2015-18 funding relationships: information and downloads

This is our resource page for National portfolio organisations (including Bridge organisations), Major partner museums and Museum development providers for 2015-18.

For information for recipients of all other funding, please visit individual pages in our funding section.

Welcome Message

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A message from Althea Efunshile, Acting Chief Executive, Arts Council England

Welcome to our 2015/16 to 2017/18 portfolio!

It seems quite a while since we began the investment process for National portfolio organisations and Major partner museums.  I think the process has gone pretty smoothly so far, although I’m aware that at times negotiation around the funding agreements has felt demanding.  Many thanks to all of you for engaging with us in such a constructive way over these last few months.

We’ve now allocated more than a billion pounds for the purpose of achieving Great art and culture for everyone between 2015-18. Funding agreements have been issued to 663 National portfolio organisations and 21 Major partner museums.

Today sees the publication of information that sets out what we expect of those organisations from 2015 onwards - and what you can expect from us.  

We want to establish new standards of accountability - on both sides – and offer greater transparency. We’ve set out risk assessment and goal monitoring prompts for the first time, and we’re publishing comprehensive briefing notes that explain our terms and conditions and what we require from business plans.

We’ve made some changes too to the Annual Survey so that we can demonstrate more easily how, together,  we are delivering on the five goals of our ten year strategy achieving Great art and culture for everyoneThe refreshed Annual Survey now reflects the importance we attach to the Creative Case for Diversity; we’ve broadened our monitoring to include broadcasts and festivals;  and we’ve included a new section on digital engagement, looking at how organisations use their on-line presence.

Projections for funding within the public sector remain very challenging for 2016/17 and 2017/18, and we don’t yet know what the future holds for the level of public investment in arts and culture. We will press for a minimum of standstill funding because we believe public money spent on the arts and culture represents an investment in individuals, society and economic growth. But in the meantime we have made it clear to funded organisations that our Grant-in-Aid funding beyond 2016 will only be confirmed following the election and the subsequent spending review.

Whatever the future holds, it is those who have thought through and planned the detail of their operations who will be best equipped to thrive. That is why we have placed such a focus on business plans and resilience in this investment process. We want to see healthy and stable organisations, artists and practitioners free to pursue their creative ambitions, and a public that is thrilled and moved by great art and culture across the country..

I wish you a fruitful and successful 2015 and beyond.

Your relationship with the Arts Council

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Relationship framework

This outlines how we work with National portfolio organisations, Major partner museums and Museum development providers. It is also relevant to our partner funders such as local authorities and other interested cultural organisations. 

Download the Relationship framework

Relationship managers

As outlined in the Relationship framework, relationship managers provide the key point of contact between the Arts Council and portfolio organisations. They are based in our regional offices, allowing them to respond to local issues.

Relationship managers have specialisms in one or more artform, and cross-cutting specialisms such as children and young people, engagement and participation or diversity. We assign organisations in the portfolio relationship managers who understand the specific nature of the work they deliver.

Briefing notes: Achieving our mission with funded organisations

These briefing notes set out how our work with National portfolio organisations and Major partner museums over the 2015-18 period will help us achieve our mission of Great art and culture for everyone. Please read them.

National portfolio briefing note: Word, PDF

Major partner museums briefing note: Word, PDF

Funding requirements

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Terms & conditions: National portfolio organisations, Major partner museums

Standard terms and conditions are a part of our grant funding agreements. Here we share the latest versions for National portfolio organisations and Major partner museums.

Terms & conditions: Word, PDF

Terms & conditions: Museum development providers

Standard terms and conditions are a part of our grant funding agreements. Here we share the latest versions for Museum development providers.

Terms & conditions: Word, PDF

Annual survey: 2014-15 funded organisations

All National portfolio organisations and Major partner museums are required to complete an annual survey as a condition of funding. This does not apply to Museum development providers. The survey for the reporting period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015 is launching on 27 April  2015 and will follow the same format and guidance as the 2013-14 survey.

