ACE faces further cuts of over £11million

George Osborne's Autumn Statement leaves ACE reeling from further cuts

George Osborne’s Autumn Statement leaves ACE reeling from further cuts

Arts Council England (ACE) is to receive cuts of £11.6million by 2015, additional to the 30% cut to the organisation’s budget in 2010.

Chancellor George Osborne revealed in his Autumn Statement that cuts of 3% would be made to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by 2015. DCMS has passed on the cuts to ACE:  2013/14 will see the council’s budget squeezed by £3.9 million and by £7.7million in 2014/15.

Due to the administrative cuts already faced by ACE, the organisation claims that it cannot downsize its services and team any further, meaning cuts have been passed onto the 696 bodies and National Portfolio funded by ACE.

Arts Council chief executive Alan Davey explained: ‘The government’s intention seems to have been that Whitehall departments absorb any cuts themselves from efficiencies but since the DCMS has already given itself a 50% administration cut – which was also applied to the Arts Council – the department’s latest cuts have been passed straight on to the bodies it funds.

‘We must now look closely at the figures and decide how we will pass these cuts on. Some organisations are also having to deal with local authority cuts and so the situation is extremely challenging.’

The cuts seem to have taken immediate effect, with organisations such as the British Museum, National Gallery and the V&A already having received letters confirming a reduction in their funding from the ACE. Further cuts are being anticipated after George Osborne announced a spending review covering the same spending period and beyond.

Arts Council England to axe over 20% of workforce

Arts Council England (ACE) has announced structural changes to the organisation, which will see 118 jobs cut, 21% of the current workforce.

Other changes to the organisation will include a reduction in the number of executive directors from 8 to 4, and downsizing office space by up to 50%. All current ACE regional branches will be reduced to just five, covering London, the South East, South West, the Midlands and the North.

A 2010 government review led to the ACE being told to reduce administrative costs by 50%. The review also cut the ACE’s budget by £100 million, set to be enforced by 2015. The structural changes will begin being implemented from 5 November, with the boundary changes set for completion by July 2013.

ACE chief executive, Alan Davey said: ‘These savings have been challenging to achieve, given our already pared down structure. There is an absolute need for the Arts Council to remain an intelligent investor, leading growth and ambition in an arts and cultural sector which contributes so much to the wealth, quality of life and reputation of our nation. We’ll do less and we’ll do it differently – but we’ll do it well.’

New arts council head and culture secretary appointed in reshuffle

Sir Peter Bazalgette has been named as the new chairmen of Arts Council England, succeeding Dame Liz Forgan. The press had been speculating about Bazalgette’s possible appointment following the government’s decision to not re-appoint Forgan earlier this year.

Bazalgette is widely known for the creation of globally successful television format Big Brother. He serves as chair at ENO, acts as president for the Royal Television Society and is a non-executive director of the department of culture, media and sport.

He said of his new role, due to begin in the new year: ‘2013 will be an excellent time to join the arts council. Sustaining our vigorous arts and cultural sector is admittedly a challenge, but one I greatly look forward to.’

Arts Council chief executive, Alan Davey was clearly pleased with the decision, describing it as ‘an excellent appointment’. He went on to describe Bazalgette as, ‘a great philanthropic contributor to the arts; an enthusiast who has done amazing work with English National Opera and has helped the arts council over the years to develop our digital thinking. We look forward to working with him.’

Bazalgette’s appointment was one of the last decisions to be made by Jeremy Hunt, with the prime minister’s approval, in his role as culture secretary. David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle involved the appointment of Maria Miller to succeed Jeremy Hunt as secretary of state for culture, media and sport. The MP for Basingstoke and former advertising executive will also undertake a role as minister for women and equalities. The Guardian described Miller as ‘a relative unknown for culture professionals’. Her new position will be Miller’s first cabinet role.

Artsmark announce successful applicants to relaunched scheme

Arts Council England (ACE) have announced the first round of successful schools and educational establishments to receive Artsmark status since it’s relaunch in September 2011. There were over 1500 successful applications made to the ACE programme.

The announcement comes as the manager behind Arts Award, Trinity College London, has confirmed that they will act as the national provider for Artsmark scheme. By linking the two programmes, it is hoped by the ACE that it, ‘will result in a more joined up approach to delivering cultural education for children and young people, both in and out of school.’

