Arts Council England is being hauled in for questioning and there is a small chance that you can contribute to the argument one way or another
Thursday, 30 January, 2014
Tuesday, 3 December, 2013
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If this was an American TV show then we could write about how the "Feds" were coming for ACE replete with pictures of burly folk in blue wind-breakers hauling in suspicious looking employees for "questioning".
Sadly, for us at least, that is not what's going on here. Instead we have the Select Committee of the Department for Culture Media and Sport launching a, somewhat phoney, investigation into the funding monolith's activities.
"The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has decided to conduct a general investigation into the work of Arts Council England, including its scope, scale and remit. We wish to examine the economic and artistic criteria that underpin funding decisions. Furthermore, we seek views on whether the geographical distribution of funding is fair and the justification for the current weighting of this towards London."
This type of thing happens every so often and the most that ever comes of it is nothing at all. Nobody gets fired, no substantive changes in policy, nothing of any interest. All we really get is the chance to watch ACE CEO Alan Davey go all red in the face as the committee members repeatedly point out he's not very good at his job.
On this occasion ACE Chairman Peter Balzagette will probably show up, call everybody by their first name and string a bunch of words together without saying anything substantive at all.
Disappointments aside there is one small thing that you, our dear readers, can do to turn the tide and instigate some change.
Although you can't give evidence to the committee unless they haul you in, you can submit written evidence via the Parliament website and you have until February 24th to do it.
As the paragraph above, culled from the committee website, says they are looking into the "economic and artistic criteria that underpin funding decisions". Well, here in TheLab™, we have plenty of evidence of ACE's lack of ability to do that.
What we can't do is just send them our written work and use that as evidence (you're not allowed to do that) but you can. At least, you can quote our information in evidence you submit to the enquiry and you can, of course, use any other information you happen to have to argue your case for or against the Big Bad.
The chances of anything meaningful being done about the worlds most opaque, unaccountable, completely idiotic (at times) funding body are small to none but you don't get if you don't ask.
Submitting information is easy, they may even use it and there is a lottery-like chance that you may be called to give evidence in person.
Getting things changed involves standing up to be counted and it's time to stand up.