Royal Armouries Chair x1

Body: Royal Armouries
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: Meetings will take place at the three museum sites (Leeds, Fort Nelson (near Fareham, Hampshire) and the Tower of London. Meetings may also occur at DCMS in central London.
Skills required: Business / Commercial, Communication / Media / Marketing, Transformation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: None
Time Requirements: The chair will need to commit around four working days a month to the Royal Armouries, plus other meetings and events.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    01/10/2018 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement




Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The chair has particular responsibility for ensuring compliance and providing effective strategic leadership on matters such as:

  • Oversight and stewardship of the collections and other assets;
  • Agreeing appropriate resource levels and assisting in the procurement of resources from DCMS and elsewhere;
  • Ensuring the successful and profitable management of the RA’s catering and events contract at Leeds;
  • Drive, shape and oversee the development of the masterplan for the transformation of the Museum in Leeds including an effective, ambitious and sustainable commercial plan;
  • Formulating the Board’s strategy for discharging its statutory duties;
  • Ensuring that the Board carries out its corporate responsibilities;
  • Ensuring that the Trustees as a body have and maintain the skills and expertise necessary for maximum Board effectiveness;
  • Ensuring that the Board, in reaching decisions, takes proper account of guidance provided by the Secretary of State, the responsible Minister or the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport;
  • Actively supporting and encouraging the fundraising campaign for the development of the museum in Leeds, and developing a strong relationship with the campaign board; and
  • Supporting the Director-General and Master in the performance of his/her duties and in his/her leadership of the Executive Board.

The chair will also:

  • Attend and Chair four Board meetings a year. These may be held in one of the three sites, in Leeds, at Fort Nelson or at the Tower of London;
  • Chair the Remuneration Committee, serve as a Director of Royal Armouries Trading and Enterprises Ltd (RATE), as a member of the Finance and Capital Development, and attend (at his/her discretion) Audit Committee meetings;
  • Attend meetings with DCMS officials and Ministers as necessary;
  • Conduct annual appraisals of the performance of each Trustee;
  • Conduct an annual appraisal of Board performance overall;
  • Conduct an annual appraisal of the performance of the Director-General;
  • Be subject to an annual appraisal by the Lead Non-Executive (a Trustee); and
  • Attend and/or host a reasonable number of social and corporate events held by the Royal Armouries.

In addition, the chair:

  • Should have and demonstrate energetic commitment to the Royal Armouries’ stated Purpose, Vision, Principles, Aims and Objectives as set out in the Corporate Plan and upholding its Policies;
  • Will be an active and positive advocate for the Royal Armouries, representing it to Ministers and other stakeholders such as funders and the education, regional and tourism communities, including local partners in Leeds and the surrounding areas;
  • Will comply with the intentions of Corporate Governance in Central Government Departments: Code of Good Practice 2011 in so far as they are relevant to a NDPB and Charity Commission governance rules etc; and
  • Will in all respects embody the Seven Principles of Public Life.

Person Specification

Essential expertise and experience

The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate:

  • an interest in and passion for museums and culture in general and an understanding of the role of a national collection;
  • the ability to Chair a Board constructively and effectively;
  • the ability to access and influence fundraising networks for the benefit of the Royal Armouries;
  • a broad understanding of commercial models and structures and the ability to guide the organisation in devising and pursuing the right commercial model for the Armouries;
  • the ability to develop and maintain partnerships, including working effectively with the business and commercial world;
  • an exceptional capacity for strategic development and strategic vision; and
  • how he/she will guide and support the Royal Armouries in exploiting, developing and deriving maximum benefit from the organisation’s newly acquired business at Leeds.


Desirable expertise and experience:

  • personal knowledge of and enthusiasm for history
  • previous involvement in the management of a museum or heritage attraction/s, including out of London;
  • experience of working in the public sector and of the nature, advantages and processes; and
  • experience of property and real estate management and development.

Additional Information


The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is seeking to appoint an outstanding individual as the next chair of the Royal Armouries, to take the Museum forward as this new critical period in its history. The ideal candidate will have a passion for cultural heritage, a commitment to public service, strong commercial acumen and a successful track record in public service, heritage management, or business. This is a very exciting time for the Royal Armouries, having substantially increased its commercial operations, and now in the process of devising a masterplan to transform the museum brand and its offerat the main museum site in Leeds. The successful candidate will be central to taking the Royal Armouries forward and putting it on a long-term sustainable footing, including through playing a key part in raising funds for the museum’s ambitious plans and programme.

About The Royal Armouries

The Royal Armouries is Britain’s national museum of arms and armour, and one of the most important museums of its type in the world. Its origins lie in the Middle Ages, and at its core is the celebrated collection originating in the nation’s working arsenal, assembled over many centuries at the Tower of London. In the reign of Elizabeth I, selected items began to be arranged for display to visitors, making the Royal Armouries heir to one of the oldest deliberately-created visitor attractions in the country. The collection of c.70,000 items – apart from the c.2700 loans to other bodies – is now displayed and housed not only at the Tower of London but also at its purpose-built museum in Leeds and at Fort Nelson, near Portsmouth. Since 2005 the museum has also managed the collection of small arms assembled since the early 17th century by the British armed forces  (the former Pattern Room), now also in Leeds, and known as the National Firearms Centre.

The Royal Armouries was established in its present form by the National Heritage Act (1983) and is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. In 2017-18 it received £7,788,000 in Grant in Aid. It currently employs 160 staff and receives nearly two million visitors a year across the three sites. Admission is free except at the Tower of London, where the Royal Armouries’ museum is within the pay perimeter of Historic Royal Palaces, who manage the site.

In 2018, the Royal Armouries will begin to benefit from an improved financial model. With the financial and other support of H.M. Treasury and the DCMS, in July 2018, the Trustees of the Royal Armouries took ownership of Royal Armouries International (RAI), the catering and events business operating within the museum building and in nearby premises, and later this year will let a five-year contract for the management of that business to an established and successful multi-site operator. With an annual turnover of c£5m, delivering c£1m in profit, this will transform the scale and potential of the Museum’s commercial activity. Combined with property-related revenue, freed up by the purchase, our commission percentage of the catering and events business’s turnover will put the organisation on a footing similar to that of other nationals, and give the Armouries a bright and sustainable future. Given its key location on Leeds South Bank – and centre of the proposed cultural quarter –  there is considerable potential to develop the main museum in Leeds into a major visitor attraction, at the centre of the Leeds and wider West Yorkshire community and visitor attraction offer. The same is true for the Hampshire Fort Nelson site. To bring this about, the Board and Executive are developing an ambitious and exciting masterplan for the organisation, intended to ensure its sustainability and to transform its public offer, with the complete redisplay of the Leeds museum by 2025 as a priority.

More information, including the Royal Armouries’ Corporate Plan 2015-20 and the Annual Report and Accounts for 2017/18 can be found at and

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