The AIM Hallmarks Awards have already helped AIM members in England and Wales to review their organisational health or to develop new ways of working and we strongly encourage potential applicants to discuss their ideas with AIM’s Assistant Director, Helen Wilkinson, before applying.

You can contact Helen by email: or by phone on: 0771 966 7102

All information about the AIM Hallmarks Awards including guidance notes and application form can be found on the AIM Hallmarks Awards page.

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March AIM Member Trustee Vacancies

Can you spare some time to become a Trustee at an AIM member organisation? If so, the following AIM members would love to hear from you.


Charles Dickens Museum (London)

We are looking for up to four new members for the Board, with the ability to think strategically, to review management reports and financial information, to assess and manage risk, and to develop sound forward plans to ensure an exciting and sustainable future for the Museum. Significant experience in at least one of the following areas:

Finance: applicants with accountancy qualifications would be particularly welcome.

Museum collections and curatorial matters.

Retail: helping the Museum to maximise income from its shop, online sales, and café.

Social inclusion: connecting Dickens’s work and writings on social deprivation with modern day issues

Contact details for applicants to find out more:  Cindy Sughrue, Director, Charles Dickens Museum

Further Information

Museum Website

Number of vacancies: 4 meetings per annum/time commitment: 6 meetings and one Away Day

Daytime or evening meetings: afternoon/evening

Closing date: 24 April 2017


Wiltshire Museum (Devizes)

The Wiltshire Museum in Devizes has outstanding collections of national and local importance. Run by a charity founded in 1853 we are examining exciting new opportunities and are seeking new trustees to help shape our future. We are particularly interested in hearing from you if you have skills or experience in marketing, audience development, developing projects or assisting with fundraising. However, if you have other skills that you can offer, then please do get in touch.

Contact details for applicants to find out more:

Museum Website

Number of vacancies: 2 Number of meetings per annum/time commitment: 5 Daytime or evening meetings: Evening

Closing date: 7 April


Cogges Heritage Trust (Oxfordshire)

We are looking for someone who: is willing to challenge, brings new ideas and new perceptions to Cogges • has a youthful approach, irrespective of their age • demonstrates entrepreneurial qualities All Trustees must be able to exhibit: • integrity • a commitment to the organisation and its objectives • an understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship • a willingness to devote the necessary time and effort to their duties as a trustee. This includes attending several Board Meetings per year alongside Committee Meetings. A trustee also undertakes tasks linked to projects which are borne out of the Board and Committee Meetings • strategic vision • good, independent judgement • an ability to think creatively • willingness to speak their mind • an ability to work effectively as a member of a team

Museum Website

Number of Vacancies 2 Number of Meetings 12 Mainly evenings

Contact Details for applicants to find out more:

Richard Munro Potential trustees are also invited to attend the Private View of Cogges’ Artist in Residence on 31st March 6pm to 8pm

Closing Date

30th April 2017


Pen Museum (Birmingham)

Interest in and commitment to the heritage of the Steel Pen Trade and Birmingham more widely • A readiness and ability to play a role in fundraising/development activities • Fair, impartial and open to new ideas Skills • The ability to think creatively and strategically, demonstrating good judgment and analytical ability • Good communication, team-working, and interpersonal skills, demonstrating tact, diplomacy and the ability to build and manage strong relationships and networks • An ability to command respect among local, regional and national stakeholders – acting as an ambassador for the Association. We are looking to recruit new Trustees to join our established board to help steer the organisation through its next exciting phase. We would like to hear from people with strong backgrounds in leadership and development.

Museum Website

Contact Details Nigel Evans

Number of Vacancies 4 Number of Meetings 6 meetings around 2 hours each in the Evening

Closing Date

01 May 2017

view into the melon ground

Image: Courtesy of Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Trust


Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Trust (Birmingham area)

A Trustee/Hon. Treasurer to maintain an overview of the financial affairs and to prepare for annual audits. We need accountant level support, especially to drive through the transition to more modern software and systems integrated with our growing café, retail and membership/volunteer base. We are a very small charity with minimal staff but loyal volunteers – who ably manage day to day transactions and management, but need help to go ‘cloudwards’. 4 trustee meetings per year, but more time likely to be needed to effect the change.”


