Agenda item

Barbican Centre Board

To consider amendments to the constitution and terms of reference of the Barbican Centre Board.




(Deputy Tom Sleigh)

11 November 2020

Barbican Centre Board: Review of Composition and Terms of Reference

The Barbican Centre Board had recently considered its governance arrangements with a view to determining whether or not they remained fit for purpose, or where improvements might be achieved. This was of particular salience for the Barbican given the challenging circumstances arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, together with other emerging challenges affecting the cultural sector more generally.


Following its deliberations, the Board now wished to progress changes to:

·         its composition and, in particular, its ability to increase the external expertise available to it (by two additional individuals);

·         its own rules in relation to term limits, where a lack of clarity had become apparent (applying a consistent nine-year limit on membership); and,

·         a minor amendment to the Board’s Terms of Reference, to reflect better the Barbican’s creative learning activities and the Board’s oversight thereof.


These recommendations had been considered and supported by the Policy & Resources Committee at its November 2020 meeting.


It was noted that the outcomes of Lord Lisvane’s comprehensive Governance Review would also reflect on the Barbican Board’s governance. The Board’s proposals at this stage were intended to be complementary to any Barbican-specific recommendations that emerged from Members’ wider consideration of that Review over the longer-term, facilitating the effective implementation of proposals within the context of the Barbican’s current needs, whilst also taking into account best practice across the arts sector and comparator institutions.


Resolved – That approval be granted in respect of:

1.      An alteration to the composition of the Barbican Centre Board, to allow for two additional external Members (see paragraphs 5-11).

2.      The consistent application of a nine-year term limit across the Barbican Centre Board’s membership, applying to all Members (see paragraphs 12-20).

3.      A clarification in respect of the Board’s Terms of Reference in relation to the Barbican’s creative learning activities (see paragraphs 21-27).

The consequent amendments to the Constitution and Terms of Reference as set out at Appendix 1.

Supporting documents: