ACE to announce rule-stretching national portfolio funding allocations on 1 July

- 27 June 2014

Arts Council England will announce its National Portfolio Organisations for 2015-18 on 1 July, with National Lottery funding being used for the first time to bolster ACE’s grant-in-aid funding of portfolio institutions.

Arts Council England: £331m funding announcement, 1 July

Arts Council England: £331m funding announcement, 1 July

An estimated £60m of Lottery money will be spent per annum on portfolio organisations which will run alongside grant-in-aid for NPOs of £271m.

ACE recently announced that radical changes in the funding models it operates would be required in order to prevent the number of NPOs being reduced from the current 696 to ‘between 250-300 organisations’, and, for the first time, some organisations will be wholly funded by money originating from the National Lottery.

The use of lottery money in this way to provide regular funding has been seen as an erosion of the principle of additionality, which was designed to safeguard the core role of Treasury money in arts funding and thus ensure that money raised from the National Lottery would be used to fund new activity.

ACE’s chief executive, Alan Davey, has emphasised that the arrangements would be ‘applicable to this funding period only’.

‘All organisations in the portfolio will have exactly the same status and relationship with the Arts Council regardless of whether they’re funded by lottery or by Grant in aid,’ said Davey.

The 2013 spending review announced that ACE’s 2015/16 treasury funding would be reduced by 4% in real terms, said ACE. ACE will announce levels of funding for 2015/16 but no further, because government spending after 2016 will be affected by the outcome of the 2015 general election.

‘National Lottery money has been used to fund touring and activity with children and young people within the national portfolio since 2012,’ said an ACE statement. ACE ‘is continuing this principle’ in next week’s announcement, it said, by wholly funding NPOs ‘focusing on touring (more than 50%) or specific types of organisations working with children and young people’.

ACE chief executive Alan Davey has placed the move in the context of a real-terms reduction in ACE’s grant in aid of more than one-third since 2010/11 (before the coalition government’s period of spending austerity).

He called the move ‘pragmatic’ and characterised the reduced central funding as a challenge of a similar order to current lottery-funded programmes supporting touring, buildings work and project work.

‘Since the National Lottery began these funds have allowed the arts and cultural sector to deal with the challenges of the day. They have restored old arts buildings and created new ones, toured great art, created new jobs and opportunities for young people, given communities a voice and made it possible for arts organisations to plan for the future by developing new sources of income.

‘Now, during a tough climate for public funding, they are enabling hundreds more national portfolio organisations to be funded.’

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