Applications to this fund are now closed.

A new consortium of organisations led by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has been selected to deliver our £895,000 Cultural commissioning programme over the period from July 2013 to June 2016.  Full details of the programme, and how to stay informed, are here:

The consortium includes New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) and the New Economics Foundation (NEF). As consultants and policy advisors to commissioning bodies, NCVO, NPC and NEF are uniquely placed to build on their extensive knowledge and networks to develop and deliver the programme.

Aims and outcomes

The Programme is working to engage three audiences:

  • Arts and cultural organisations
  • Public service commissioners
  • Policy makers and influencers

Its areas of focus are:

  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Older people
  • Place-based commissioning

The Programme offers a mix of activities, with the objectives of:

  • helping arts organisations, museums and libraries develop skills and capacity to engage in cultural commissioning
  • enabling commissioners to develop awareness and know-how of commissioning arts and cultural organisations to deliver public service outcomes
  • encouraging and strengthening relationships between cultural providers and commissioners
  • influencing policy makers and raising the profile of this area of work.

The Cultural Commissioning Programme is supported by an advisory group with representatives from public sector commissioners, grant funders, social impact arts organisations, National portfolio organisations, museums, libraries and academia.

Resources for arts and cultural organisations to help them engage with commissioning

The Cultural Commissioning Programme has updated its website with a range of new resources for arts and cultural organisations and public service commissioners to help with:

  • Understanding the opportunities to commission arts and cultural providers to deliver outcomes
  • Getting to grips with practicalities, including:
    • partnering with others
    • finding who to talk to locally
    • finding local tenders
    • measuring impact
  • Sourcing evidence to show the value of arts and cultural provision
  • Understanding the national policy context
  • Inspiring projects and case studies

Cultural Commissioning Programme Research Report

The Programme’s research report ‘ Opportunities for Alignment’, published in June 2014, includes new data from a survey of 240 arts and cultural organisations and analysis of charitable arts and cultural organisations based on the data from NCVO's charity almanac.

The report contains important messages for:

  • arts and cultural organisations – how to engage in commissioning, contribute to commissioner outcomes and diversify your income streams
  • public service commissioners and managers – how arts and cultural organisations can help tackle social problems and evidence of their impact on people and places
  • policy makers and influencers – strategic use of the arts and cultural sector to provide creative solutions to difficult problems, build independence and strengthen communities

Read the executive report or download the full report from NCVO website.

Cultural commissioning is one of our grant commissions in our strategic funding programme. It is being funded through both Grant in aid and Lottery budgets.

Visit our useful links and resources page to find out more about strategic commissioning in public services.