Weston Park, Sheffield Museums

ACE announces NPOs for 2018-2022

Nicola Sullivan, 27.06.2017
66 of the 183 new organisations covered by funding stream are museums
Arts Council England (ACE) has announced 72 funding agreements with 66 museums as part of its National Portfolio Organisations (NPO) for 2018-22.

This is an increase on the 21 museums that were funded as Major Partner Museums (MPM) from 2015-18. During the same period a further nine museums received funding as Museum Development Providers, six of which also received MPM funding. These two schemes were ended and all museums could apply for NPO status in the 2018-22 round.   

In all, museums will receive £36,611,532 in 2018-19, compared with £27,343,165 for 2017-18.

ACE plans to invest £409m each year in its national portfolio, which is made up of £338m of grant-in-aid funding from government, and £71m from National Lottery funding.

The largest proportion of the £409,288,410 pot for 2018-19 will go to theatres (£104, 318,026), followed by music (£91,951,310), combined arts organisations (£66,722,062), visual arts (£44,511,273) dance (£42,186, 266), non-discipline specific (£13,799,250), literature (£7,626,988) and libraries (£1,561,703).

The NPO scheme places successful applicants into four different funding categories.

Institutions in 'band one' will receive annual grants of between £40,000 and £249,000, while those in 'band two' will receive between £250,000 and £1m. Institutions that fall into 'band three' will receive annual grants of £1m plus and those categorised as sector support organisations can access all available funding ranges.   

Alistair Brown, the Museums Association's policy officer, said: “Today’s announcement is a welcome investment in museums across England until 2022. We are particularly glad that ACE has decided to make funding available to a wide range of small and medium sized museums in addition to the larger museums that have traditionally received ACE funding.

“However, we must bear in mind that museums have seen a real-terms 30% cut in funding from local authorities in England since 2010. ACE funding alone cannot make up that shortfall, and many museums still face an extremely challenging funding situation. The MA continues to press the government to do more to support the country’s museums, including the delivery of the Museums Review and the museums and galleries tax relief.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, ACE's chairman, said: “Everyone deserves the chance to experience the sheer enjoyment, creativity and new horizons that culture can bring.

“We set out to deliver a significant increase in our investment outside London. We’ve done that, without detriment to the internationally renowned cultural offer of the capital.

“Alongside continuing support for our great national companies, we’ve funded inventive, pioneering arts organisations and a new range of museums across the country.

“We’ve also included libraries producing high quality cultural programmes. Working together these organisations will inspire a broader range of young people and audiences across England than ever before.”

ACE has also budgeted £212.5m per annum for 2018-22 for its open access funding stream Grants for Arts and Culture and Strategic Funds, which addresses gaps in the sector, such as diversity.

Links and downloads

National Portfolio Organisations (ACE website)