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Arts Council England national portfolio changes include move to four-year terms

Arts Council England chief executive Darren Henley. Photo: Philippa Gedge
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Arts Council England will now fund major organisations for four year-periods instead of three, it has been confirmed.

The funding body has made significant changes to the way it invests money, with libraries and museums now included in its national portfolio for the first time.

There are now three bands of national portfolio organisations: smaller companies will carry out reduced administration and report to the Arts Council, while larger companies will be expected to contribute more towards improving diversity, developing talent and supporting the sector at large.

A new fund will also be available specifically for individual artists to “develop their creative practice”.

For the first time, organisations that support the sector – but do not produce arts or culture themselves – will also be eligible for NPO funding as Sector Support Organisations. This could include consultancy companies, for example.

ACE first proposed the changes in February, before a public consultation asking the arts sector for its views.

The current pot for museums will be merged with the national portfolio, while libraries will also be eligible for the funding – though only for cultural and museum projects they offer.

Proposing this change in February, the Arts Council said it would stimulate healthy competition and increased collaboration between arts organisations.

Chief executive Darren Henley said the changes to ACE’s investment strategy would help it build on the progress it was making towards fulfilling our strategic goals.

“They will ensure the impact of our investment is far reaching; that we support a wider range of organisations and artists: and that we do more to develop talent, encourage ambition and champion our national creativity,” he explained.

Applications will open in October for the next NPO funding round, which will stretch from 2018 to 2022.

Elsewhere, there will be additional changes to ACE’s Grants for the Arts funding strand for one-off investments, which will be unveiled in the autumn.

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