Press Release

Tate welcomes Charity Commission decision on acquisition of works by Artist Trustees

Tate today welcomed the announcement by the Charity Commission that it accepts the acquisition of seven works by five Artist Trustees, including Chris Ofili’s The Upper Room, were in the best interests of Tate.

However, the Charity Commission has made a number of criticisms of Tate’s policies and procedures in relation to acquisitions of works by serving Artist Trustees and the processes for managing conflicts of interests. Tate has accepted these findings and has already made some modifications to its procedures. It will now take further action to strengthen its governance in this area.

A number of the Charity Commission recommendations have already been implemented so that:

  • All acquisition of works by serving Artist Trustees will only be agreed with the approval by the Charity Commission. The Trustees have also decided to refer gifts and pledges from artist trustees to the Commission for approval.
  • Clear guidelines are being established on all transactions between serving Artist Trustees and Tate.

In addition, Tate’s Trustees have decided that:

  • To add an independent member to their Ethics Committee which provides advice to the Trustees on ethical questions relating to Tate’s range of activities.
  • The cost of acquisitions made by Tate and the value of works given to Tate, will be disclosed annually in Tate’s Annual Report.

Tate’s Director, Nicholas Serota said:

While the Charity Commission was looking into this matter, we were unable to comment fully. We are delighted that the Commission has found that the acquisition of The Upper Room was in the best interests of Tate and we have already taken action to address their criticisms. We accept that our procedures need to be modified and we have already made significant improvements to strengthen our governance in this area.We are particularly pleased that the Commission has not found any evidence to suggest that Chris Ofili has behaved other than with complete proprietyin this matter and are very happy that The Upper Room will continue to be a part of the national collection.

Tate met the Charity Commission in November 2005 for its view on the legal status of the acquisition Chris Ofili’s The Upper Room and the purchase of works by other serving Artist Trustees for the period 1997-2006.