Arts charities get guidance on conflicts of interest

New guidelines for arts charities on conflicts of interest have been introduced by the Charity Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The new guidance outlines how to handle trustees’ direct and indirect financial gain, and with conflicts of loyalty. It will serve galleries, museums and libraries, and will identify instances in which they should seek guidance from the commission.

The commission and the DCMS decided to produce guidance nearly two years ago after a case in which the Tate Gallery bought artworks from its own trustees without first getting permission. At the time, the commission said it was “very disappointed” with the Tate’s practices.

“It is highly likely that many arts charities will face conflicts of interest at some point,” said David Locke, director of charity services at the Charity Commission. “When even the appearance of a conflict can damage a charity’s reputation, it’s important that such instances are properly handled.

The guidance is called Charitable Museums and Galleries: a guide to conflicts of interest policies, trustee benefits and transactions between trustees and charities. It is available from the DCMS website.

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