Alan Davey

Select Committee to investigate ACE's work

Kasia Delgado, 14.01.2014
Inquiry to look into fairness of funding
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee (CMSC) has said it will hold a “short inquiry” into the work of Arts Council England (ACE).

Announcing the inquiry on its website, the select committee said it would carry out a general investigation into the “scope, scale and remit” of ACE’s work and would look at the “economic and artistic criteria that underpin funding decisions”.

The statement continued: “We seek views on whether the geographical distribution of funding is fair and the justification for the current weighting of this towards London.”

ACE said it welcomed the committee’s inquiry. Chief executive Alan Davey said: “There are valuable and varied accounts of the arts and culture landscape across the country. We hope that the committee receives a range of submissions that shows this diversity of experience and opinion.”

He added: “We look forward to discussing the detail of our investment criteria, and reflecting the scale of our ambition in delivering great art for everyone across England to the committee.”

Maurice Davies, head of policy and communications at the Museums Association, said: “It’s good that the committee is looking at the regional disparity of funding because my sense is that many national organisations would like to brush it under the carpet.”

The disparities in the distribution of funding between London and the rest of England were highlighted in Rebalancing our Cultural Capital, an independent report released in October 2013.

It stated: “In 2012/2013, ACE distributed £320m of taxpayer’s money to the arts with £20 per head of population allocated in London against £3.60 per head of population in the rest of England.”

The CMSC is asking for written evidence from those who want to contribute to the inquiry. The deadline for submissions is 24 February 2014.


Sort by: Most recent - Most liked
Stuart Davies
MA Member
Managing Director, Stuart Davies Associates
16.01.2014, 02:04
If ACE's grants were re-distributed according to population size, then instead of half the £320m going to London it would be more like £48m, with £272m going to England. It might then make sense to give London's money to the Mayor for allocation and ACE can focus on England which is an entirely different place to London.
Judith Martin
Project Organiser, Industrial Buildings Preservation Trust
15.01.2014, 15:52
It's only since the abolition of the MLA that museums have come in part under the Arts Council. Heritage is another DCMS concern, closely linked. While Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital demonstrates that ACE is a far worse offender than the Heritage Lottery Fund, it would nevertheless be useful to bring heritage funding into the scope of this inquiry, as so much depends on local authorities which have been pared to the bone.
MA Member
15.01.2014, 18:32
Judith, please write to the committee and ask them to include HLF in this or a subsequent inquiry. The inquiry should also look at the effect of cuts to council funding culture in the regions.