To create our 2012-15 National portfolio, we introduced a new application-based funding system, and have used a fair and thorough application and decision making process, drawing on regional knowledge, artform expertise and a national overview, to assess the applications we received.

Find out more about the application process.

The decision-making process involved two distinct stages: 1) an assessment of each application on its own merits and its ability to deliver against the goals set out in Achieving great art for everyone; 2) a balancing of the entire portfolio to achieve the best result for the arts overall. The final decisions were taken by our National Council and the nine Regional Councils.

Funding levels appropriate to each organisation rather than 'equal pain for all'

Each organisation has received the level of funding judged appropriate to its individual circumstances and to the programmes set out in their applications, rather than applying a policy of 'equal pain for all'. For example, many are receiving increases due to a major transformation of their organisation (eg The Hepworth Wakefield), because they will greatly expand their programmes of activity (Stratford Circus), or because they provided a compelling vision in their application (Farnham Maltings). Others are receiving decreases that require them to refocus their work.

A small number of organisations have been offered a longer funding period, stretching beyond 2015, in response to their particular applications and to test the potential of a more flexible funding approach. These organisations will be part of a pilot project so that the benefits of longer funding periods can be properly evaluated.

Supporting and protecting risk-taking and innovative organisations

In making its decisions, the Arts Council has endeavoured to support and protect:

  • a wide range of risk-taking and innovative organisations (eg Manchester International Festival; Artangel; Kneehigh)
  • the great flagship organisations, encouraging them to take on wider responsibilities (eg National Theatre; Royal Opera House and its Thurrock operation)
  • the backbone of regional theatre (increased by 1.1% in cash terms)
  • the iconic new modern and contemporary arts galleries in the regions (eg The Hepworth Wakefield; Turner Contemporary)
  • symphony orchestras (limited to 2.3% cash cut) - and also smaller adventurous music ensembles (eg Birmingham Contemporary Music; Psappha; Aurora)
  • poetry, new writers and literature in translation (eg Faber and Faber; Arvon Foundation)
  • great choreographic talent (eg Wayne McGregor; Hofesh Shechter; Siobhan Davies)