Alan Davey, chief executive of ACE

ACE confirms MLA transfer

Patrick Steel and Rebecca Atkinson, 09.12.2010
Good that principal programmes all going to ACE, says Museums Association director
The Arts Council England (ACE) has confirmed it will take over the functions of the Museums, Libraries and Archives council (MLA) from April 2012.

Although the culture minister Ed Vaizey said two weeks ago that ACE was likely to take responsibility for museums and libraries, the deadline for a final decision only passed this Monday.

In a statement, ACE said all of MLA's functions, including Renaissance in the Regions, cultural property and accreditation, will come under its remit by March 2012. The export reviewing committee, the government indemnity scheme and the acceptance in lieu scheme will also be transferred.

Mark Taylor, the Museums Association's director, said: "What needs to be looked at now is that the shape and structure of the new Arts Council reflects the new responsibilities and contains enough experience and knowledge to continue the MLA's work.

"It's really good that the principal programmes are all going to ACE because that is what will help give them a strategic overview, and it should not forget that the strategic role it will play in relation to all museums in England is absolutely crucial."

ACE will receive more than £46m of additional funding each year from 2012/13 to deliver this work. Including some schemes that have now been transferred or ceased, such as the Portable Antiquities Scheme and Find Your Talent, the MLA's budget for 2010/11 is £62m.

At the beginning of this month the MLA started a four-month consultation with staff and trade unions over likely redundancies. The organisation currently employs 111 people.

Discussions are being held between ACE, the MLA and the DCMS to manage the transefer of responsibilities and determine the criteria for the new Renaissance programme.

As previously announced, the Portable Antiquities Scheme will take a 15% funding cut and transfer to the British Museum.