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With the date Arts Council England announces funding decisions for the next National Portfolio confirmed as Wednesday 26 October, Arts Professional examines the options for organisations that miss out.

As tensions rise across the arts and culture sector ahead of Arts Council England (ACE) unveiling its national portfolio plans for 2023-26 later this month, organisations across the country are crossing their fingers that they get the investment nod.

Those that receive good news will be in celebratory mood, but ACE has warned that many applications will be unsuccessful due to record demand for grants and major changes to the way money is distributed.

The implications for organisations that miss out will be huge, but ACE says it will offer support by means of its Transition Programme.  


ACE has received more than 1,700 applications to the 2023-26 portfolio, requesting a total of more than £2bn over the three-year period - more than double the existing number of 828 NPOs it funds at the moment.

The Transition Programme is designed for organisations that are already part of the National Portfolio but are unsuccessful in their applications for 2023-26 funding. It aims to help them continue to operate while they make a decision on their future.

What is on offer?

Existing NPOs are already guaranteed funding up until the end of March 2023.  The Transition Programme will provide NPOs, or organisations funded outside the National Portfolio through Business Plan funding, that are unsuccessful up to three months' of additional funding - covering them until 30 June 2023.

For NPOs that receive a conditional offer of funding from ACE later this month, but are then unable to reach agreement on the final terms of the grant, up to six months’ funding will be available - covering them until 30 September 2023.

This equates to 25% or 50% respectively of the total ACE funding they recieved as an NPO for the year ending 31 March 2023. So an NPO that is receiving £600,000 for the current financial year would be eligible for up to £150,000 in transition support if it receives no offer of funding, or £300,000 if it receives a conditional offer, but is unable to agree final terms.

What is the money intended for?

ACE said the programme is designed to "assist [NPOs] to wind down or move towards a new operating and/or funding model in a managed and orderly manner".

ACE has said eligible organisations must demonstrate a "clear need for funding". They may apply for costs to support moving towards or adopting a new business model, or the orderly winding down of elements of the organisation’s activity, or the entire organisation, "should the board or equivalent determine that the activity cannot continue without Arts Council investment".

Funding can also be used to cover the cost of activity during the year ending 31 March 2024 for which forward commitments have been made, such as contracts for freelancers, or planned cultural activity.

Applicants will be required to submit a plan and budget setting out how the funding applied for would be used and what public benefit would accrue.

Organisations will not be able to apply for new creative or cultural activity, and will be ineligible for funding if they are facing insolvency.

ACE has said it reserves the right to refuse funding or make reduced offers if ineligible expenditure is included in the application, if the application does not address the criteria for the programme, or if a case is not made for the need for funding.

How to apply

Eligible organisations will need to complete an application form, to which they will need to attach a narrative plan of no more than 1,500 words and an accompanying budget that sets out proposed activity during the funding period and how the funds will be used.

The application portal, which will be available on the Grantium platform, will open on Tuesday 7 November 2022 and close on Tuesday 28 February 2023, to allow time for applications to be submitted by organisations that are unable to reach a funding agreement.

ACE has said that organisations would be notified of the outcome within eight weeks of making an application, although holiday periods such as Christmas may extend this.