News: ACE funding report published

Thursday 31 July 2008

Following the massive dissent surrounding last February’s funding announcements and decisions, Arts Council England’s new Chief Executive Alan Davey commissioned a report by Baroness Genista McIntosh, to look closely at ACE’s ‘investment strategy process’. Both the report – and the ACE responses to it, have now been published.

In her research, Baroness McIntosh talked with over 100 people – artists and arts organisations, umbrella bodies, Arts Council staff and Council members and other key stakeholders.

She said: “The problems encountered in the investment strategy are mostly to do with relationships between the Arts Council, its clients and partners and the publics they serve. These relationships are tough and contested. In my view, this is as it should be. It is important to live with this reality but it is equally important not to create additional levels of difficulty through avoidable weaknesses in processes and relationships. Now is the time for the Arts Council to look outwards, rebuild those relationships and go forward with renewed energy.”.

Her report makes eleven recommendations – all of which have been taken on board by ACE.

Chief Executive Alan Davy said: “I see the publication of this report as heralding a new beginning as we build stronger relationships with the arts world, and use the lessons of the report to move on. It is right that we are the kind of organisation that can submit itself to this kind of scrutiny and be open in sharing the lessons it takes from it. Because if we are truly to have excellent publicly funded art in this country, we need to do our job with the highest levels of knowledge, skill and judgment we can, applying the same degree of rigour in our own processes and communications that we expect from those arts organisations and artists we fund. We are an organisation that wants to learn and to improve: with the help of Baroness McIntosh’s report, we can and will do so.”

The Theatrical Management Association “warmly welcomed” both the report itself and ACE chief executive Alan Davey’s responses to it and the National Campaign for the Arts warned that ACE must act “without delay”. Read more in the Stage, 30 July 08.

Download Baroness McIntosh’s report and ACE responses to it

ACE funding decisions & dance on, Feb 08

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