Updating our Royal Charter

Art Fund is a charity established by Royal Charter and the charity’s governing documents are a Royal Charter dated 1928 (as amended by supplemental charter in 1976) and Byelaws dated 1928. Our Trustees have a legal duty to regularly review the governing documents and keep them up to date. As part of their regular reviews to ensure good practice governance at Art Fund, and in line with their legal responsibilities, Trustees undertook a review of the Royal Charter and Byelaws during the last part of 2022 (as shared in the December Art Quarterly).

As a result of their review, Trustees agreed that the Royal Charter and Byelaws should be modernised to future-proof the charity, ensure best governance practice, modernise language and make sure that the charity is operating in the most efficient way, to maximise public benefit. Following the pandemic, it also became clear that updating the Charter and Byelaws to allow the use (if we wish) of digital communication and online attendance at meetings will allow Art Fund’s member communications and general meetings to be as accessible as possible to meet members needs wherever they live in the UK.

We are sharing Trustees plans and a draft of the proposed amended Charter and Byelaws with members at this early stage in order to allow members to ask questions and make comments, which will then be considered by the Trustees. We hope that members will read the updated governing documents and use this opportunity to make comments and ask us any questions (to charter@artfund.org) on the amendments proposed.

We will be asking members to approve the amendments to the Charter and Byelaws at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to directly follow our usual Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 19 June 2023. The aim is then that the amendments will be formally approved by the Privy Council in the second half of 2023.

View Art Fund’s draft updated Royal Charter and Byelaws

View a PDF of Art Fund’s current Royal Charter and Byelaws dated 1928 (as amended by supplemental charter in 1976) and Byelaws dated 1928

View a plain text version of Art Fund’s current Royal Charter and Byelaws dated 1928 (as amended by supplemental charter in 1976) and Byelaws dated 1928

Online information session for members

We hosted an online information session for members on Monday 13 March at 1pm. In the session, members saw a a presentation on why we are updating the governing document, the key changes being made and the proposed timeline from Art Fund’s Governance Manager and in-house legal counsel. You can see the slides here. You can also watch a recording of the session below.

Any questions?

What is the process for updating the Royal Charter & Byelaws?
What are the key changes we are making?
Why aren’t we updating the old-fashioned first and last lines in the Charter (known as the Recitals)?
What are the benefits of our new draft governing document?
Are we changing who we are and what we do?
Why are we consulting members about updating our Charter now?
Why are we reviewing our governing documents?

How do I ask questions or submit comments?

We welcome questions and comments from members on any element of the process and amendments proposed to the Royal Charter. All questions and comments for consideration should be emailed to charter@artfund.org


A glossary of definitions can be found here.

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