National Council

National Council is the non-executive board of Arts Council England, and holds overall responsibility for the governance of the organisation. It is also the leading advocate for the Arts Council and the work it does to promote arts and culture in England.

National Council is made up of 14 members, who are also charitable trustees. One of these members is the National Chair, Sir Peter Bazalgette; five members chair the area councils. Members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Council members are usually appointed for four years, and may be reappointed for a further term of four years.

Each member is appointed because of their special interest in, or experience of, the arts as practicing artists or arts administrators; as senior academics; or as public or private sector executives.

National Council members are responsible for ensuring the achievement of Arts Council England's objectives, which are to develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and practice of the arts, and to increase the accessibility of the arts to the public. They do this by deciding on policy and priorities, and investing money in artists and arts organisations directly and through the area councils.

National Council meets ten times a year. Its work is supplemented by standing committees that have different responsibilities and cover different aspects of the council's work. Each standing committee answers to, and feeds directly back into the work of, National Council. 

The standing committees of National Council are as follows:

Performance and audit committee
Remuneration committee

National Council expenses

In line with our policy of being open and transparent, we have undertaken to periodically publish information regarding our National Council's expenses.

Browse National Council expenses on our transparency pages.

Area Councils

There are five area councils in line with the new organisation structure of the Arts Council: North, Midlands, London, South East and South West.

The Arts Council Areas are responsible for:

  • agreement of area strategies, plans and priorities for action within the framework of national policies and priorities
  • approval of three year area investment plans
  • agreement of all national portfolio organisation investment and disinvestment decisions less than £800,000

Meet the members of our five Area councils:

Independent review of Arts Council governance

In May 2012 the Arts Council commissioned David Norgrove to carry out a review of our non-executive governance structure: our national and regional councils. You can read the report and find out more about the changes that were implemented as a result of this report on the publication page.