Arts Council England is to lose 21 per cent of its workforce and halve the number of executive directors as part of a restructure responding to government demands to cut its administrative costs in half.
Arts Council England will lose 117 of its 559 current staff members and will reduce the number of executive directors from eight to four as of 1 July next year in order to adhere to government requirements as part of its funding of the council for the 2011-15 period.
The North region will take the biggest hit in terms of staff cuts, reducing staff from 91 to 66, while the investment, planning and governance staff numbers will nearly halve and corporate services will lose nearly 20 jobs. The change in structure has been discussed over a consultation period with unions, staff and the sector at large.
In 2010 the new coalition government announced a 29.6 per cent drop in funding to Arts Council England, resulting in the organisation cutting funding to numerous groups. The government is requiring the council to make cuts in administrative costs of 50 per cent, on top of the 15 per cent reduction made two years ago.
Alan Davey, Arts Council England chief executive, said: “These savings have been challenging to achieve, given our already pared down structure.”
In addition to staff changes, the new structure will see a consolidation of areas covered, which will be London, the South East, the South West, the Midlands and the North. Property costs are planned to be cut by half as a result in the reduction in office sizes.
The new structure will mean that everyone has a local and national focus, with expertise in art form and cultural policy spread across the regions.
“There is an absolute need for the Arts Council to remain an intelligent investor, leading growth and ambition in an arts and cultural sector which contributes so much to the wealth, quality of life and reputation of our nation,” said Davey.
“We are protecting the relationship management and the artistic and cultural expertise we know our colleagues in the sector value but we must be pragmatic. We’ll do less and we’ll do it differently – but we’ll do it well.”