Arts Council England
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Arts Council England publishes response to McIntosh review of investment strategy

The Arts Council recently published its response to the McIntosh Review – an independent report commissioned by Chief Executive Alan Davey which examines the process used to reach funding decisions last February.

Baroness Genista McIntosh’s report, which is published in full, recognises that the Arts Council has ‘not only the right but the responsibility’ to make hard decisions about funding but makes a number of recommendations about how that process should be handled in future.

The recommendations principally concern Arts Council leadership; the organisation’s relationship with the arts sector; the importance of maintaining a national overview of all the organisations we fund; and bringing more of an external perspective into our thinking and decision-making.

In his response, Alan Davey sets out how the Arts Council will address each recommendation, making clear the lessons we have learned and how they will be applied to future actions.

Arts Council England Chair Christopher Frayling said: "Our new Chief Executive Alan Davey commissioned Genista McIntosh to examine our investment strategy process and her report provides us with a detailed survey.

"It is an independent report which reflects the views and perceptions of the people Jenny spoke to. I completely accept the broad thrust of her recommendations and believe that Alan's response sets out a clear and workable plan which will build on the valuable lessons we have learned."

Baroness McIntosh’s research included conversations with over 100 witnesses – artists and arts organisations, umbrella bodies, Arts Council staff and Council members and other key stakeholders.

Baroness McIntosh said: "The problems encountered in the investment strategy are mostly to do with relationships between the Arts Council, its clients and partners and the publics they serve.

"These relationships are tough and contested. In my view, this is as it should be. It is important to live with this reality but it is equally important not to create additional levels of difficulty through avoidable weaknesses in processes and relationships.

"Now is the time for the Arts Council to look outwards, rebuild those relationships and go forward with renewed energy."

Arts Council Chief Executive Alan Davey said: “I see the publication of this report as heralding a new beginning as we build stronger relationships with the arts world, and use the lessons of the report to move on.

"It is right that we are the kind of organisation that can submit itself to this kind of scrutiny and be open in sharing the lessons it takes from it. Because if we are truly to have excellent publicly funded art in this country, we need to do our job with the highest levels of knowledge, skill and judgment we can, applying the same degree of rigour in our own processes and communications that we expect from those arts organisations and artists we fund.

"We are an organisation that wants to learn and to improve: with the help of Baroness McIntosh's report, we can and will do so."

The McIntosh review and Arts Council England’s response is available in full at www.artscouncil.org.uk


For further information contact:
Andrew Whyte, Executive Director of Advocacy and Communications, Arts Council England 020 7973 5129 / andrew.whyte@artscouncil.org.uk

Louise Wylie, Director of Media Relations, Arts Council England
020 7973 5528 / louise.wylie@artscouncil.org.uk

Notes for editors:

Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives.

As the national development agency for the arts, we support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts.

Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better.

Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

Our February 2008 funding decisions saw that £1.3 billion invested in 888 arts organisations, including 81 new organisations. 753 (76 per cent) of Arts Council regularly funded organisations received increases in their funding in line with, or above, inflation.

Episode 13 | The Digital Divide