How we are run
In 2010, Arts Council England introduced a new non-executive governance structure that aims to enable members of the overall governing body, the National Council, to get closer to the business of the organisation so that they may provide more appropriate scrutiny and support to the executive.
The new structure allows council members to make full use of their expertise and to get a better national overview of the Arts Council's portfolio.
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 16 members, who are also charitable trustees. One of these members is the National Chair, Sir Peter Bazalgette, and nine are members who also hold regional responsibilities. 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 regional councils.
National Council meets three times a year. Its work is supplemented by four 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 four standing committees of National Council are as follows:
National Council expenses
In line with our policy of being open and transparent, we have undertaken to publish information regarding our national Council's expenses on a quarterly basis.
Browse National Council expenses on our transparency pages.
The nine regional arts councils consist of 15 members. Six members on each of the councils are representatives of local government or regional government. (The South East Regional Arts Council has 20 members of whom eight are from local and regional government, reflecting the large population of the region.)
The regional arts councils are responsible for:
- agreement of regional strategies, plans and priorities for action within the framework of national policies and priorities
- approval of three-year regional investment plans
- agreement of detailed regional annual budgets (including all grants over £25,000 for named, funded organisations)
Meet the members of our nine regional arts councils:
The management committee is an executive decision-making body, and a sub-group of the executive board.
The role of the management committee is to:
- take financial decisions in line with agreed levels of authority
- oversee the workload and programme of the national office
- address operational issues as delegated/requested by executive board
- monitor organisation-wide financial performance and financial management issues
- take an overview of HR issues, including management issues relating to the pension scheme
- provide executive level overview of risk management
- monitor the organisation-wide development funds budget and contingency
The management committee is chaired by the Executive Director, Arts Planning and Investment, and the membership comprises four regional executive directors, two national executive directors and three other staff (Director, HR; Director, Finance; and Head of Internal Communications).
As a result of the government's requirement that the Arts Council cuts the administrative costs as applied to its grant-in-aid for the arts by 50 per cent by 2014/2015, we are currently reviewing how we will work in the future. Find out more about our organisation review.
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 will be implemented on the publication page.