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Creative Scotland chair announces internal investigation

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Creative Scotland has announced a major examination of its internal structures, two weeks after a the publication of a highly critical open letter to the arts quango signed by more than 400 arts practitioners.
The organisation’s chair Sandy Crombie revealed that two inquiries are under way. The first is into operational and structural issues and the second will investigate issues around the organisation’s use of Lottery funding.
In a statement, Crombie acknowledged the lack of specialist knowledge in CS following its creation from the Scottish Arts Council. He said: “We will look again at our structure to ensure appropriate prominence is given to art form specialism and to ensure specialist knowledge is used effectively in our decision-making processes.”
The letter is the third response from Crombie to the artists’ letter and the second since an intervention by Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture. After “constructive exchanges” with Crombie, she issued a terse statement of her own, ending: “I have made it clear it is imperative that these issues get sorted.”
Concerning the moves from flexible to project funding which precipitated the original outcry over Creative Scotland, Crombie gave a strong commitment to long term funding. He said: “We continue to be committed to giving high-performing cultural organisations the resources and confidence to plan over the longer term, but now see that this commitment could have been more clearly expressed in recent months.”
He added: “We re-affirm our determination to ensure the maximum possible support from all sources to bring stability and sustainability to those we fund.”
Crombie acknowledged that it was vital that artists and organisations feel able and comfortable to engage with CS in debate and dialogue, saying: “We meet them regularly, but have clearly not appreciated the level of their concerns.
“We need to create open and accessible channels for a continuing dialogue and we have started discussions with all sectors as to how we might set up consultative forums in the most appropriate ways.”
The statement came as Hyslop was due to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture committee this week in a follow-up to evidence given by Creative Scotland chief executive Andrew Dixon last month.
The CS board is next meeting on December 6, and Crombie promised to make further announcements then.

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