ArtsTaunton Partnerships Policy

(Cross-reference to conflict of interest, donors, artistic merit, grant-giving, donors policies and risk register. Relationships, brokering and partnerships should for the purposes of this policy be taken to be interchangeable)

Guiding principles:

In order to act as a catalyst within the sphere of arts in Taunton Deane and the surrounding areas, and purely in furtherance of its charitable objects as defined in its memorandum and articles of association, ArtsTaunton will partner others.

  • Relationships which are built and/or nurtured will need to demonstrate furtherance of the arts environment.
  • Partnerships may be short or long term and may relate to specific projects or the arts in general.
  • In order to achieve a co-ordinated service partners need to: • communicate • co-ordinate • co-operate
  • Need to recognise and utilise the strengths and areas of expertise of all partners involved
  • Make the best use of resources including pooling of resources as appropriate
  • Equality and inclusion essential considerations
  • Transparency and ethical practices essential

A partnership approach founded on co-operation and collaboration between all relevant providers must demonstrate benefits for the public of Taunton Deane and the surrounding areas. These may include examples such as: • removal of barriers to progressing delivery of and appreciation of the arts• providing more consistent, co-ordinated and comprehensive public access to the arts• public access to training or education in respect of the arts. (Cross-reference artistic merit policy.)

Evaluation will include analysis of statistics such as the number of organisations or individuals concerned, Taunton Deane residents’ engagement, and case studies.

Key principles of partnership working: • openness, trust and honesty between partners • agreed shared goals and values • regular communication between partners

ArtsTaunton will work to ensure that:

  • In any partnership or collaborative work in connection with the arts or specific arts projects, the issues which will be paramount will be around public access and not conferring private benefit to any partner unless entirely incidental (or after full review within the risk register, it is deemed that a particular partner is the best entity suited to the work and should therefore be paid for their work accordingly.) No projects will be undertaken, nor any collaborative/partnership working undertaken, if it is deemed that there is private benefit over and above that which is ancillary. Any such discussion and decisions will be taken and fully documented at board level.
  • Where the partner is a commercial entity (be it organisation or sole trader) the trustees will seek to reassure themselves as far as possible through direct questioning and risk assessment at board level, that their intentions are altruistic (the easiest way to demonstrate this being that they are not paid for their work with/for ArtsTaunton) and in line with any corporate social responsibility policy they have in place. There must be no commercial benefit other than being seen to meet their CSR policy objectives. (Promotion of any partners’ monetary gift or gift in kind will be purely in line with accepted normal practice within the voluntary sector such as a press release where appropriate.)
  • In brokering partnerships (for the purposes of this policy and for clarification, this may include sponsors and/or donors) we are not seeking to promote, nor will we be promoting in the future, commercial aspects for any partner.

However it is acknowledged that if, after due and full board-level consideration, an individual or organisation is the best person/organisation to achieve our aim, then payment may be made for services.

  • At all times, brokering (partnering) with an entirely commercial entity will be tested within a board meeting against the public benefit requirements.
  • All partners must be made aware of the public access issues for art as per the Charity Commission’s RR10 guidance issued to art galleries and museums in particular.
  • Any links to any trustee will be investigated, reviewed and managed according to the conflict of interests policy and through the risk register structure.
  • Any partnerships with other voluntary organisations meet the charitable objects of all concerned.
  • In respect of partnering other voluntary organisations, the same principles as with individuals or commercial entities will apply, that is to say that any private benefit so arising will be incidental to the overarching public good of promotion of the voluntary sector, and will be examined in the light of the circumstances of each prospective charitable voluntary sector service provider.
  • Partnering with the voluntary sector ie charities and voluntary organisations will be with the intention of co-ordinating voluntary organisations and collaborative working may include grant-giving, giving advice, providing a network of relevant information, liaising between partners, providing training, conferences and seminars, and identifying needs and establishing projects or policies to address them. (Impact will be measured either by the number of organisations concerned or by the significance of the activities within a particular area of arts activity or among a sufficient section of the public. Intangible benefits may include: fostering closer association between members of the public and arts charities, or facilitating the work of arts charities, to enable them to operate more effectively.)
  • The aim of the partnership is agreed and understood by all the partners.
  • The role of each partner is identified and clear to others in the partnership.
  • Sustainability of public access for the duration of the artwork’s display is considered at the outset.

