Funding of the arts and heritage - Culture, Media and Sport Committee Contents

Supplementary written evidence submitted by Dr Simon Thurley on behalf of English Heritage (arts 238)

  Subsequent to my appearance before the Committee on 19 October, there have obviously been a number of important developments with regard to the funding of English Heritage and the wider heritage sector as a result of the Comprehensive Spending Review. I thought it would be worthwhile outlining the implication of these, and the actions that English Heritage proposes to take in order to maintain and protect the services we provide.

Government announced on 20 October that English Heritage's grant in aid would be reduced by 32%. While we have been preparing for some time for the likelihood of reduced funding, the final figure was significantly more than we had anticipated. It has necessitated some very difficult decisions on our part—after much discussion and analysis, the Chair and Commissioners have agreed that we should prioritise those areas that we regard as being at the core of our responsibilities and for which there are no alternative providers. These are:

    — Our planning advice service to local authorities. This is particularly important in the light of the likely cuts to local authority funding and services.

    — Designation—identifying our heritage and its protection through listing and scheduling. This is an activity that no other organisation is in a position to be able to do.

    — The maintenance and conservation of the properties in our case, and for which we have a responsibility to look after for future generations.

  This approach obviously means that we will have to seek savings elsewhere in the organisation, although given the seriousness of the cut in funding we are still at a relatively early stage in our planning. In addition to further administration and efficiency savings where possible, we intend to look closely at our overlap of activities with other organisations, reduce the total budget for our grant schemes by around one third (a reduction of approximately £11m per year) and to examine ways of reorganising our current staff structure. We expect this reorganisation to involve around 200 staff redundancies, including a number of senior managers. We are also examining further ways of saving money, including changes to our casework systems and changes to the opening hours of our properties.

  There is no doubt that the cut in funding will have a dramatic effect on the way that English Heritage is able to carry out its responsibilities. We are particularly concerned that when combined with the likely reductions to heritage services in local authorities this will lead to significant pressure on the historic environment. At the same time, we have had no choice but to reduce our research capacity—thereby reducing our ability to better investigate and understand England's heritage.

  We aim to publish a Corporate Plan early in 2011 which will set out and explain what and how we will operate over the next four years. At the same time, we are discussing with other organisations how to minimise the impact of reduced funding on the historic environment.

December 2010

Supplementary written evidence submitted by the Arts Council England (arts 240)


  I am writing with the additional information that you have requested following the evidence session that I attended with my Chair, Dame Liz Forgan, on 25 January 2011.

How many works in the Arts Council Collection have not been shown in the last 10 years?

4,102 pieces from the Arts Council Collection have not been displayed within the past 10 years.

With a loan rate of 20-30%, we believe that the Arts Council Collection works extremely hard in comparison to other national collections and we are already looking at how we can better market the collection to ensure that more work is displayed and greatly improving digital access to the collection.

We also need to ensure that at a time when we are acquiring functions for museums, that the Arts Council Collection continues to be administered with reference to the Museum Association's guidelines governing national collections, including those about de-accessioning of art works. The de-accessioning of parts of the collection could pose financial or legal difficulties as well as compromising the integrity and reputation of the collection.

What was Moss Cooper's severance package?

  Moss Cooper, Director of Capital Services, was made redundant on 30 June 2006 as part of a major rationalisation of the National Lottery funded Capital Services Team, which during 2006 was reduced from a staff team of 28 and which now comprises a Capital Services Team of four posts. As with other staff made redundant as part of this restructuring process, Mr Cooper received the statutory redundancy payment he was entitled to as outlined in the Arts Council's redundancy terms agreed with our recognised trade union, Unite and received no other additional payment on the termination of his employment. Due to employee confidentiality under the Data Protection Act and other legal considerations, we are not able to disclose the actual sum Mr Cooper received.

  I have checked and can confirm that as part of this process Moss Cooper was not commissioned to write a report about The Public in West Bromwich.

What is your assessment of "disproportionate cost"? (re: retrieving documents written by Moss Cooper)

  When responding to the questions arising out of my evidence session on the 12 October, we used the expenditure limit for Parliamentary Questions as an indicator of disproportionate cost, which is currently set at £850. As I stressed in my letter of the 4 November, we have five years worth of records on The Public in West Bromwich and we consider that the time and expense of retrieving these records and identifying whether they contain any reports by Moss Cooper that we don't know about would have exceeded this limit.

You said that you would e-mail Moss Cooper to ask about the reports he wrote. Have you done this? If so, what was the response?

We have contacted Moss Cooper asking whether he wrote a report on The Public as part of his leaving arrangements with the Arts Council.

He thinks that there may be confusion between the writing of a "Moss Cooper report" and a major assessment milestone of what was then called C\plex (the former trading name for The Public) undertaken by the Capital Department, published in 2003-04.

  He also said that prior to going on sabbatical in February/March 2005 he wrote a paper for Peter Hewitt and Keith Harrison on capital projects. This was a modelling exercise looking at the likely revenue trends of the capital projects that had completed, and also that were due to complete within the next five years. Included in this modelling would have been the likely future revenue needs of C/Plex, along with the needs of many other capital projects.

  We are locating these within our archive and will send you copies or relevant extracts when they have been located.

  Please let me know if you require any clarification in response to the above or if there is any further information that I can provide you with to assist you with your inquiry on funding for the arts and heritage.

Alan Davey

Chief Executive

18 February 2011

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