Renaissance update expected this week

ACE and MLA planning to publish progress update
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Rebecca Atkinson
An update on the integration of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) into Arts Council England (ACE) is expected at the end of this week.

ACE will take over the functions of the MLA from April 2012, but discussions about the transfer of responsibilities and the criteria for the new Renaissance programme are still ongoing.

A joint statement from ACE and the MLA said: “We realise that the sector is waiting for news of how discussions are progressing and plans are progressing. We want to keep people regularly informed and are working towards our next update hopefully at the end of [this] week.”  

A timetable for the transfer of MLA functions to ACE and the criteria for core museums was to be published before the end of 2010, but is now expected in the first quarter of this year.

The statement expected this week is likely to be a progress report rather than a full announcement. The museum sector is still waiting for details about the V&A Purchase Grant fund and funding for initiatives such as Collections Trust, Museums at Night and Kids in Museums.

Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association, said: “What has been disappointing about this process is the fact the government had not thought through the abolition of MLA and it has taken it ages to resolve the problems. However, now the broad outlines have been agreed it is good to see progress being made. Almost worse than cuts is not knowing the scale of cuts, and what the museum sector needs is information about the next 12 months and a timetable for dealing with issues in the longer term.”

As part of it taking on the MLA’s functions (bar the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which is going to the British Museum), ACE has been allocated a budget of £46m a year, including £43.4m for Renaissance. However, how this money will be split between core museums, the challenge fund and the museum development network has not been decided. Discussions as to how many core museums there will be are also ongoing.

UPDATE: 04/02/2011

Click here to read the Museums Journal news story on the MLA/ACE update

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