AP’s first Pulse survey has revealed that three-quarters want a separate application process for Lottery funding and two-thirds reject the use of arts Lottery cash for the core funding of NPOs.
A sector-wide survey exploring the question ‘Arts Lottery funding – who should benefit?’ has revealed widespread concerns over Arts Council England’s (ACE) plans to use Lottery money to wholly fund some of its National Portfolio Organisations (NPO). Only a quarter of the 360 survey respondents said that ACE should ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ use Lottery money for the core funding of National Portfolio Organisations, while almost two-thirds rejected the idea. More negative still was the reaction to any suggestion of ACE combining the application process for both grant-in-aid and Lottery funding in its forthcoming NPO funding round: three quarters of respondents felt that Lottery funded arts activity should have an application process that is distinct and separate from the application process for arts funding from government sources. Among the hundreds of comments made, one respondent said: “Lottery money must be kept separate from government funding; otherwise it is just another tax but with prizes.” There is overwhelming support for retaining the principle of ‘additionality’ – that Lottery grant giving is additional to and not a substitute for Government expenditure – at the heart of decision-making on Lottery funding. But there is far more uncertainty as to whether specific artforms or types of arts activities should be viewed as ‘additional’ to what would normally be funded by Government. ACE has identified festivals, circus and participatory arts as possible contenders to become Lottery NPOs, but the overall mood of the responses from the sector was “We should value all art forms, not marginalise some.”
As well as questionnaire responses, the survey elicited over 600 comments related to the use of Lottery funding, and perhaps unsurprisingly, given the timing of the survey shortly after the publication of the RoCC report on regional funding of the arts, many comments were about the distribution of Lottery funding across England, demanding a better balance across the country: distributing the lottery money geographically in proportion to where it is raised was one suggestion, while another saw ACE’s role as a Lottery distributor as a problem: “Arts lottery funding should have a greater level of local determination, including being prioritised to address local priorities, with local people. It should not be decided by a call centre in Manchester. I would favour arts lottery being devolved to local government, bringing it in line with arrangements to localise and combine budgets.”
AP asked ACE how the findings of this survey will influence their thinking on its decisions about the core funding of NPOs. A spokesperson said: “This is a timely debate and the findings of the Pulse survey highlight some key aspects of the wider issue of National Lottery funding. Ahead of the upcoming investment process the Arts Council will continue to look at all the ways in which it can make more flexible use of its National Lottery funds while preserving the important ‘additionality principle’. We will share more information on our approach when the application portal opens on January 7 2014.”