Written evidence submitted by sinfonia
ViVA (arts 162)
What impact recent and future spending cuts from
central and local government will have on the arts at a national
and local level?
Because Arts organisations are adept
at adapting to changing financial circumstances the effects of
cuts in income can appear to be minimal in the short term. It
is only in the medium and long term that the effect on the development
of the art form and its practice can be felt.
Some arts organisations will thrive in
this environment of cutsthey will find ways to take managed
risks and will continue to develop and move their practice forward
as a result. However, for many organisations this will not be
possible and the perceived risk of investment and development
will be too high and therefore they will stand still.
There is no national answer to this.
There must be an understanding that metropolitan and high profile
organisations are better equipped to cope with reductions in public
funding due to the nature of their connections to individuals
and the high visibility and acceptance of their work. It is the
more rural and social enterprise organisations which will find
it harder in the more straightened times.
What arts organisations can do to work more closely
together in order to reduce duplication of effort and make economies
This question infers that there is an
awful lot of fat in each organisation. Certainly in regional Arts
organisations this is not the case and there is not a huge lot
of duplication in "back office" operations. Indeed five
Derby regularly funded organisations have been working over the
summer to explore economies by working together and have not managed
to find any savings of any significance.
Having said that, the initiative driven culture
of the last 10 or so years means there are a lot of organisations
running within each art form on a regional basis which are not
under an overall strategy for that region. So for instance there
is Sing Up, Youth Music and Music Leader active as individual
programmes along with professional orchestras in most regions.
One idea would be to look at these individual sections on a regional
basis and put them under one umbrella and give the whole lot an
overarching strategy. Possible savings in administration and other
overhead costs, and a more effective delivery organisation.
What level of public subsidy for the arts and
heritage is necessary and sustainable?
This is almost impossible to answer.
Surely we should be asking what kind of sector we want, how we
build it and how much we are prepared to pay for it. What role
do the Arts play in the society we want to live and work in?
Whether the current system and structure of funding
distribution is the right one
There must remain a local voice in distribution
of public funding. There should also be a degree of accountability
for those organisations in receipt of public money. There is a
need for the distribution to be done in a way that removes any
notion of political influence or ambition. Therefore the Arts
Council seems a sensible way of distributing the money.
If we agree that the Arts Council is
the best method for distributing public funding then it alone
should be responsible for all arts spend and when appropriate
work in association with other government departments. It should
not, therefore, be sidelined by other departments delivering arts
Should caution about reverting back to
too much initiative driven work. Need to give organisations a
sense of ongoing viability. Need to build partnerships, confidence
and audiences and all that takes time.
Whether the policy guidelines for National Lottery
funding need to be reviewed
The key here is to get the Lottery back
to its original purposes and ethos.
Whether business and philanthropists can play
a long-term role in funding arts at a national level
They do, but only as part of a set of
funders. However, smaller, more local organisations will need
to work harder to engage new funders of significant value in the
short term. The key words here are the long termany change
needs to be thought about over a long period, putting in place
the tools first then allowing time to work on increasing other
forms of funding before a change in public funding is made.
Whether there need to be more Government incentives
to encourage private donations
Government needs to do more to incentivise
giving and support of the Arts. Yes it is about money, but it
is also about association with the organisations themselves. Private
organisations and individuals often want to be associated with
things that are seen to be of importance. How frequently do we
see MPs at cultural events, supporting them in public. Big stuff
gets this, but how much local work gets the benefit if interest
from major politicians. People want to be associated with sports
events, but the Arts seem to be less attractive.
Once this level of importance is acknowledged
then others will follow.
Individual givers like to be part of
a plural funding structure. Indeed it is dangerous for any organisation
to be too reliant on one source or individual. Public money is
key to this plural funding structure for a large number of organisations
across the country. The will to give comes first followed by consideration
of tax benefits etc.
Needs to work with organisations to develop
this business and individual support. Skills in organisations
need developing. Government should not look like it is opting
out of supporting the Arts. On the contrary it should be seen
as helping to unlock more money and changing the way people think
The private sector needs confidence about
the agenda for the Arts and the government must demonstrate its
strategy clearly. It feels like we have been asked to build a
new house, but have not been given the plans to work to.