Governance arrangements

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums' Joint Agreement

(Image: Officers' smoking room on the tanker 'Aluco', 1959, Tyne & Wear Archives)

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) is a joint service of the four local authorities on Tyneside: Newcastle (which acts as the lead authority and legal body), South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Gateshead, with additional support and contributions from the Arts Council England (ACE). TWAM has separate agreements with Sunderland City Council to manage its archives and with Newcastle University to manage the Great North Museum:Hancock.

The relationship between, and commitment of, the partners is enshrined in the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Joint Agreement. The Joint Agreement lays out the terms and conditions of the relationship and the involvement of central government.

Click here for the Joint Agreement 2017-2027 (PDF 2.69MB)

Governance and Assurance Report

As a governing body the Strategic Board demonstrates a willingness and ability to act in the best interest of the stakeholders of TWAM.

TWAM is responsible for ensuring that its business is conducted in accordance with the law and proper standards, that public money is safeguarded and properly accounted for, and used economically, efficiently and effectively.

Purpose of Governance

At TWAM we believe that the fundamental requirements of good governance are: accountability, transparency, lawfulness, responsiveness, equity and inclusivity, effectiveness and efficiency and a participatory approach.

Governance Framework

Leadership and Management

TWAM has an effective management structure which takes collective responsibility for the long-term success of the organisation. There is an appropriate balance of skills, experience, independence and knowledge of TWAM to enable duties and responsibilities to be discharged successfully. The governance structure defines and documents the roles and responsibilities of the Strategic Board, Audit Committee and officer functions, with clear delegation arrangements and protocols for effective communication.


Scrutiny and Governance

TWAM has adopted an assurance framework designed to give sufficient, continuous and reliable assurance on the stewardship of TWAM, the management of its major risks to organisational success and the delivery of improved, cost-effective public service.


TWAM establishes clear channels of communication with all sections of the community and other stakeholders, through a variety of channels, encouraging open and meaningful consultation and ensuring accountability.


TWAM has a clear mission and a vision for 2018. Impact is measured via Annual Report, Statement of Accounts, publication of KPIs and achievement of objectives.

Assurance Framework

The following diagram illustrates how the assurance process works within TWAM:

This diagram explains the governance arrangement process for TWAM

Improvements implemented 2017/18

During 2017/18 TWAM implemented the following actions to strengthen its corporate governance environment:

·         National Portfolio Organisation (NPO)

o   TWAM Business Plan 2018-2022 accepted

  • IiP Assessment and Staff survey

o   TWAM retained Silver Status for IiP in September 2017

o   Staff Survey response rate 65%, with overall positive results

·         Governance Review

o   Launch of TWAM Strategic Board September 2017

o   Suite of legal agreements in place for TWAM Enterprises

·         General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

o   Updated TWAM Privacy Policies


Future proposals

Good governance also involves looking at ongoing and emerging issues and ensuring the framework is in place to manage them effectively. The following measures will be implemented during 2018/19 to strengthen the assurance framework:

·         Update TWAM Reserves Strategy

·         Review TWAM Risk Management Framework

·         Develop protocols to ensure that the TWAM Strategic Board, TWAM Enterprises, TWAM Development Trust and TWAM Audit Committee work together effectively

·         Recruit external auditors for the TWAM Group for the period 2018-2022


The Governance and internal control environment during 2017/18 provides reasonable and objective assurance that any significant risks impacting on the achievement of TWAM’s principal objectives were identified and actions taken to avoid or mitigate their impact.