Scottish theatres warned of delay in arts funding decisions

Creative Scotland acting chief executive Iain Munro. Photo: Drew Farrell Creative Scotland acting chief executive Iain Munro. Photo: Drew Farrell
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Creative Scotland has warned all its 119 regularly funded organisations that it will not announce its funding decisions for their 2018-2021 grants until the end of January 2018.

Theatres and other arts organisations had been expecting to find out whether they would be funded – and to what extent – soon after CS received its own budget settlement from the Scottish Government on December 14. However, CS has now revealed it will need more time to work out how its budget is allocated.

This is compounded by the expected reduction in income from from the National Lottery, which CS warned in October it expects to result in a reduction in the number of RFOs.

In a letter sent to the RFOs on Monday 20 November 2017, deputy chief executive of Creative Scotland Iain Munro set out the timetable, adding: “We are committed to doing everything we can to announce these decisions as soon as possible after this but it is now clear that this will not be before Christmas.

“With this in mind, our planning now means we will announce decisions by the end of January 2018.”

The application for the 2018-21 funding cycle closed in April this year with 184 eligible applications requesting a total of £153 million for the three-year period, April 2018 to March 2021, 50% up on the current level.

To mitigate the impact of the late decision, CS has said it will extend contracts for all current RFOs until the end of May 2018, based on current funding levels.

Any new RFOs will commence their contracts in April 2018, while the new contracts for existing RFOs will start by the end of May and there will be transitional funding support for existing RFOs that have been unsuccessful in their applications.

In his letter, Munro emphasises that CS expects funding for RFOs to reduce in future, that fewer organisations will be funded than are currently and that “funding awards may not be at the levels requested by organisations”.

Acknowledging it will take time to negotiate revised plans and agree a funding contract between individual RFOs and Creative Scotland he adds: “We suggest it may be helpful to consider planning a board meeting for your organisation shortly after our announcement of decisions, to reflect on the outcome.”