From Kim Evans, Acting Chief Executive, Arts Council England
In recent weeks, the efficiency savings achieved by Arts Council England as a result of the restructuring of the arts funding system have been questioned. As the Arts Council begins the campaign for a better settlement for the arts from the Government?s 2006 Spending Review, it is now time to put the record straight.
The Arts Council has achieved efficiency savings of £5.6m, ahead of target, and we are on track to make further savings on top of that of £1.4m next year. The main savings have come from a reduction in staff numbers, the merger of the old South East and Southern offices, a reduction in property costs in central London and procurement savings as a result of being one organisation. This is not a matter of our opinion ? it is a demonstrable fact. The recent criticism was generated by an article by Charles Morgan (AP issue 90, 31 January). His analysis was based on an inaccurate reading of our accounts. These accounts have been independently audited by the National Audit Office. Far from being unwilling to answer his criticisms, the Arts Council?s Executive Director of Finance met personally with Mr Morgan to discuss his concerns and subsequently wrote to him with detailed answers to his questions.
The Arts Council takes its commitment to efficiency very seriously. We have made the efficiencies we said we would. We are on course to make more. You will have noticed that when we announced our budget strategy on 17 March we announced additionally that we are freezing our administration budget for the next three years.