ALMA-UK’s Agreement and Terms of Reference set out the principles that govern the relationships between its eight member organisations.

These documents are underpinned by a tier of government settlements, stemming from devolution.

Three Acts of Parliament deal with devolution: the Scotland Act 1998; the Government of Wales Act 1998 and the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

These Acts and their later amendments specify which matters and powers are devolved – including culture, sport, tourism and education – and which are reserved by the UK Parliament at Westminster in London.

The principles that govern the working relations between the UK Government and the devolved administrations are laid down in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Supplementary Agreements, first published in 1999.

The MOU is complemented by bilateral Concordats between the UK Government Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and its counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Reserved matters relating to archives, libraries and museums

ALMA-UK provides an important channel for cross-nation communication about reserved matters relating to the archive, library and museum sector. Responsibility for such reserved matters lies with DCMS.

DCMS delegates responsibility to the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to manage:

Export Controls; and

Tax incentives on cultural property

  • Tax incentives include the Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) Scheme and Private Treaty Sales. Where there is a Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland interest in offers of AIL, the Minister responsible for culture in the relevant devolved administration is granted certain decision-making authority.

For other reserved activity, see also our page on the European Commission and Digitial Programmes.