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Arts Council England announces proposed restructure to save £6.5million a year

25 February 2009

Arts Council England today announced details of a proposed organisation-wide restructure that will save £6.5 million a year in administration costs and invest these savings in the arts.

Having already made savings of £9.6 million a year in running costs since 2002, through a programme of reform and improvement, making these further savings has required a major restructuring of the whole organisation.

The proposed changes will meet the government’s requirement that the Arts Council saves 15 per cent on its grant in aid administration costs by 2010. The Arts Council decided that it should also find equivalent savings on its National Lottery administration costs, making a total saving of £6.5 million a year.

This major review has also given the Arts Council the opportunity to address the recommendations of the July 2008 McIntosh report and our Chief Executive’s vision for the organisation, arising out of his response to that report.

The principal changes contained in the proposal include:

· an overall reduction in staff numbers across the organisation of 24 per cent

· nine streamlined regional offices grouped in four areas – North; Midlands and South West; East and South East; London

· a smaller head office, which will also co-locate with the London regional office

· a smaller executive board – nine members instead of 14

· a centralised Grants for the arts team based in Manchester

· a staffing structure redefined to place an increased focus on customer relationships

Although staff numbers are substantially reduced, the proposed new structure allows people to share resources and knowledge in a more flexible way across the organisation. Processes are also made simpler with, for example, a centralised Grants for the arts team based with the support services centre in Manchester. Less process work will allow staff in the regions to spend more time on customer-focused activities and the proposed smaller executive board will be more strategically focused and able to make faster decisions.

Arts Council England Chief Executive Alan Davey said:

“We need to truly become one organisation which is confident and ambitious and shares knowledge internally and externally. I want to create a culture that moves away from the false polarities of national versus regional; that has real ambition for the arts and what the arts can do, and knows how to realise it.

“This proposal outlines a new Arts Council where responsibilities are clear and creative input at all levels is encouraged. Making the most of our talented and motivated workforce can only be of the greatest benefit to the organisations we fund and the rich arts landscape this country has to offer.”

A period of formal consultation with all Arts Council employees about the proposal has now begun and will run until 26 May 2009. Final plans will then be drawn up and submitted for approval to Arts Council England’s National Council in July 2009. It is expected that all the changes will have been implemented by the end of March 2010.

Further details of the proposed changes can be found here.

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Notes to editors

1. 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.