ACE chief executive Alan Davey

ACE takes over MLA functions

Sharon Heal, 23.11.2010
Culture minister announces Arts Council England will take over Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
Speaking this morning at the British Museum, culture minister Ed Vaizey announced that Arts Council England (ACE) is likely to take over the functions of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).

If approved, all of MLA's functions will transfer to ACE, including Renaissance, cultural property and accreditation by March 2012. The export reviewing committee, the government indemnity scheme and the acceptance in lieu scheme will also be transferred.

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

ACE will receive more than £46m of additional funding each year from 2012/13 to deliver this work, while the British Museum will receive £1.3m of funding.

The future of the MLA's staff has not yet been agreed, although it is thought that many of them will also be transferred over to ACE.

Reaction

Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association, said: “While we would prefer a Museums Council, this is not going to happen, so we’re happy in principle for ACE to take on the MLA’s functions. But we’ve been waiting to hear that this will definitely happen since July, never mind how it will happen. You have to question whether ACE is digging its heels in because it’s concerned about how much money it will receive to administer these functions.”

Culture minister Ed Vaizey said: “ACE has an exciting opportunity to integrate the MLA’s expertise and bridge some artificial divides between different aspects of cultural funding and get the maximum bang for the taxpayer’s buck.”

Roy Clare, chief executive of MLA, said: "It is a difficult time for MLA staff, but they have shown exemplary professionalism, and I am sure will continue to do so as we work to ensure a smooth transition of our expertise and know-how for the benefit of the public who gain so much from high-quality and improving museum, library and archive services in places across England.”

The future of archives work currently undertaken by the MLA is still being considered by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. An announcement is expected before the end of the year.

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