Contact Details and Simon Cleaver, Chair of Trustees

Number of Vacancies 1 Number of Meetings 4 and preparation of accounts etc. Evening Meetings

Closing Date

Open until position filled


Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust (Somerset)

The Trust is looking for new Trustees too continue and to build upon the work the that has been ongoing for the past 50 years; that of keeping alive the history and importance of the Somerset and Dorset Railway through preservation, custodianship, display and interpretation of material evidence. We are seeking a new generation of Trustees to assist in developing the Trust for the future. All applicants are welcome; we are particularly interested in hearing from those with experience in the following: Development Planning (preferably with some knowledge of HLF funding), Forward Planning, Management of Volunteers (Including Recruitment) and Publicity/Press.


Number of Vacancies 4 Number of Meetings 6 Board Daytime Meetings

Contact Details Godfrey Baker Tel. 01308 424630 Chairman-Godfrey Baker

Closing Date



Gilbert White’s and the Oates Collections (Hampshire)

Gilbert White’s and the Oates Collections is a go-ahead and innovative independent museum in Selborne, north east Hampshire. We were founded by a member of the Oates family to commemorate the 18th century naturalist Gilbert White, and Captain Lawrence Oates, the polar explorer, and Frank Oates, who explored in Southern Africa and central America in the late nineteenth century. We offer exhibitions on all three men, and in addition White’s garden, restored to its 18th century designs, and a Field Studies Centre visited by 4000 school children a year. Current visitor numbers are 22,000 and these are expected to grow considerably over the next few years. With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund we will shortly start the delivery of a £3m project to improve the museum’s facilities and interpretation, and to promote resilience and sustainability for the foreseeable future. We have excellent staff and a committed, specialist and energetic group of trustees. A chartered accountant is sought by Gilbert White’s and the Oates Collections to join the trustees with particular responsibility for the oversight of management accounting and the annual final report and accounts. You would be joining a high quality and friendly group of trustees and ideally would need to live within 30 miles of Selborne (postcode GU34 3JH). There are four trustee meetings a year, and four meetings of the Executive and Finance Committee which examines the organisation’s work and finances in detail every quarter. We have excellent staff, including two Co-Directors and a strong accounting team. Our charity business structure is currently being reorganised to reflect modern requirements This role would suit a recently-retired or self-employed individual seeking to join a strong team at the start of a very interesting time.


Number of Vacancies 1 Number of Meetings 8 daytime meetings plus occasional visits

Contact Details Chairman of Trustees, Dr Rosemary Irwin  Emmail:

Closing Date



Coldharbour Mill Trust (Devon)

We’re looking to recruit trustees with experience and expertise primarily in business/finance management, marketing/PR/events management, fund-raising/income generation, heritage management/museum development, building project management. Also in retail, catering, law, textile production/engineering, education. Established 1982 in an 18th century former spinning mill, this small independent museum relies chiefly on donations, grants and self-generated income from admissions and events. Our USP is that visitors see yarn and textile production on vintage machinery, also the factory’s original power sources. A recent substantive HLF grant kick-started an ambitious long-term Development Plan, aiming to establish our Museum as premier textile heritage centre in SW UK.


Number of Vacancies 4 Number of Meetings

12 daytime midweek board meetings approx 2 hours, plus committee/working party meetings as required

Contact Details

For more information or to register interest, please contact Mrs S G Wasfi, Board Secretary, c/o the address given above, or email:

Closing Date



Launching Soon: New AIM Website

If you view the AIM website regularly at then keep checking for some exciting new developments, as the current AIM website is about to undergo a transformation that will help members make the most of their visits. The new website has been designed to make AIM information and opportunities much easier for members to find by bringing together resources on similar topics in the same pages to make them user friendly and all pages have been created to be viewable on mobile phones and tablets so you can stay in touch with AIM on the move.

