ACE announces NPO decisions, including expanded support for regional museums 7 Nov 2022

Arts Council England has announced the recipients of National Portfolio Funding for the period 2023–26. 990 organisations share an annual sum of £443m, with 276 joining the portfolio for the first time. Figures include:  

  • All NMDC's member museums have had their NPO status renewed. Some have seen increases, including Derby Museums Trust with a rise from £400k to £550k. Others have declines in funding, with University of Cambridge Museums group seeing a drop by 50% to £600k and York Museums Trust losing 22% (although figures for some museums have changed as they no longer include Museum Development grants). 
  • Overall investment in museums increased by £6.4m to just over £37.6m each year. 26 museums have been added to the portfolio for the first time – including the National Football Museum, Bradford Museums & Galleries, St Albans Museums, the Postal Museum and the Garden Museum – as well as two new museum support organisations, GEM and the Touring Exhibitions Group. 
  • However, in line with Government guidance to ACE to redirect 16% in funds from London to the regions, there have also been some major removals from the portfolio: the English National Opera is losing its £12.5m subsidy and is moving its HQ out of London, though it will still maintain its London Coliseum site. 24 other organisations have been given money by ACE to relocate outside the capital by 2024. Some major theatres, including Donmar Warehouse have also lost all NPO funding.
  • ACE says its portfolio is now more diverse and representative, with 8.4% of the portfolio 51%+ Black, Asian and ethnically diverse led, and 32 organisations (2%) are 51%+ disability led. 20% more organisations are funded to deliver work for young people.

  In an interview with The Times ACE Chair Sir Nicholas Serota said that it had taken the 'horrible' decision to remove NPO funding from some London arts organisations altogether rather than 'spreading the misery' across all. He said “none of the organisations from which we’re taking away money have failed. They’re all in business, they’re attracting audiences, they’re doing good work. These organisations are part of their community, they are employing people, they’re giving pleasure.” Nevertheless, he supports the uplift to the regions, including a 95% uplift to some targeted areas. He said “I don’t think London has had too much money but if we’ve got a finite sum, I think it’s right that more should be spent elsewhere. The arts don’t stand stand still. We want to look at new things, we want to be in new places.”. ACE, Museums Journal, Twitter (ACE funding by percentage loss), Art Newspaper, Guardian, BBC