In what is seen by the Arts Council of England (ACE) as the final stage in the creation of the single arts funding organisation, Regional Arts Boards (RABs) have been issued with detailed documents spelling out the process by which RAB assets should be transferred to a single arts funding organisation with a network of nine regional offices.
RABs are considering the documents at meetings taking place this month, and ACE has stated its intention that the new organisation will technically come into being on March 31, though the details of many practical issues relating to the subsequent management of the new body have yet to be determined. The Board of London Arts, the first of the RABs to meet, has already issued a statement that it has agreed in principle to transfer its staff, assets and liabilities to the new organisation, and expects to confirm its agreement in time for the March 31 deadline.
Controversy continues to surround the re-structuring plans, and their implementation. Despite the proposed creation of a new organisation, no information has yet been made public as to its name, nor the implications should RABs refuse to sign up to the transfer document. Research has revealed that at least a third of arts organisations and individuals across the country are still negative about the proposals. Statements relating to the proposals were submitted to a Culture Media and Sport Select Committee on January 15. Southern Arts, which is due to be abolished if the transfer is completed, and the Campaign for the English Regions, which sees the proposals as undermining regional identity, both submitted statements criticising the proposals, but despite the concerns expressed, the Committee appears to have concluded that the re-structuring should go ahead.