The new website will include all the regular AIM online content but this will be combined with new useful categories such as a Latest News section which will cover hot topics, funding opportunities, jobs and events to help keep members informed. The AIM Hallmarks of Prospering Museums also has a designated section and fresh content will be added to this in the coming year. A menu at the side of the page will help you find information about AIM grant schemes quickly and there is also a brand-new section specifically for trustees of heritage organisations.

AIM HP Image

“We know members find AIM’s website really useful – our survey last year showed it was one of the top five things we provide – so we think the new site is going to be really popular. We know that the new design is going to make a real difference to how easy it is for people to find the support and advice they are looking for and most importantly, we want members to be able to find out more about what each other are doing through the introduction of case studies and stories from different museums across the UK,” said Tamalie Newbery, AIM’s Executive Director.

Developed with the support of Grit Digital in Norfolk, the new AIM website will be more dynamic and AIM’s social media platforms will be viewable on the homepage to allow even more opportunities for interaction between AIM and its members. The new website will form the basis of AIM’s wider digital communications and is more tailored to AIM members’ needs and expectations in the digital world that we live in today.

“We have listened to feedback from our members and we have improved the functionality of the site and reworked its visual appeal to include interactive elements and modern imagery and we hope the new layout will help to save AIM members time when searching for what they need,” said Sassy Hicks, Membership, Marketing and Projects Manager at AIM.

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Consultants Appointed for Diversifying Museum Visitors Project

Julie Aldridge Associates with Mel Larsen and Pam Jarvis have been appointed to undertake a ground breaking project that will help museums to increase the diversity of their visitors.

The key focus of the project will be on providing tools and guidance to help museums make long-term change in their organisations to achieve this. It will focus on how to attract more people to a museum’s core offer, rather than engaging with them through special projects, which are increasingly challenging to sustain in the current financial climate. The consultants will be working directly with museums, using co-production techniques, to investigate the challenges and develop ways of helping museums make the progress they want to in this area.

The project is being led by the Association of Independent Museums (AIM). The project steering group includes AIM and four other organisations who are funding the project – Arts Council England, the Museums Archives and Libraries Division of the Welsh Government, Museums Galleries Scotland and National Museums Northern Ireland – as well as the Museums Association and people working in museums that have specialised in this area. The project will cover museums of all types, across the whole UK.

Black Country Living Museum

Image: Courtesy of Black Country Living Museum, Dudley

Tamalie Newbery, Executive Director of AIM, said “There has been a huge amount of interest in this project already. By attracting new audiences, museums better fulfil their missions and increase their sustainability, so it is an extremely important area on which to focus. AIM’s 2016 research into the impact of admission charges, ‘Taking Charge’, showed that free admission is not enough to attract more diverse visitors by itself. We know that lots of museums, whether free-entry or charging for admission, are very committed to diversifying their visitors, but it often seems hard to achieve. This project will look at why that is and how some museums have overcome those challenges.”

Julie Aldridge Associates with Mel Larsen and Pam Jarvis were appointed from a very strong field, after an open call for proposals. Julie Aldridge commented, “We’re delighted to be appointed to work on this significant and timely programme.  We’ve come together as a trio of consultants to combine experience – across visitor development, diversity and inclusion, research, and producing resources and development programmes – to support and enable museums to achieve their ambitions.”

“We were particularly interested in taking part due to the co-creation emphasis that the steering group suggested for this work.  We believe this approach is vital to creating something that works well for a broad mix of museums and helps overcome both internal and external barriers.  We will shortly be announcing opportunities to get involved in the project and will be looking for people interested in exploring it with us, to share knowledge, inspire ideas, and to try out, test, and help shape the development of a practical toolkit designed to support people to make a significant impact in diversifying museum visitors.”

The results of the research are expected to be launched in the Autumn.


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Museums And Heritage Sites Can Sign Up for Children’s Art Week 2017

engage, the National Association for Gallery Education, has just announced that Children’s Art Week is back for 2017, running from Saturday 10 until Sunday 18 June. Venues and schools across the UK are urged to sign up and participate in this growing campaign to spark children’s imaginations and encourage their creativity.

