Arts Council England announces NPOs for 2018 – 2022 4/7/2017

The Arts Council has announced the cultural bodies which will be National Portfolio Organisations for the period 2018 – 22. In a speech introducing the portfolio Chief Executive Darren Henley said organisations were ‘representative of and relevant to’ contemporary society, and include many smaller organisations for the first time. 831 organisations collectively receive £409m each year, or £1.6bn over the whole period. There are 183 new NPOs, of which 66 are museums. All NMDC's current Major Partner Museum members have been confirmed as new NPOs at either tier two (£250k - £1m) or tier three (over £1m). Statistics include:

  • Of the £409m invested in NPOs, £341m is grant-in-aid and £68m National Lottery funding.
  • 531 previously funded organisations received the same level of support, 12 received a decrease, and 98 an increase, the latter in ‘exceptional circumstances’ for organisations producing genuinely new work or increasing their resilience.
  • £170m more will be spent outside London – a shift of 4.6% which means more than 60% will be spent outside the capital. Reading, Bradford, Plymouth, Northumberland and Stoke are among the places receiving significantly more.
  • The ‘Elevate’ programme was successful in making many organisations ready to receive NPO funding for the first time: 20 of 40 Elevate participants are now NPOs.
  • There are 72 museums and six libraries in the portfolio.
  • Annual spend on portfolio museums will be £36.6m, up from £27.3m in the last round when only 21 large museums were included.
  • AIM was one of six Sector Support Organisations with a brief specifically for museums to receive funding. It receives £1.2m. Kids in Museums has also become a Sector Support NPO for the first time.

Commenting in Apollo magazine, the MA’s Alistair Brown said that the announcement was not the ‘rescue package’ that some museums had hoped for, but nevertheless ACE has spent £10m more on museums and invested in smaller institutions in places such as Barnsley where the council is also investing in its museum and cultural services. Meanwhile most larger institutions maintained standstill funding.

ACE’s press conference also emphasised its 18 months of work to ensure more organisations from the regions and a more diverse cultural mix joined the portfolio. ACE’s new Chairman Sir Nicholas Serota said “everyone deserves the chance to experience the sheer enjoyment, creativity and new horizons that culture can bring.We set out to deliver a significant increase in our investment outside London. We’ve done that, without detriment to the internationally renowned cultural offer of the capital.Alongside continuing support for our great national companies, we’ve funded inventive, pioneering arts organisations and a new range of museums across the country.” ACE, Museums Journal, Museums Journal (comment) AIM, Evening Standard (Nicholas Serota), ACE blog, M + H, The Art Newspaper, Apollo magazine