Arts Council England launches new approach to funding the arts

Via – Click here for the full Press Release. Arts Council Press Office.

Expect to see many stressed out arts organisation directors over the coming months as they all have to fight over meagre scraps.

I’m so glad we don’t have to get inolved in all this nonsense here at artinliverpool, wishing the best of luck to those that do.

Arts Council England today (Thursday 4 November) announced a transformation of the way the arts are funded in England, to coincide with the publication of its ten-year strategic framework, Achieving great art for everyone.

From April 2012, a new funding system will replace the current Regularly Funded Organisations System (RFO), which provides regular funding to 850 arts organisations in this country.

The system goes live today with the launch of an open application process, to which all existing organisations are invited to apply. New organisations will also be eligible for funding.

Decisions will be made in the context of a clear set of strategic priorities and the reduced resources available. The Arts Council is limiting the real-terms cut to the budget available for funded organisations over the next four years to 14.9%. It also has to operate within a much reduced overall budget of 29.6% over this period.

Not all organisations will be successful; some may receive more money, and some may receive less. The new portfolio will be smaller than the current one, with the potential loss of more than 100 organisations by 2015. But, by the end of the process, the Arts Council will be able to unveil a portfolio of organisations that has been shaped by an ambitious ten-year plan. This is preferable to maintaining a large portfolio that will be progressively debilitated by cuts over the course of the settlement.

Liz Forgan, Chair of Arts Council England, said:
“While the funding cuts will have a severe impact on our budget, they will not dent the shape of our ambitions for the arts and audiences in this country. We are determined to take a long-term view, and to achieve the goals set out in our new ten-year strategic framework.

“Salami slicing our portfolio of organisations would never have been an appropriate long-term response, regardless of our settlement. That is why a vision for the future is so important to us.

“We want to build a portfolio where organisations, large, medium and small, are able to prosper as well as survive.”

The new funding approach arises out of a major consultation – with all those involved or interested in the arts – around the Arts Council’s ten-year strategic framework, Achieving great art for everyone. This endorsed a move to a more flexible and focused system of funding around a set of five shared long-term goals (see Executive Summary). The system has been designed to be transparent, efficient and fair – producing the best results for the arts overall.