Events can be held almost anywhere; from galleries, arts centres and museums, to libraries, heritage sites, schools and community centres. In 2016 more than 13,000 people took part in 109 events across 95 venues. The intention of the organisers is to make 2017’s Children’s Art Week bigger and more successful than it’s ever been before.

ARMA 2014 Workshops / New Walk Museum and Art Gallery / Maria Za

Venues interested in organising an event can register on the Children’s Art Week website until 8 May. The first 45 venues to register will be offered £50 grant towards costs. Participating venues will receive support to run, publicise and brand their events, including stickers, logos and press release templates.

Thanks to the support of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts (NADFAS), engage are offering 10 grants of £75 on a first come, first served basis, to venues who wish to hold a visual arts event with a NADFAS society, or for NADFAS societies who partner with a museum, gallery or visual arts organisation on a visual arts event.

Please note that only one grant can be awarded per organisation/gallery/museum. If you receive a £75 grant, you will not be eligible for the £50 grant.

 For further information please visit

You can also follow engage on Twitter @engagevisualart  

Or use the hashtag #ChildrensArtWeek for updates, or search for ‘engageinthevisualarts’ on Facebook.

LOGO Children's Art Week 10 - 18 JUNE 2017

Participants In Round 2 Of The AIM Leaders And Enablers Programme Announced

We are delighted to announce the participants in Round 2 of the AIM Hallmarks Leaders and Enablers Programme. Both programmes aim to equip participants to help museums prosper using the AIM Hallmarks and the programmes combine insight from museum practitioners with new perspectives from the broader charities sector. This combination offers fresh ways to think about the challenges museums face. Participants on the Leaders programme are either museum directors or senior managers, while the Enablers are museum development staff and consultants.

Both groups will take part in a series of Residential learning events over the coming months, with the opportunity to support each other through Action Learning sets. Hilary Barnard and Ruth Lesirge, our programme facilitators, both bring a wealth of senior management and governance experience and are constantly on the lookout for interesting examples and case studies which will get debate and discussion flowing.

The programmes have been supported by Arts Council England with additional funding support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and AIM. AIM would like to congratulate all successful candidates taking part in both programmes.

Beamish Museum 1900s Town

Participants from across the UK are taking part in the 2017 AIM Leaders and Enablers Programme (Photo credit: Beamish Museum)

The participants are:


Anthony Hayes – Volunteer and Operations Manager, the Pen Museum

Chris Price – General Manager and Director, North York Moors Railway

Celyn Gurden-Williams – Head of People Development, Beamish Living Museum of the North

Ernestos Karydis – Manager, Arundel Museum

Margaret Harrison – Collections Manager, Canal and River Trust

Miranda Rowlands – Shared Enterprise Project Officer, Norfolk Museums Service

Rebecca Nash – Director, Royal Engineers Museum, Library and Archive

Sarah Bardwell – General Director, Britten-Pears Foundation

Tonia Collett – Museum Manager, the Tudor House Museum

Vicky Hope-Walker – Project Manager, National Paralympic Heritage Trust

Victoria Rogers – Museum Manager, Cardiff Story Museum

Wesley Salton – Head of Development, London Transport Museum


 Working in Museum Development:

 Bryony Robbins – Museum Development Officer, Cornwall Museums Partnership

Claire Walsh – Hertfordshire Museum Development Officer

Liz Denton – Museum Development Yorkshire

Lynn Podmore – Museum Development, Conwy

Lynsey Jones – Museum Development North West

Rachel Bellamy – Community Heritage and Museums Development Officer for Somerset

 And working independently:

 Claire Turner – independent consultant

Dana Andrew – independent consultant

Fiona Marshall – independent consultant

Jenny Williams – from Take the Space creative agency

Mairead O’Rourke – independent consultant

Kate Elliott – DBA consulting

Rachel Souhami – independent consultant


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Opportunity to take part on AIM Leaders

Unfortunately, one of our participants on the Leaders programme has had to withdraw because of unforeseen personal circumstances, so we have the possibility of a last-minute place for a leader from an Accredited museum, in either England, Scotland or Wales. If you are interested, please contact Helen Wilkinson, as soon as possible for further information.


