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With less than a day to go until arts and culture organisations were due to find out whether they will receive investment as part of the National Portfolio, Arts Council England delays the decision date.


Howard Lake

Arts Council England has said it is pausing tomorrow’s planned announcement of its National Portfolio following discussions with central government.

A statement put out by ACE said that following talks with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), it has "agreed to delay the announcement of the organisations joining our 2023-26 Investment Programme".

It added that the announcement of the portfolio will "instead be made as soon as possible within the coming days".


Arts Council England’s Chief Executive, Darren Henley said: “We feel for everyone awaiting the outcome of their funding application.  
"We recognise the importance of giving organisations certainty to enable business planning and we know a delay will cause some disruption.
“We thank everyone for their patience. We are working with DCMS to reschedule this announcement as soon as possible.”  

The announcement comes on the day that Rishi Sunak becomes Prime Minister after winning the Conservative Party leadership contest yesterday.

Significant anxiety

News of the delay has prompted concerns about the impact of the decision on those organisations that had been anxiously waiting to hear if they have received funding.

Russ Tunney, Director of Pound Arts Trust tweeted: "NPO applicants everywhere - you are brilliant. Look after yourselves - this news is bound to create significant anxiety at an already bad time."

Another twitter user said the pause will be particularly difficult for disabled and neurodivergent people. "The delay with less than 24 hours notice will be difficult for everyone but particular #solidarity to any disabled & neurodivergent people finding this sudden change of plan hard," Touretteshero tweeted.

Alex Croft Creative Director at Kala Sangam, who previously worked for ACE, urged people not to blame his former organisation for the delay.

"NPO delay announcement is obviously massively stressful for those of us waiting on results, but as a former [relationship manager] please don’t go off on ACE. They likely got zero notice and are as annoyed as all of us. Crap situation all round."

Transition funding 

ACE has previously made clear that, due to record demand, many worthy applications will miss out on funding. It 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.

A Transition Programme has been set up to allow unsuccessful NPOs, or organisations funded outside the National Portfolio through Business Plan funding, additional time to make a decision on their future - whether that be finding new forms of funding, scaling back their work, or winding down.

ACE has said that, in light of the delay announced today, it will be revising the details of the transition programme to make sure organisations that do not secure funding are not adversely impacted.

"It is our intention to address levels and duration of transition funding to ensure leavers are not disadvantaged by the pause," the statement by ACE said.