Future direction for arts, museums and libraries.

Arts Council England (ACE) is the lead development agency for the Arts, Museums and Libraries.  Arts Council England supports a range of activities from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections.  They have stated that, between 2011 and 2015, they will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help foster the arts “for as many people as possible across the country”.  This funding is aligned to the priorities within the refreshed version of their 10-year strategy, Great art and culture for everyone.

Following on from the report Rebalancing our Cultural Capital, which highlighted an imbalance between arts funding for London and the regions; pointing out that central government spending per head on culture in London was nearly fifteen times greater than in the rest of England in 2012/13, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee is conducting a general investigation into the work of ACE.  They are examining the economic and artistic criteria that underpin funding decisions and whether the geographical distribution of funding is fair.

Executive Member Polly Hamilton collated the views of cCLOA members and submitted a response on behalf of our association.  You can read the submission here.

The updated strategy reflects the Arts Council's newly expanded remit for museums and libraries. 

The following five goals are at the heart of the strategy:

Goal 1: Excellence is thriving and celebrated in the arts, museums and libraries

Goal 2: Everyone has the opportunity to experience and to be inspired by the arts, museums and libraries

Goal 3: The arts, museums and libraries are resilient and environmentally sustainable

Goal 4: The leadership and workforce in the arts, museums and libraries are diverse and appropriately skilled

Goal 5: Every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts, museums and libraries

You can download Great art and culture for everyone here

The funding for the reworked Renaissance major grants programme - which replaced the MLA's proposed core museums fund - has seen major grants to a diverse range of museum services including local authorities, university museums, independent trusts and consortia that are spread widely across the country awarded via an open application process and assessed against published criteria, in a similar way to the National portfolio funding process for arts organisations. Full details are available on the ACE website.

Whilst ACE are not responsible for providing library services, they play a significant role in supporting and developing the libraries sector. ACE instigated the Libraries Development Initiative to test new approaches to library service delivery and has provided an extra £6 million in Grants for the arts funding for libraries, which will continue through to March 2015. This funding will support projects that stimulate ambitious and innovative partnerships between libraries and artists and/or arts organisations, encouraging communities to participate in cultural activities - See more here  

Clearly there had been a great deal of change in terms of ACE's remit. The three key issues for cCLOA are:

Building on MLA's improvement work:

cCLOA supports ACE's clear commitment to the work of MLA. This work was of huge benefit to local authorities in their aspirations to offer high quality opportunities for local people to engage. cCLOA is therefore keen to encourage learning from this good practice.

Reaching into communities:

cCLOA also supports ACE's aspiration to develop its work with museums and libraries under the strategic goals set out in their strategic framework, particularly the aspirations to encourage cultural provision to:

    • support widespread community engagement
    • develop as broad an offer as possible
    • take a targeted approach in order to reach young people at risk of being excluded
    • promote diversity

Support for local authorities:

Much of the provision of museums and libraries at a local level is the responsibility of local authorities. cCLOA appreciates the support that ACE offers to local authorities and will continue to work closely to help facilitate appropriate dialogue with elected members and senior officers.