Data Protection and Charities: The new General Data Protection Regulation – Be Prepared


Trustees have particular responsibilities for data protection and trustees’ responsibilities are set to increase later this year, with the anticipated launch of a Fundraising Preference Service, following the establishment of the new Fundraising Regulator. Next year, from May 2018, there will be further new regulations, including changes to the way charities and other organisations have to obtain consent for holding personal data from visitors, donors and others they work with.

The following article is particularly relevant to larger organisations with a wide-range of fundraising methods and data-handling responsibilities. AIM will publish additional guidance for smaller organisations later this year, focusing on the elements of changes likely to be most relevant to the relatively simple data-handling processes of most museums.

Jackie Gray, a partner, and Emma Dewar, a solicitor, who specialise in data protection issues at Bond Dickinson LLP, have kindly written the following article for AIM members on ‘Data Protection and Charities: The new General Data Protection Regulation’.  You can find out more about the lawyers at Bond Dickinson LLP who can provide assistance to museums by visiting their website at Bond Dickinson LLP

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Compliance with data protection law has long been an area with which charities have struggled. All charities must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), including eight core data protection principles, when dealing with any personal information about individuals. Trustees must therefore make sure that they have put in place sufficient and suitable internal practices and controls to address the considerable risks that non-compliance creates. This includes enforcement action by the regulator, the Information Commissioner, who has the power to fine organisations up to £500,000 for serious breaches. The recent fines and public castigation of the practices at the RSPCA and British Heart Foundation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in December 2016, are examples of the financial and reputational risks faced by charity trustees who do not ensure that their charity is fully compliant with all aspects of data protection law.

The new Fundraising Regulator

Indeed, it is the non-compliance with aspects of data protection law by some high profile charities which resulted in the fundraising scandals which engulfed the charity sector over the last two years. As a result, we have seen the creation of a new Fundraising Regulator, the creation of new laws and we are anticipating the launch of a Fundraising Preference Service in late spring/summer of 2017. The Fundraising Preference Service will be a system which enables people to stop receiving fundraising material from charities and will work alongside the existing Telephone Preference Service and the Mail Preference Service.

ICO Guidance

The ICO updated its guidance for charities on Direct Marketing in May 2016 (Guidance), which provides a useful overview of the specific rules which apply to the use of personal information for marketing purposes. The ICO has also produced a helpful sector-specific webinar for charities, together with a list of  “Top five data protection Tips”  for small and medium sized charities, which explains how charities can comply with the data protection principles, including only collecting personal information that your charity needs for specific purposes, which are explained to individuals in privacy notices. The Guidance also highlights that personal information needs to be accurate and up to date, securely held, and retained only for as long as is necessary.

Changes to Data Protection Law from May 2018

Before the Brexit vote, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation) was expected to become law in the UK (as it will across the EU) on 25 May 2018, replacing the DPA. As it now appears unlikely that the UK will leave the EU before 2019 at the earliest, the Regulation is expected to come into force as planned. In addition, the Regulation is expected to remain (broadly) in force once the UK leaves the EU, not least so as to ensure that personal data can continue to flow between organisations in the UK and the EU. This is also the view of the ICO, who explained following the Brexit vote, that:

 “…if the UK wants to trade with the Single Market on equal terms we would have to prove ‘adequacy’ – in other words UK data protection standards would have to be equivalent to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation framework starting in 2018. With so many businesses and services operating across borders, international consistency around data protection laws and rights is crucial both to businesses and organisations and to consumers and citizens.”

The ICO has also recently made clear that, if Parliament begins to debate making amendments to the Regulation in the years following Brexit, the ICO will be “at the centre of any conversations around this, and will be banging our drum for continued protection and rights for consumers and clear laws for organisations”.

Steps to take to comply with the Regulation

Therefore, museums should ensure they are taking steps, or continuing to take steps to prepare for the Regulation becoming law in May 2018, as planned. In particular, the Regulation will introduce a number of changes to the current law on data protection which charity trustees need to be aware of. We have set out an overview of some of the key changes below that are likely to be relevant to museums.

1: Accountability and increased fines for non-compliance

Under the Regulation, organisations will no longer be required to register with the ICO. Instead, museums will need to keep their own detailed records of their processing activities, including what personal data they process, about whom, for what purposes, the legal basis for the processing, with whom they share personal data, how long they keep personal data, security measures in place to protect personal data and, if they transfer personal data outside of the EEA, on what legal basis. There is also a new accountability principle which will require organisations to demonstrate that they comply with the Regulation. The new Regulation will therefore significantly raise the compliance bar and fines for non-compliance will increase dramatically from the current maximum level of £500,000 to up to a maximum of 4% of annual worldwide turnover or €20,000,000 (whichever is the higher).

2: Consent

 A new definition of “consent” will require consent to be informed, specific, freely given, unambiguous and capable of being withdrawn at any time. Museums will therefore need to consider where they currently rely on consent to justify the processing of personal data and consider whether this is an appropriate basis or if another legal basis is more appropriate. If a museum’s trustees decide that consent is retained as a basis for processing personal data, the museum will need to ensure that the consent will meet the new requirements, keep records which evidence the consent provided and be prepared to deal with situations where consent is not given or withdrawn.

  3: Privacy Notices

 The new Regulation will require very specific information to be given to individuals about how an organisation processes personal data in Privacy Notices. There is also a new legal requirement in the Regulation to ensure that Privacy Notices are concise, transparent, intelligible, easily accessible and written in clear language. Museums are advised to put in place or review and update their Privacy Notices to explain to their trustees, employees, volunteers, customers, donors, friends, patrons and other individuals how and why they process their personal data.

4: Access to Personal Data and Rights of Individuals

 An individual’s  right of access to personal data will be retained but in most cases the museum’s ability to charge a fee will be abolished. In addition, the new Regulation gives individuals a number of additional rights, including the right to be ‘forgotten’ and in certain circumstances the right to restrict processing of personal data.  These rights may impact on how museums collect, use, hold and/or retain personal data, and museums will need to ensure they are aware of what individuals are (and are not) entitled to.

 5: Personal Data Breaches

 Currently, if there is a data security breach, there is no legal requirement on a museum to report this to the ICO although, if the breach is serious, this is recommended good practice. Under the new Regulation it will be a requirement for personal data breaches which are likely to result in risks to individuals, to be reported to the ICO without undue delay and, where feasible, within 72 hours. Where there is a high risk to individuals as a result of the breach, there may also be a requirement to notify the breach to individuals. Museums are advised to consider the adoption of a Security Breach Management Policy which will go some way towards assisting museums meet these requirements.

6: Data Processing Contracts

Where a museum appoints a third party to process personal data on its behalf, such as by outsourcing its IT support or HR and payroll systems, currently it needs to ensure that it has a written contract in place which contains certain provisions to comply with the DPA. Under the new Regulation data processing contracts will need to contain a number of additional provisions and the museum and the data processor will have certain additional responsibilities in relation to the data processing. Museums will therefore need to review and update their data processing contracts to ensure they can meet these new requirements.

How should trustees of museums prepare?

By the time the Regulation comes into force in May 2018, museums will be expected to have carried out staff training and have records, policies and procedures in place which deal with many of the key compliance matters outlined above, including:

*privacy policies;

*updated written data processing contracts;

*processes for dealing with data breaches and assessing when and how to notify; and

*ensuring that any activities involving the processing of personal data reflect and embody the principles of data protection, both “by design” and “by default”.

Given the breadth and depth of the changes to data protection law that are afoot, we recommend that trustees consider whether they need to seek advice in relation to the new Regulation.

Jackie Gray, a partner, and Emma Dewar, a solicitor, who specialise in data protection issues at Bond Dickinson LLP would be more than happy to discuss the ways in which they can help your museum to make and implement the necessary changes to your existing policies and procedures ahead of the Regulation coming into force. If you would like to contact Jackie Gray, please email her at

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AIM Hallmarks Awards: Final Round Now Open For Applications

The third and final round of the AIM Hallmarks Awards is now open for AIM members in England and Wales with applications closing on 15 May 2017. Offering grants of between £5,000 and £15,000, the AIM Hallmarks Awards help AIM member museums and heritage sites to begin to use the principles in the AIM Hallmarks to improve the way they work.

