Changes being implemented in the wake of the Norgrove review will place more emphasis on the role of the National Council.
Arts Council England (ACE) Chair Peter Bazalgette has asked members of ACE’s National Council to provide him with regular feedback on his own performance as Chair. Council members Jon Cook and Sheila Healy have been asked to hold discussions with other trustees and reflect their views to him once or twice a year. Breaking from the norm that ACE executives are present for all National Council discussions, the Council will also meet twice a year for around half an hour without executives present. These changes to governance procedures follow an agreement by the Council to implement many of the recommendations put forward in the 2012 ‘Review of the Governance of Arts Council England’ by David Norgrove.
Significant among the changes has been the move for the Council to meet ten times a year rather than three times a year – a frequency that Norgove described as making it difficult for National Council members to keep up to date with the breadth of the Arts Council’s work. ACE’s former Arts Investment sub-committee, which held approval powers for major investment decisions, has been abolished and these decision-making powers have reverted to the full National Council. The composition of the Council has also changed, with the number of members being reduced to 14. Caroline Collier, François Matarasso, Alice Rawsthorn, Anil Ruia and Lee Corner all retired in June, to be replaced by five new members. Whilst the Norgrove report recommended that all its trustees receive “modest remuneration”, as is the practice at English Heritage, Council members have rejected this in the light of the current economic climate.