Survey guidance: Word, PDF

Guidance note for completing the year-end report: Word, PDF

Survey questions: Word, PDF

Year-end report template: WordPDF

Annual survey Frequently asked questions: Word, PDF

Annual survey: 2015-18 funded organisations

We have a new annual survey for our 2015-18 funded organisations. You can download a copy of the survey and guidance now, but please note some small changes may still be made before we ask funded organisations to complete the first year of the survey, for 2015-16. We will update our funded organisations if this happens. If you have any feedback on this survey, please contact us at: npo.survey@artscouncil.org.uk.

Download the survey: Excel workbook

Download the guidance: Word, PDF 

Displaying your grant award logo

By accepting your grant award, you have made a commitment to acknowledge our support publicly. Our grant award logo section explains how you should use these logos.

Artistic and Quality assessment

Artistic and Quality assessors review work by National portfolio organisations and Major partner museums, producing a report assessing the work's quality. Assessors also sample programmed (i.e. sampling two or more pieces of work in a programme series) and participatory work by National portfolio organisations.

Read more about Artistic and Quality assessment.

Equality requirements

We are interested in the artistic aspect of equality and diversity described as the Creative Case. This is the recognition that artistic and cultural excellence rely on the richness and innovation that diversity brings. As part of our funding agreements, we ask our National portfolio organisations, Major partner museums, and Museum development providers to develop and utilise an equality action plan.

Find out more about the Creative Case and our approach to diversity.

Environmental sustainability requirements

Through our actions and investment, we are committed to embedding environmental sustainability in the arts and cultural sector. In 2012, in a world first, the Arts Council introduced environmental reporting, policy and action plan requirements for National portfolio organisations, Bridge organisations and Major partner museums and.

We have asked organisations to:

- collect environmental data
- have in place an Environmental Action Plan and Policy

Our partnership with Julie's Bicycle provides the means for organisations to achieve this.

For each of the years that the funding agreement covers, we are asking for the entry of data to be completed by a deadline. The deadline for entry of the 2014/15 data is 31 May 2015

National portfolio organisations and Touring

To protect and strengthen the touring infrastructure, we have allocated Lottery funds to our National portfolio to support touring. Organisations receiving Lottery either tour or present touring work.

Lottery funds come with particular requirements for their use and accounting.  We have endeavoured to make these requirements as straightforward as possible for you, and we ask for your co-operation with two conditions:

1. That you display the correct logo on your promotional material, acknowledging Lottery funding

2. That you supply a straight forward pro forma with your touring expenditure in October every year. This is required to demonstrate that the lottery funds were used for their intended purpose. Download the pro forma template.

Internships in the arts

We expect all National portfolio organisations to pay interns. We have published these guidelines to help clarify the legal obligations of arts organisations offering internships.

Arts Council England data principles

Transparency is a key part of how we operate.  We are committed to routinely publishing data and, where possible, providing quick and easy access to material in line with our data principles and without any need for a formal written request.

Download the data Principles Word PDF

Download the Data publication schedule Word PDF

Data sharing and National portfolio organisations

We have developed a Q&A document on the Arts Council’s requirements for National portfolio organisations around data sharing. It explains why we ask organisations to have data sharing agreements in place and answers some of your questions. We will update with new questions and answers over the coming months. Download the Q&A (last updated on 19 January 2016) here: Word PDF


This is the template that National portfolio organisations should use to confirm with the Arts Council that they have data sharing agreements in place, where relevant: xls

National portfolio organisations that work in partnership with other Arts Council England funded organisations to create, present or distribute art or cultural activities should send this template to their Relationship Manager in order to meet the April 2016 payment condition in the funding agreement.   

Financial intervention

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Principles and guidance note

National portfolio organisations are essential to our success in achieving the goals and priorities set out in Great art and culture for everyone. All National portfolio organisations aim to be financially healthy and resilient.

However, we recognise that National portfolio organisations may very occasionally need additional support from the Arts Council to improve their financial resilience.

Download this guidance note to find out the principles we will use when considering whether to make a financial intervention in a National portfolio organisation during the life of their funding agreement.

The 2015-18 investment process

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After action review

Once our regularly funded organisation investment process for 2015-18 was completed in 2014, we undertook an After action review of the process.

Download our summary of the review: Word, PDF