Government reviews HLF and NHMF - Museums Association

Government reviews HLF and NHMF

Review questions whether they should remain as quangos
Patrick Steel
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The government is reviewing the roles and responsibilities of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF).

In a public call for evidence for the review, the government questions whether they should remain as non-departmental public bodies, and whether HLF funding is fairly distributed across the UK.

Alternative governance options proposed for the bodies are that they could be run by central government, local government, or the private sector, or merged with similar organisations.

HLF is the UK-wide funder for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, allocating grants up to £2m on a per capita basis, and grants over £2m as a competition. The call for evidence questions whether this is a fair distribution.

"HLF is exemplary when it comes to targeting areas that don't make applications, and providing extra support," said Peter Stark, the development director at North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, and a co-author of the 2013 report Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital.

"When allied with regional discretion in decision making, HLF has a deep knowledge of areas in a nuanced way rather than a tick box assessment.

"While we have argued that what counts is where you spend the money, a per capita allocation is a good start. Then there is a debate about how much should be top-sliced for truly national projects. I would argue for a larger proportion to be locally distributed.

"Rather than further centralisation, or a merger, I would turn that around and say that HLF has a lot to offer other distribution bodies in the way it carries out its functions."

The call for evidence is open until 6 April. The review is expected to be completed in summer 2017.



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