ACE Joins with Regions to Create Arts Super-bodyDate: 19 March 2001
Following its announcement earlier this month of an extra £25 million to be invested in theatre, the Arts Council of England (ACE) has revealed plans to unite with the 10 Regional Arts Boards (RABs) in order to create a single arts funding and development organisation for all of the arts in all parts of England.
Currently, the RABs are organised as separate bodies, each with its own chairman, board and staff. The new Arts Council will have a strategic central office that is responsible for national arts leadership and is well-connected with the arts nationally and internationally. The regional offices will be responsible for regional partnerships and investment and front-line contact with the arts.
The structure for the new Arts Council will be published in July 2001 and the new organisation will be established by December 2001. It will employ fewer people than the 660 currently employed by the Arts Council and the RABs together.
Amongst other things, the aims of the new Arts Council will be to provide a simpler and quicker service, more flexible funding and a reduction in administrative costs so that more money can be earmarked for the arts themselves.
Commenting on the restructure, ACE chief executive Peter Hewitt said: "The new organisation will combine an international, national and regional perspective. For the first time in many years there will be a single body speaking for all the arts in England. This is good news for everyone who cares about the future of the arts in this country."
At the same time, ACE chairman Gerry Robinson confirmed that he has agreed to remain in the position for a further three years, during which time his ambitions will be twofold - "to lever yet more funding for the arts from Government and other sources and to radically simplify the arts funding system". He said that the merging of ACE with the RABs "is the logical and sensible way to create a much simpler, quicker system that is more responsive and more effective in providing a service to artists, arts organisations and arts audiences."
- by Terri Paddock