The Artsmark programme, which runs throughout England, has expanded to incorporate more educational facilities including further education colleges, pupil referral units and youth justice settings. Artsmark have also changed their awarding system, now offering two distinctions – ‘Artsmark’ status and ‘Artsmark Gold’ status.

ACE chief executive Alan Davey said: ‘The Arts Council has a long history of involvement in arts education and it’s great to see schemes like Artsmark becoming an integral part of more and more school curriculums.’

‘We took some time last year to review Artsmark and listen to what schools and our other partners had to say about the programme and how we can improve it. The high number of applications from schools and other educational settings clearly illustrates how well received these changes were. This relaunched Artsmark programme will play a significant role in achieving our ambition of every young person in the country experiencing what the arts have to offer.’

For more information visit www.artsmark.org.uk

 

Arts Council chair to step down

Dame Liz Forgan will not be returning as chair of the Arts Council, after being asked to step down from her role by ministers. Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt decided not to reappoint Forgan when her term ends at the beginning of next year.

Forgan, 67, became the first woman to fill the post, when she was appointed by Labour in February 2009. The news of her departure came as a shock to many theatre industry insiders. Director of Tate Modern, Sir Nicholas Serota said he was, ‘deeply disappointed’ by the news. He said: ‘She has led the council with real verve and conviction through a period in which cuts to arts spending could have resulted in the loss of major parts of our cultural landscape.’

Artistic director of the Young Vic, David Lan said: ‘I’m really shocked. She has done really well, and is popular with people it’s not particularly easy to be popular with. She was doing really well but had only just got going. It’ll be a big pair of shoes to fill.’

Former chairs of the Arts Council have seen their terms extended, many had expected Forgan’s term to be extended until 2015. The search for her replacement is expected to start after Easter. Potential candidates are rumoured to be former Tory cabinet minister, Michael Portillo and former Endemol chairman, Sir Peter Bazalgette.

Arts Council chief executive, Alan Davey said: ‘Liz has been an outstanding chair and will be much missed. I have valued her passion, insight and strong leadership as we worked together through challenging times to deliver a sustainable future for the arts in England and to maintain their world standing.’

Forgan responded to Jeremy Hunt’s announcement in a letter, in which she said that it had been: ‘a privilege to be the first woman to the lead the arts council, and to do so in challenging times.’

She said that she was, ‘extremely sorry to leave before the job is completed but the essence of the arms-length principle, which I wholeheartedly support, is that ministers must be able to make their appointments as they see fit.’

Dame Liz Forgan will officially step down from her position as chair in January 2013.

Arts Council and BBC create new online arts channel

Arts Council England (ACE) in partnership with the BBC are to launch a new online arts channel called The Space. The channel will contain work from theatres across the UK. The project will run from 1 May until the end of October 2012.

The Space is described by ACE as ‘an experimental digital arts media service and commissioning programme that could help to transform the way people connect with, and experience, arts and culture.’

53 applicants were successful in applying to create original commissions for The Space. Some of the notable entries include Pilot Theatre Company, Blast Theory and Bristol Old Vic. Two entries which will capture this summer’s Shakespearean festivities are The Globe, who will be documenting their Globe to Globe festival and the Royal Shakespeare Company, who are creating World Shakespeare Festival TV to capture the highlights from this summer’s performances.

Chief executive of ACE, Alan Davey said: ‘The Space is one of our most significant interventions of recent years and I’m delighted to be able to announce such exciting and imaginative contributions from artists and organisations. It will inspire a great generosity of spirit among the participating organisations, with each of them committed to documenting and sharing the journey they all are taking together.’

The Space will be accessible across four different platforms; PCs, internet connected televisions, smart phones and tablets. The resources will also be made available through video on demand on Freeview.

The project has been developed to coincide with the London 2012 festival and the many celebrations happening around the UK this year, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games.  Roly Keating from the BBC said: ‘We believe we can make something really special happen to celebrate 2012’s unique summer of arts.’

To find out more about the participating applicants visit the Arts Council website. The Space (www.thespace.org) will launch in May.