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 Joint Committee 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 Joint Committee. 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 Joint Committee 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 Governance structure is set out in the diagram below: