Somehow, it always seems that the ?museums and galleries? world faces up to its problems in a somewhat calmer way than the ?arts? (p1).
Faced with a crisis in the regions, a Task Force involving representatives of all stakeholder groups was set up, and a rigorous consultation exercise followed. The group seems to have managed to agree a series of conclusions (including the desirability of a major restructuring), present them coherently to government, and bingo ? the Arts Minister gives the proposals her blessing and sends Resource off to make plans.(Presumably she is now scratching her head as to where exactly she is going to find an extra £265m, at a time when the economy teeters on the brink of a downturn).Such is the value of consultation. It persuades everyone that an honest attempt is being made to get to the bottom of a problem and plan a course of action that reflects the views of those best qualified to comment. Is it too late for the Arts Council of England to learn this lesson? Or, when it publishes the responses to its latest ?restructuring? consultation, will it make revisions to its proposals taking on board the comments that have been made? Only then will we know whether Ace?s consultation reflects a true desire to improve its plans, or whether it is simply a rather sophisticated PR stunt.