Funding of the arts and heritage

Written evidence submitted by &Co (arts 36)

Summary

· In response to The Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry and call for evidence into The Funding of the Arts and Heritage, &Co is pleased to be able to provide the following written submission on behalf of Chief Executive Officers / Directors from 36 arts and cultural organisations located in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

· &Co, formerly known as Audiences Yorkshire, supports arts and cultural organisations with their public engagement needs through the provision of:

research and market analysis, strategic and tactical planning, evaluation and business performance benchmarking;

skills development and skills sharing through our membership base of 81 subscribers representing 189 arts and heritage organisations in the Yorkshire and Humber region;

on and offline routes to market via our market leading print distribution and web listings guide and online ticketing service.

· In August 2010 &Co contacted Chief Executive Officers, representing a broad cross-section of arts and heritage organisations at a local level and asked them to complete an e-survey to assess what impact recent, and future, spending cuts from central and local Government will have on the arts and heritage in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

· This submission has been informed by the responses to the e-survey which achieved a 44% response rate.

· Respondents to the e-survey can be categorised into the following organisation types, 92% of which are currently in receipt of public funding:

X2 Festivals

X1 Local Authority

X7 Museum or Galleries

X6 Performing Arts Companies

X3 Arts Promoters

X9 Theatres or Arts Centres

X2 Umbrella type organisations

· The following organisations are happy to be identified as named respondents: Beverley Folk Festival, Kala Sangam, Music in the Round, National Coal Mining Museum for England, Northern Ballet Theatre, Red Ladder Theatre Company, Thackray Medical Museum, The Civic (Barnsley Civic Enterprise Ltd) and Wakefield Jazz.

Evidence

1. The findings from the e-survey reveal how arts and cultural leaders are anticipating that the spending cuts to local and central Government will impact on their organisations:

a. The impact of spending cuts affects all respondents, 91% of whom are still engaged in planning for the impact of the cuts. Over the course of this financial year and next, finance and fundraising generated through Local Authorities is predicted to be the worst affected by some distance.

b. Ancillary income, box office and corporate hospitality events are all anticipated to suffer. Corporate sponsorship is expected to tail off from financial year 2011/12.

c. The annual programmes for arts and cultural organisations are set to change with the amount of artistic work dropping significantly (net 1-50% in 2010/11 and net -68% in 2011/12).

d. Resources for and the amount of education or outreach is also anticipated to fall. As is the number of audiences for these organisations.

e. Offline marketing and audience development resources are anticipated to have a major decrease (net -60% in 2010/11 and net -52% in 2011/12).

f. Professional development for staff, staffing and salary levels are all anticipated to drop by a significant proportion of survey respondents.

2.&Co asked arts and cultural leaders how they were preparing to adapt their organisations to the changes ahead.

a. Local Authorities, Festivals and Museums and Galleries represented the most negative feeling organisations towards the spending cuts; Theatres or Arts Centres presented themselves as the most positive. This may be due to the higher proportion of their income which comes from Box Office sales / fee paying audiences.

b. The negativity was centred on the impact of funding cuts particularly in relation to the anticipated decrease in audience numbers and corporate hospitality take up. It is anticipated that this will require organisations to consider alternative sources of funding or additional income streams.

c. However, in the wake of change, a degree of optimism or positivity was also voiced. A focus on collaboration, networking, information sharing and pooling of resources were cited most frequently as a way for organisations to adapt to in-year and future funding cuts. 11% of respondents stated that they were considering a formal merger.

3. In conclusion, &Co can identify for the DCMS inquiry that:

a. Responses to this e-survey suggest that the effect of spending cuts will be immediate, severe and potentially long-lasting.

b. The cuts from Local Authorities are expected to have an even wider impact that cuts to Arts Council England funding.

c. In-year, cuts are likely to impact negatively on the quality of the artistic product and the number of visitors / audiences with whom an organisation engages.

d. Beyond 2011/12, respondents report that the impact will shift to a reduction in the quantity of artistic product and the diversity of its audiences. The result of this is predicted to be less work produced and little increase in the diversity of audiences.

e. As income from public sources is anticipated to decrease, so is earned income and corporate support. The marginal optimism felt about the level of support from individual donors does not offset the clear picture of anticipated reduced total income across an organisation’s income portfolio.

f. Museums and Galleries feel particularly challenged in identifying new income streams and will require specialist attention and support in dealing with these challenges.

g. As a result it is anticipated that there will be significant structural and organisational changes necessary to accommodate a lower level of public funding. Arts and heritage organisations, in particular museums and galleries will therefore require professional support to see them through a major programme of transition.

h. Organisations are considering a wide range of responses to the challenges and anticipate needing a wide range of both in-house and external support.

i. Historically, organisations would have been able to look to DCMS arm’s-length bodies such as the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council for support towards meeting their organisational development needs. The abolition of such infrastructure support bodies means that the DCMS needs to clearly identify to its publicly funded organisations where reliable support will be found in the future to sustain Arts and Heritage organisations through the spending cuts.

j. &Co is part of a UK-wide network of Audience Development Agencies expert in supporting organisations with the expertise required to engage and develop audiences (www.audiencesuk.org) and we see audiences as a business critical element in the income earning potential of arts and heritage organisations in the future. Such organisations including &Co are vital to the arts and heritage infrastructure and part-funded by Arts Council England. These organisations have the skills, market intelligence and resources to support arts and heritage organisations turn their existing businesses into models that can be sustained despite the spending cuts.

k. Where support and expertise is required from outside the Arts and Heritage sector e.g. external professional advice from Human Resources and Legal consultants, DCMS needs to ensure that effective signposting to reliable support channels is in place with immediate effect. This will help support arts and heritage organisations with the imminent and difficult decisions they will be taking to ensure their survival and sustainability and for the wider benefit of public life.

September 2010


[1] By net percent we mean the proportion of respondents answering positively subtracted by the proportion answering negatively. i.e. if 10% expected an increase; 30% expected no change and 60% expected a decrease, the net percent would be a 50% expected decrease.