Mendoza Review Action Plan and Partnership Framework 10/10/2018

The Mendoza Review of Museums in England, published in November 2017, recommended closer working between DCMS, major cultural funders and policy bodies to create greater strategic focus. A newly published Action Plan created in collaboration with Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund details how Government supports museums in England, covering a range of existing commitments and some new actions DCMS will take to improve its strategic role for museums, including the creation of a policy team responsible for delivering the Mendoza Review. Points include:

  • There are 12 central government departments with an interest in museums, from the Department for Education to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. DCMS will create a new annual event to bring them together to discuss museums strategy and goals.
  • ACE and HLF have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (see article below).
  • DCMS is beginning work with ACE and other arms-length bodies to make a strong case for museums ahead of the next Spending Review.
  • There is currently no single source bringing together a unified picture of museum funding and activity across England. DCMS will explore creating a new tool that will bring together data from government, ACE and other sources to offer a clearer picture.

National museums, via NMDC, are also working with DCMS to respond to the Mendoza Review recommendation to create a ‘Partnership Framework’ to extend their reach throughout England. The Framework states national museums' commitment to working with the wider sector to ensure that partnership working is more strategic and better communicated, and that evidence of impact and best practice is collected and shared more widely.

Both the Partnership Framework and the implementation plan published alongside the DCMS Action Plan are intended as working documents, so actions will continue to evolve through ongoing discussion with colleagues across the sector. This iterative approach aims to enable development of the most practical and valuable responses to the current and future needs of the museum sector and its audiences. The Mendoza Review highlighted and identified some of these needs, and subsequent evidence gathered through the Framework will further add to understanding. Plans include:

  • Tri-annual meetings of national museums’ partnership leads to share information and evaluation of partnership activity and discuss action to address strategic needs or gaps.
  • A nominated NMDC museum director to champion partnership working, with the role being taken by IWM Director-General Diane Lees for the first year.
  • Collation of information (primarily through ACE) on the needs of regional museums and audiences to inform decision-making and develop a more strategic approach.
  • An annual professional exchange event, organised with colleagues from across the sector, to network and respond to regional and thematic needs.
  • Annual data collection from national museums on sharing collections and expertise to create an annual report.
  • NMDC’s revised guidelines on lending, being  developed in consultation with colleagues across the sector, will also seek to enable more effective, strategic and frequent UK loans.

.DCMS, DCMS blog (Neil Mendoza), Gov.uk (Museums Action Plan) Gov.uk (Partnership Framework), Museums Journal