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 satisfactory 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.

Improvements implemented 2015/16

During 2015/16 TWAM implemented the following actions to strengthen its corporate governance environment:

Changes to audit requirements

Joint Committee agreed to prepare their Statement of Accounts in a manner consistent with that of a charity.

Procurement process led to appointment of Ryecroft-Glenton as external auditor for the period 2015-18

Governance Review

Completion of business plan for trading company.

Ongoing discussions with Tyneside Chief Executives re governance structures.

What is Governance?

Overview diagram of TWAM’s Governance Framework developed and incorporated into this statement.

Annual Governance Statement

Following the decision to adopt the Charity SORP, research was carried out into best practice in the sector and resulted in the adoption of this Governanace and Assurance Report.

Other Improvements

Health and Safety Working Group established to improve processes and share good practice.

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 2016/17 to strengthen the assurance framework:

Balanced Scorecard

Adoption of a balanced scorecard to create a framework for measuring our performance, setting measureable goals and designing a timetable for implementation.

Operational Management Group

Evolution of the performance management group with an overarching purpose:

  • To monitor operational plans across TWAM.
  • To review Balanced Scorecard data.
  • To ensure appropriate action is taken to address underperformance.


The Governance and internal control environment during 2015/16 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.

This diagram explains the governance arrangement process for TWAM