Thursday, January 17, 2008

Arts world unites to complain about Arts Council

As Alistair Smith reports for The Stage, the Arts world has united in a letter to Culture Secretary James Purnell to voice “grave concerns” over the way Arts Council England has handled its recent funding announcement. The letter is written by the National Campaign for the Arts and signed by all the major industry bodies including the Writers' Guild.
It... complains that ACE’s proposals “do not always appear to be based on solid, reliable evidence” and that data used by the council to come to its decisions was, in some cases, “inaccurate and flawed”.

The letter continues: “The timing and the lack of notice for these proposals contravene government’s own compact about how public bodies should deal with voluntary sector organisations (which many arts organisations are). In the past, ACE has tried to ensure an adequate notice and preparation period when taking funding decisions, and has always advised that the sector does the same in regard to its own long-term planning. In fact, the council’s own disinvestment policy refers to timescales of a six-month notice period. It is worrying that ACE is not following its own advice in this instance.

“While we absolutely support the arm’s-length principle, we feel that this situation is of such seriousness that it merits closer inspection.”

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