ArtsTaunton believes that the choice of partners is important. Partnerships are often formed from existing networks or where there is a history of collaborative work between potential partners. Partnerships may include working with the local authority, as they have the interests of Taunton Deane residents at heart and have a history of funding arts organisations and initiatives within Taunton Deane.

Strategic partnerships should identify:

  • the aims and objectives of the partnership
  • the commissioning and management arrangements
  • arrangements for sharing information
  • and evaluation arrangements

Operational partnerships will commonly focus on more practical aspects and should identify:

  • the aims and objectives of the partnership
  • common procedures
  • protocols and systems for sharing information
  • arrangements for monitoring and evaluation

Potential barriers to effective partnership working may include:

  • lack of understanding in respect of meeting charitable objectives
  • misunderstanding of the reasons for the partnership
  • no clear agreement re partners’ responsibilities
  • reluctance to share information and data with other partners
  • conflicts of interests
  • lack of time available to commit to the partnership, particularly in the early stages
  • misconceptions or previous negative experiences of partnership working

Examples of partnership working (not limited to the following but provided as examples):

  1. Holding public meetings to ascertain and develop links and synergies within the arts world; inviting others to make presentations about their work in the arts sector (individuals and voluntary sector). Any commercial entity talking about their work given strict instructions that it is information sharing only with emphasis on their input into the arts and with no promotional element of their business. Guidelines will be issued and strict chairing of the meetings will take place.
  2. Surveying existing arts provision and the public’s perceptions and expectations re such, and relaying this information to the local authority and other interested and appropriate parties, thus feeding into an arts strategy for Taunton Deane.
  3. Developing a database to bring together the strands of arts in Taunton Deane which are currently fragmented.
  4. Bringing together entities who traditionally may not consider working together on arts projects for public benefit (eg UKHO and the proposed monument, or Jekka McVicar and the local authority.)
  5. Identifying and encouraging key figures in the arts world, donors, and philanthropists to support the arts in Taunton Deane.

How trustees will handle disputes within a partnership:


1.     To define clear expectations for the resolution of any difficulties

2.     To provide a mechanism to enable the trustees to respond formally to more serious breaches of the partnership

Principles to be followed if things go wrong:

  • Be reasonable. If an organisation has only recently started working in partnership with us, we will bear in mind that it takes time for all partners to adapt the way they work to make sure they meet the partnership requirements. They may already be working towards addressing the problem.
  • Be realistic. As well as identifying where our partner has gone wrong, think about what we’re expecting from them to put it right. Would it be very expensive to do this in the way that we want? Would it involve a lot of staff or volunteer time? Are there other ways of doing this particular thing that are more achievable and remain in line with our charitable purposes?


The trustees will raise the issue with the partner organisation that we feel has breached the partnership in order to resolve the issue at the earliest stage. We will ensure copies of correspondence are kept and that timeframes are introduced for response as necessary. If appropriate we will access any formal complaints process of the organisation with whom we are dealing.

  1. Possible warning signs in re partnerships may include the following:
  2. Drop in numbers expressing interest in activities
  3. Decline in attendance at meetings
  4. Dismissive reactions of influential people to partnership
  5. Disappointing responses to surveys etc
  6. Processes becoming unclear
  7. Disputes or disagreements

Summary – questions for ArtsTaunton trustees to ask themselves:

  • Why do we need to work in this partnership?
  • What will the partnership deliver that we or others could not deliver on our/their own?
  • Is it clear what all roles are in the partnership?
  • Do we know what the life expectancy is of the partnership?
  • Are the aims and objectives of the partnership clear? How will we evaluate?
  • Is it clear that there is no personal benefit other than may arise incidentally, as a side-product of working together; or has it been discussed at board level and worked through the risk register as to whether or not an employed specific partner is the best way to achieve our aim?
  • Have we prepared for eventualities such as loss of funding or departure of key people?
  • Is there any link to any trustee which might possibly contravene our conflict of interest policy?

V1 April 2017 author JO’D; agreed at board meeting 4 April 2017; to be reviewed April 2018