This can involve either review and planning, or taking forward new ways of working. For example, in Round 1 of the AIM Hallmarks Awards, The Lightbox Museum and Art Gallery in Woking used their grant to work more effectively with millennials, which you can read about HERE. Organisational review projects funded include one for Amgeudffa Pontypool Museum.

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The Lightbox Museum and Art Gallery in Woking used their grant to work more effectively with millennials (Photo credit: The Lightbox)

Work funded by an AIM Hallmarks Award must be demonstrably central to an applicant museum’s organisational development and closely linked to the museum’s strategic plan. Where possible, we are keen for projects to innovate, trialling approaches or ways of working which are either wholly new to the museum sector, or new to museums of a particular kind or size. In Round 2, for example, the Royal West of England Academy received funding to trial offering executive training away days to corporate clients as a means of income generation.

Helen Wilkinson, AIM Assistant Director, said: “We’re really open to a wide range of proposals – either for doing some serious thinking about the future of your museum, or testing out an idea you already have. We’re looking for fresh thinking and energy above all else – could you use a Hallmark Award to lay the foundations for a new way of working?”

Who Has Already Benefitted From An AIM Hallmarks Award?

In the second round of awards, five were made to museums and heritage sites in England, and three to museums in Wales.

Successful applicants in England were:

Radstock Museum in Somerset, awarded £12,000 for a project to remodel the main permanent displays in the gallery to reflect its name change to Somerset Coalfield Life at Radstock Museum. In doing so, the museum hopes to attract a wider and more diverse audience and enhance their learning offer to engage schools.

Seven Stories and the Mary Rose Trust both awarded funding for in house programmes of leadership development for staff (£8720 for Mary Rose Trust and £11,660 for Seven Stories).

Priest’s House Museum, Dorset, awarded £10,000 for an organisational review.

Brantwood Trust, awarded £7,842.00 for a project to share Ruskin’s ideas with a wider audience through collections digitisation and videos for its website.

Royal West of England Academy, awarded £9,060.00 for a project to develop packages of executive development training, using the museum’s collections, as a means of income generation.


Priest’s House Museum, Dorset, awarded £10,000 for an organisational review

And in Wales:

Cardiff Story Museum awarded £8000 for a marketing review, to enable it to improve its financial resilience.

Rhayader Museum and Gallery, awarded £10,590 for a project to document local town and country shows, using volunteers in innovative ways.

Pontypool Museum, awarded £5000 towards the costs of an organisational review.

How To Apply

AIM Hallmarks Awards in England

AIM Hallmarks Awards in Wales

The third round of the AIM Hallmarks Awards is now open for AIM members in England and Wales with applications closing on 15 May 2017.

If you are considering making an application to the final round of the Hallmarks Awards, guidance notes to support your application are available here AIM Hallmarks Awards

Or you can email Helen Wilkinson on






AIM Launches Collection Care Audit Scheme For Smaller Museums

AIM has just launched a new scheme in partnership with Icon to enable small museums to undertake a basic, professional collections care audit. The audits will be carried out by an accredited conservator to help smaller AIM members (museums with up to 20,000 visitors a year) identify key issues and priorities for their museum.

Funded by the Pilgrim Trust, the scheme will support museums to care for their collections more effectively and efficiently in the long-term, to meet the standards required for Accreditation and will give museums the option to undertake an audit before making a full application to the AIM Collections Care Grant Scheme.


Part of the collections at The Coffin Works, Birmingham 

The funded support will be £1,050 (£350 per day) plus travel and VAT if necessary to cover the costs of the accredited conservator undertaking the audit. Grants will be paid in full to the museum on agreement of the Audit and receipt of the conservator’s report. The grant pays for three days’ work, not all of which will be onsite at the museum.

Applications are now open with a closing date of 31 March. Full information about the scheme and an application form can be found here: AIM Collections Care Audit Scheme