The following eligibility criteria were set out for applicants to the Major partner museum programme:

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding as a Major partner museum, you must meet the following criteria:

1.    You must be able to make a major contribution towards delivering our overall strategy for the sector as detailed in the five goals of Great art and culture for everyone. It is expected that you will demonstrate to us how you are currently meeting our five goals and how further investment will help you achieve excellence in at least two of them. We particularly welcome applications that demonstrate how you will achieve excellence in your organisation’s resilience.

2.    You must be able to play a strong leadership role to the benefit of the wider museums sector. This leadership role may be in your region, or may be in an area of expertise that has national relevance.

3.    You must be a single museum or museums service, or a small cluster (consortium) of linked services in a formal partnership. You might be, or include, a local authority, university or independent museum. All partners in a consortium must be committed to a meaningful and appropriate governance structure and show a firm commitment to joint working. The partners in a consortium should be closely linked geographically or through complementary services or collections, and your application must show the benefits and rationale of working as a partnership. One organisation must act as the lead organisation and submit the application.

4.    All applicants must be accredited including each partner applying within a consortium. We will only accept applicants with the full or provisional Accreditation award. Applicants who are currently working towards the Accreditation award will not be eligible.

5.    You must have significant multi-themed collections, at least part of which should be Designated. If you are applying as a consortium at least one museum (not necessarily the lead museum) must have at least part of its collection Designated, and the museums must between them have multi-themed collections.

6.    You must have a demonstrable track record in research and scholarship and collections development.

7.    You must have a minimum visitor attendance of 150,000 per year and a strong track record of delivering services to the public. If applying as a consortium the combined visitor attendance must be a minimum of 150,000 per year.

8.    The museum, or consortium, must be able to demonstrate resilience and there must be a meaningful relationship between the amount of funding you are requesting and the museum’s turnover. For example, we would not normally expect to be contributing more than 30 per cent of the museum’s (or consortium’s) overall annual budget.

9.    The museum must demonstrate a firm track record in strong, stable and effective governance, management, leadership and partnership development, including cross-cultural partnerships.

10.   You must be based in England.

11.   Applicants (or all individual members of a consortium) must be properly constituted as an organisation. The kinds of organisations that are eligible to apply include:

  • limited companies registered at Companies House (including individuals trading as a limited company)
  • charitable incorporated organisations
  • charities or Trusts registered with the Charity Commission
  • limited liability partnerships registered at Companies House
  • partnerships established under a Deed of Partnership
  • industrial and provident societies or community benefit societies subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority
  • Royal Charter companies
  • statutory bodies including local authorities

12.   You must apply for three years of funding and a minimum annual award of £500,000.

Who cannot apply

You cannot apply if:

1.    You do not have a registered address within the United Kingdom.

2.    You are an individual, unless you are applying as a director of your own company. We will not accept applications from people applying in a purely personal capacity.

3.    You are not an Accredited museum.

4.    You are applying for funding for activities that do not mainly benefit audiences in England.

5.    You are a national museum, either individually or as part of a consortium. National museums that are currently funded directly by DCMS but will not be after 1 April 2015 are eligible to apply.

6.     You are applying for funding for activities that are aimed at making a profit to be distributed to members or shareholders.

7.    You plan to apply as both a single organisation and as part of a consortium.