New funding structures and systems will aim to improve the experience of grant applicants and use Lottery money more effectively.
Creative Scotland (CS) is aiming to make a three-year financial commitment to all its funded organisations and is looking at how this can be developed into a three-year rolling commitment. A report by a sub group of the Creative Scotland board covering various aspects of Lottery funding recognises that ensuring Scotland’s arts organisations have the “confidence to plan into the future” is a priority. As a result, organisations will no longer be described as ‘Foundation’, ‘Flexibly Funded’ or receiving ‘Annual’ support, and three new funding types will be introduced: funding for individuals (which can include partnerships); project funding (including ‘packages’ of projects); and funded organisations, which receive longer-term funding.
Ways are being sought to blend Scottish Government Grant in Aid and Lottery funds, to give CS more flexibility with its grant-making, but CS has pointed out that “this needs to be carefully managed to protect our stance on additionality.” In future, Lottery cash could be made available to cover some of the core costs of running an organisation, and there will be no maximum time period for a ‘project’, though a funding period of more than three years will be the exception. ‘Strategic commissioning’ in Scotland, which has been heavily criticised for its lack of transparency, is being abandoned: instead CS will seek to work with arts organisations and/or other relevant partners to meet any perceived strategic artform gaps.
A second report – this one by a different sub-group, set up to review CS’s operational methods in the wake of highly publicised concerns raised by a number of Scotland’s artists – has said that clearer, less commercial language and simpler application processes will now be introduced to help funding applicants of all sizes access grant opportunities more easily. And in future CS staff will be deployed in areas where they have the greatest artform expertise, to enable them to support funding applicants more effectively.