It's one thing when we, here in TheLab™ have to get on the metaphorical soap box and decry ACE for wasting huge sums of money on things that were, on reflection, not worth the price of a carton of milk. It's another thing altogether to ask, if they were really serious about something, why didn't they spend more?
Over that last year ACE has been making a big deal out of the 'Arts Debate' and the general consensus from them, via one of their spokespeople, is;
"As a publicly funded organisation, it is important that we listen to public opinion. The arts debate - the Arts Council's first-ever public value inquiry - canvassed the views of artists, arts managers and the general public. These will help shape our strategy for the future."
When we asked ACE how much money this whole operation had cost the funding monolith the figure we were going to get back was the subject of much debate here in TheLab™. When the number finally arrived we had to do a double take. The entire cost of running the 'Arts Debate', from start to finish, was, apparently, just £8,812.50.
It gets better. ACE actually budgeted £10,000 for this so they came in under budget. The money went to a consultancy called The Intelligence Agency.
When you consider ACE's annual operational budget, for the whole of England, is over £49million it would appear they got the Public Value/Arts Debate at a bargain price.
It seems slightly unfair to chide ACE for not spending enough money but you have to ask yourself, for just under £9,000 exactly how seriously were they taking this whole exercise?
We'll leave you with that thought to ponder.