Governance structure

The Mouse House at the Great North Museum

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) is a joint service of the four local authorities on Tyneside: Newcastle (which acts as 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.

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.

Policy and decision making is undertaken by the Strategic Board and key decisions are outlined in the Corporate Plan. A considerable degree of consultation takes place about budget priorities and budget proposals, which shapes the budget decisions that are made.

TWAM has also established an Audit Committee which is separate from the Strategic Board. It includes an independent chair and vice-chair. The Audit Committee provides an essential challenge, monitoring and scrutiny role in relation to governance and internal control issues, helping to provide assurance and the early identification and resolution of weaknesses in arrangements.

The Strategic Board has delegated certain responsibilities to the Director, which are set out in the Financial Handbook.

TWAM is also supported by the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Development Trust, which was established on 1 December 2010 to raise funds from individual donors, trust and foundations to support a wide variety of archives and museum activities. Over the years the Trust's predecessor, the Tyne & Wear Museums Development Trust helped to raise more than £1.5 million from charitable sources for a wide range of museum activities.

The Trading Company, TWAM Enterprises Ltd (Company number 10940488) was established on 1 May 2018 following a major review of TWAM’s governance structures.  Its purpose is to allow TWAM to capitalise on the expertise it has already developed in relation to commercial activity by assuming responsibility for activity previously delivered through TWAM’s trading team including retail operation, venue hire and catering. It will donate/gift aid its profit to TWAM Development Trust to further TWAM’s charitable objectives.

The company limited by shares is wholly owned by the five ‘partners’; Gateshead Council, Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council, South Tyneside Council and the University of Newcastle.

Exhibitions by TWAM Ltd (company number 12106351) was established on 1 September 2020 to manage all exhibition production activities for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM). The company, limited by guarantee is wholly owned by Newcastle City Council. The company will donate its profit to TWAM Development Trust to further TWAM’s charitable objectives. TWAM produces approximately 35-40 exhibitions per year across its 9 venues. These vary greatly in scale, subject matter and target audiences. 

The Governance structure is set out in the diagram below: