3 x Trustees - British Museum

Body: British Museum
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: Board and Committee meetings are usually held at the Museum.
Number of Vacancies: 3
Remuneration: No
Time Requirements: Successful candidates will need to spend time familiarising themselves with the Museum and its workings and keeping that knowledge up to date. The Board meets four times a year, with most meetings and associated activities lasting half a day and one meeting usually spent away from the Museum over a weekend. Most Trustees also serve on one or more committees or advisory groups, each meeting around three to four times a year. Additional time will be required to study papers, to attend events at the Museum, including fundraising events, and to represent the Museum at other functions.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

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Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    04/01/2021 at 17:00

  • Panel Sift

    w/c 25th January

  • Final Interview Date

    w/c 1st March

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description


The British Museum holds the greatest collection in the world representative of human cultural achievement, ancient and modern. It was founded by Parliament in 1753 with the purpose of preserving and maintaining the collection “not only for the inspection and entertainment of the learned and curious, but for the general use and benefit of the public”. That founding purpose remains true today. It is a centre of research and inquiry at all levels, providing a forum for the expression of many different cultural perspectives and a place to increase understanding of the cultural connections and influences linking people of both the UK and the world – it is a museum of the world, for the world.    

The British Museum holds a unique collection of over 8 million objects and employs about 1,000 staff. It is the leading visitor attraction in the UK, receiving over six million visitors a year before the COVID-19 pandemic; one in five tourists to London visits the Museum. It has extensive partnerships across the UK, with nine million people a year seeing a British Museum object outside of London. It is the world’s most generous lender of objects and has an extensive programme of international touring exhibitions, consultancy and training.

Since its foundation, the Museum has been governed by a Board of Trustees responsible for ensuring that the collection is housed in safety and is available for study and enjoyment by current and future generations in the UK and across the world. 

The Board comprises 25 Trustees, drawn from a broad range of people with diverse skills and experience, reflecting the Museum’s national and international role, as well as its mixed public, charitable and commercial business model. The Trustees provide vision, direction, control and accountability in fulfilling the Museum’s public purpose. They uphold the highest levels of probity, financial stewardship and corporate performance.   

For more information about the British Museum and for a list of current Trustees, please visit the About us section of the Museum’s website: www.britishmuseum.org

Role Description

The British Museum Board wishes to recruit three Trustees: two to fill current vacancies and one for a vacancy from January 2021.

The British Museum has been transformed over the last 15 years, but it faces many challenges which the Trustees will have to address to ensure that it continues to thrive and to maintain its world-class position. Trustees will have to respond to the economic challenge posed by reductions in public funding over recent years, and more recently, by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to exercise their fiduciary responsibilities to the Museum at a time of increased debate about its role and purpose. Trustees also need to lead a fundamental reshaping of the presentation of the collections both physically, intellectually and digitally, and to oversee the development and implementation of long-term plans to improve the building to make it fit for purpose over the next century.

Term of Appointment

Four years.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

All successful candidates will demonstrate:

  • An understanding of and commitment to the objectives and work of the British Museum as a museum of the world for the world.
  • A commitment to Trustees’ fiduciary responsibilities, which are to preserve and enhance the collection for the benefit of present and future generations, and to make it as freely accessible as possible.
  • A commitment to supporting the Museum’s role in preserving cultural heritage, and in using the collection to support education and the understanding of British and world cultures and history.
  • Proven ability to take responsibility and demonstrate sound judgement in strategic decision-making ability.
  • A commitment to supporting fundraising activities.
  • Excellent communications and representational skills.
  • A clear understanding of the principles of good corporate governance.

The British Museum is also keen to attract those with strong international ties, including those based outside the UK.

In making its final recommendation to the Prime Minister, the advisory panel will take account of the need to maintain diversity of the Board.

Additional Information

Disability Confident

We guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the minimum criteria for the role. By ‘minimum criteria’ we mean that you must provide evidence in your application which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria.

If you wish to apply under this scheme, please state this in the covering email or letter when submitting your application.

Reasonable adjustments

If you would like a confidential discussion regarding any reasonable adjustments during the process, please also indicate this in the covering email or letter.

If you are not completely satisfied

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy. If you have any complaints about the way your application has been handled, please contact publicappointments@dcms.gov.uk.

Supporting information

This process is regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ (OCPA‘s) Code of Practice. All applicants are expected to have adhered to the Seven Principles of Public Life.

Eligibility Criteria 

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you become bankrupt or make an arrangement with a creditor
  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors;
  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986;
  • you have been convicted of a criminal offence, the conviction not being spent for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c. 53);
  • you become subject to a debt relief order or a bankruptcy restrictions order;
  • you fail to declare any conflict of interest.

Conflicts of Interest and Due Diligence

If you have any interests that might be relevant to the work of the British Museum, and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your application. If you have queries about this and would like to discuss further please contact the Public Appointments Team.

Given the nature of public appointments, it is important that those appointed as members of public bodies maintain the confidence of Parliament and the public. If there are any issues in your personal or professional history that could, if you were appointed, be misconstrued, cause embarrassment, or cause public confidence in the appointment to be jeopardised, it is important that you bring them to the attention of the Advisory Assessment Panel and provide details of the issue(s) in the statement supporting your application. In considering whether you wish to declare any issues, you should also reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media.

As part of our due diligence checks we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This will include us undertaking searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. This information may be made available to the Advisory Assessment Panel and they may wish to explore issues with you should you be invited to interview. The information may also be shared with ministers and the Cabinet Office.

How to Apply

To apply, please send:

  • a CV of not more than two sides of A4
  • a supporting statement of not more than three sides of A4, providing examples and setting out how you meet the criteria
  • the Diversity Monitoring Form concerning your personal information and political activity
  • the Declaration of Interests Form, and
  • the Trustee Declaration Form.

Completed applications should be emailed to: publicappointments@dcms.gov.uk

Please put ‘British Museum Trustee’ in the Subject line.

If you have any questions about the appointments process, please email: anders.eriksen@dcms.gov.uk

Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies
Declaration of Conflicts of Interest Form
Diversity Monitoring Form
OCPA Complaints Procedure
Public Appointments Privacy Notice 2020
FINAL - Role specification for British Museum Trustee Appointments 2020
Trustee Declaration Form
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