Arts Council England
Printable version

Changes to our National portfolio of organisations, 2015-18

Yesterday (Thursday 12 February), we announced that two organisations, English National Opera(ENO) and Colchester’s firstsite gallery, will not be admitted into our National portfolio of organisations for 2015-18. Instead they will be placed under special funding arrangements.

Funding agreements and the new National portfolio

Our proposed new National portfolio was announced on 1 July 2014, but confirmation of membership is subject to negotiating a funding agreement. As well as showing they will produce excellent work, all organisations offered National portfolio status must demonstrate their business plans and their governance are robust enough to ensure the organisations are sustainable over a three-year funding term.

In the case of ENO and firstsite, we have continuing concerns which we want to see addressed.

Two special funding arrangements agreed

The special funding arrangements agreed with ENO and firstsite, which will run for two years, and one year respectively, will allow the Arts Council to work closely with each company as they review their business models and governance and to set rigorous milestones to monitor their progress. Entry to the portfolio at a later date will be possible, but will depend on the extent of progress made.

The Arts Council will take decisions on the future funding of both organisations following the implementation of these special arrangements.

For more information about these arrangements, please see the full press release.

Althea Efunshile, Acting Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: “The Arts Council’s role is to ensure that we get the best value for the taxpayer’s money by investing in well run companies who delight audiences with brilliant work.

“With the very occasional exception, all the organisations we fund do just that.

“No one is doubting that ENO is capable of extraordinary artistic work but we have serious concerns about their governance and business model and we expect them to improve or they could face the removal of our funding. The challenges are similar for firstsite. 

“However, we believe these organisations can inspire audiences long into the future and it is our hope and expectation that this happens.”

The National portfolio now includes of 668 arts organisations (NPOs) and 21 Major Partner Museums (MPMs). 46 arts organisations join the portfolio and 60 leave. A final list of NPOs and MPMs will be published on 31 March.

The investment in NPOs for 2015/16 will be £339.5million, compared to £341.4m in 2014/15. 


Channel website:

Share this article

Latest News from
Arts Council England

On-demand webinar: How AI is helping Telford and Wrekin council answer 95% of queries