Arts Council delays £2.7m Quality Metrics decision

The Quality Metrics programme will ascribe a numerical value to the artistic quality of theatre companies' work. Photo: KP Photograph/Shutterstock
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Arts Council England has postponed its multimillion-pound plan to grade the artistic quality of work using data.

The programme, Quality Metrics, was first announced last year, with the Arts Council putting out an invitation to tender for the contract in March.

It is the largest external contract the funding body has ever issued, offering £2.7 million to whoever delivers the programme.

Quality Metrics will mean funded organisations must conduct self, peer and public assessments through a survey, with the numbers being ascribed a numerical value. This will then be used to determine a “measure of quality” of the art being assessed.

The contract was due to run from May this year until March 2020, and details were expected last month. However, The Stage understands that this has now been delayed.

ACE said it was “halting to review some aspects and consider [its] options” for meeting the procurement process requirements.

A statement said: “Our focus is on achieving the right result for the sector and Arts Council England, so we are reviewing our approach to ensure that we meet these needs. Once a decision has been made, we will of course make all interested parties aware.”

ACE was unable to give any details on the timescale, or whether Quality Metrics will still come into force in 2018, to tie in with the upcoming national portfolio round.

Current plans mean that all organisations receiving more than £250,000 will have to take part in the Quality Metrics scheme, with those receiving less also encouraged to adopt it.