It’s been a busy year to date, largely dominated by the unexpected opportunity to work with Arts Council England, South East in a Regional Planning role. It was a heady, hugely intense experience, learning and processing ACE systems and culture, while working on a regional basis for the first time. And, of course, gaining an immensely valuable insight into our arts funding system.
Two years ago, the DCMS required ACE to reduce their spending on admin by £6m, which meant a wholesale restructure. In the process, pretty much every policy, system and procedure has been reviewed and changed, along with a quite serious reduction in staff numbers.
ACE approached this in the spirit of both challenge and good practise, taking the opportunity to iron out some of its anomalies and create what they hope will prove to be a better arts management system for our arts sector – and better working relationships with Local Authorities.
Have they succeeded? It looks good on paper, but it’s for the sector to judge over the course of time. And of course, come the October 20th announcement of the CSR – and the DCMS settlement to ACE – the whole system is likely to be scrambled in a way we haven’t seen since the eighties…