15F6 Governance | Natural History Museum

Governance

An historic group photograph of staff on the Museum's front steps

The Museum is managed by the Museum Director and the Executive Board.

Museum Director Sir Michael Dixon reports to the Board of Trustees. Eight of the 12 Trustees are appointed by the Prime Minister and one (Royal Society Trustee) by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The remaining three are appointed by the board itself.

Originally the natural history departments of the British Museum, the Natural History Museum became a separate entity through the British Museum Act 1963. We were known as the British Museum (Natural History) until we officially became the Natural History Museum through the Museums and Galleries Act 1992.

Trustee vacancies

The Museum currently has two vacancies for trustees. Applications for the vacancies have recently closed.

Trustee role specification PDF (228KB)

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees meets four times a year and is responsible for overseeing the management of the Museum and the appointment of the Museum Director, currently Sir Michael Dixon.

The board is composed of 12 members: eight Trustees are selected by the Prime Minister, one (Royal Society Trustee) is nominated by the DCMS and three are chosen by the board itself. Trustees are appointed for four years, and may serve a second consecutive four-year term before standing down.

The current members of the Board of Trustees are:

Trustees' register of interests PDF (53KB)

Board of Trustees meeting minutes:

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

Executive Board

The Executive Board is responsible for running the Museum under the leadership of the Museum Director, who is app 601F ointed by the Board of Trustees.

The Executive Board approves the Museum's policies, procedures, programmes and projects. It formulates and monitors the Museum's corporate plan, delegates decision-making responsibilities to other management groups where appropriate, and has collective responsibility for the entire Museum.

The current members of the Executive Board are:

  • Sir Michael Dixon – Museum Director
  • Prof Ian Owens – Director of Science
  • Dr Justin Morris – Director of Public Engagement
  • Neil Greenwood – Director of Finance and Corporate Services
  • Fiona McWilliams – Director of Development and Communications

Directors' register of interests PDF (82KB)

Audit and Risk Committee

The Audit and Risk Committee is a committee of the Board of Trustees.

It provides the board with assurance that adequate corporate governance, risk management and internal control processes are in place and working effectively. It also reviews the board's code of practice, register of interests and code of conduct for staff.

The current members of the Audit and Risk Committee are:

  • Chair - Hilary Newiss
  • Prof Christopher Gilligan
  • Mr Colin Hudson (co-opted)
  • Mr Robert Noel

Those who attend the committee’s meetings include:

  • Sir Michael Dixon - Museum Director and Accounting Officer
  • Jan Day - Head of Risk and Assurance
  • Mr Neil Greenwood - Director of Finance
  • External audit representatives

Audit and Risk Committee's register of interests PDF (64KB)
Audit and Risk Committee's terms of reference PDF (34KB)

Audit and Risk Committee meeting minutes: 

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

The Museum maintains a register of gifts and hospitality which is reviewed by the Audit Committee. Information can be made available upon request.

Information on allowances and expenses can be made available on request.

Funding

The majority of the Museum’s funding comes from government grant-in-aid through the DCMS. This funding is set for a number of years, and the Museum provides reports to the DCMS on how it has met its agreed targets.

The remainder of the funding for our core work comes from fundraising and the Museum’s commercial activities, which are conducted through the Natural History Museum Trading Company.

Additional funding for our scientific research is awarded by Research Councils UK, the European Union, trusts, charities and other grant-awarding bodies.

Our long-term aim is to reduce the Museum’s dependence on grant-in-aid. We are achieving this by maximising revenue from our trading operations and finding new sources of financial support for our scientific research and exhibitions.

Natural History Museum Trading Company

The Trading Company carries out the Museum’s commercial activities, which include touring exhibitions, brand management and licensing, imaging, catering, retail, events, consultancy and more.

The Trading Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Museum. No loans are given to or taken from the Museum, but there is an intercompany current account - where transactions between the two organisations are booked - that is regularly settled.

The Trading Company's Board is composed of three Trustees - the Museum Director, the Director of Public Engagement and the Director of Finance.

Trading Company Board meeting minutes:

Freedom of information (FOI)

The Freedom of Information Act gives any person the right to request information held by public authorities including the Museum.

Information that the Museum and the Trading Company proactively make available falls into seven categories under the requirements of the Information Commissioner’s Office model publication scheme:

Find out more about the Trading Company.

How to make an FOI request

Requests must be made in writing, either by email to foi@nhm.ac.uk or by letter to the Information Compliance Officer at the following address:

Information Compliance Officer

Information Management

Natural History Museum

Cromwell Road

London SW7 5BD

The Museum has a duty to inform the applicant whether the information is held, and supply it within 20 working days, if possible in the format requested.

Re-use of Museum information

If you wish to re-use the information for any purpose other than private study, non-commercial research or news reporting, you need to submit a request for re-use stating the intended purpose. This can be included in your FOI request, to be processed simultaneously; if you submit it later, the Museum may take up to another 20 working days to respond.

Exemption from disclosure

Information may be exempt from disclosure if it would affect or compromise:

  • an individual’s right under the Data Protection Act
  • the health, safety and/or security of Museum staff and visitors
  • the Museum’s commercial confidentiality
  • the protection of the environment under the Environmental Information Regulations

Charges

Generally no charge is made for responding to FOI requests. If the work required to deal with a request will take more than 18 hours, the Museum is not obliged to respond. Alternatively, a fee of £25 per hour may be charged once this limit is reached. However, the applicant will be informed if this 18 hour limit is going to be exceeded, and will be given the opportunity to revise the request in order to bring it within the time frame.

Appeals procedure

If you are not satisfied by the reply to your request for information, you are entitled to appeal. The first step is to seek an internal review of the Museum’s handling of your request. Please submit your application for a review in writing to the Information Compliance Officer at the address above. The review will be undertaken by a senior member of staff who was not involved in the initial response to your request.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome or the conduct of the Museum’s internal review, you may seek an independent review from the Information Commissioner. Report your concern via the ICO website at https://ico.org.uk/concerns or call their helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Re-use of our information

The Museum complies with the Re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI) Regulations 2015 and we encourage the re-use of the information that we produce, hold and disseminate.

We are open and transparent, and treat all applications to re-use in a fair and non-discriminatory way.

Our Public Task statement and Asset List contains:

  • main categories of information that can be re-used
  • what re-use conditions/licences apply
  • where to find information on charges
  • how to submit a re-use request
  • how to make a complaint if you are not satisfied

Download the Museum's Public Task statement and Asset List PDF (218KB) (including licence terms).

Exclusive arrangements

We have some exclusive arrangements in relation to the following activities:

  • Book publishing
  • Image licensing in select countries

For further information, please contact us.

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