Governance – Barnsley Museums & Heritage Trust

What led to you seeking support from AIM?

Whilst addressing the resilience of Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust (BMHT) in response to the pandemic, issues around diversity and succession planning within the current Board of Trustees were identified. In order to address these issues and strengthen our board and support future sustainability we sought support from the AIM Prospering Boards programme.

We were successful with our application and in early 2021 began work with specialist consultants Hilary Barnard and Ruth Lesirge at HBRL Consulting.

Can you tell us about the process you went through with the consultant?

The process involved a number of zoom meetings with the consultants and stakeholders of the Trust including the Fundraising Manager, Barnsley Museums Lead and current Trustees to find out information about the Trust and clarify our needs and context.

This was followed by an information finding exercise whereby business plans, accounts and relevant reports and data were shared with Hilary and Ruth. This culminated in a comprehensive report with recommendations in July 2021 that was presented to the Trustees in September 2021.

The process was surprisingly quick and straightforward and whilst it involved some serious thought on our behalf it did not take up too much time.

What have been the outcomes of the consultancy support?

Since receiving the report we have reviewed our trustee recruitment practices that have involved changing the language around recruitment and offering prospective new trustees more time and support. We have also managed to recruit two new trustees using the new processes that have supported the diversification of the board and helped resolve some succession challenges.

Would you recommend AIM Prospering Boards?

I wouldn’t hesitate to encourage other charities to become involved in the programme. It really makes you think about how your board can be better developed and in our case more reflective of the beneficiaries and people who visit our museums. In our case our new trustees include a student at Barnsley College to bring the voice of young people to the Board as well as a representative from the Visitor Service Assistants who are front facing with all visitors and in a strong position to inform decision making.

Catherine Longley, Trustee, Barnsley Museums & Heritage Trust