Leeds City Council’s allocation of grants to arts and cultural organisations announced last month may not be a done deal.
A number of councillors have challenged the decision, which will now be reviewed at a special meeting (on Monday 23rd April) of the Council’s scrutiny board that deals with culture.
What are the councillors worried about?
Well, it appears that in part they are concerned about the effects of the big changes that have taken place over the past year in council funding of arts and culture organisations.
Last year’s changes
What’s changed? Briefly, the Council has diverted the £0.3m it used to put into a scheme called West Yorkshire Grants into a new, annual, Leeds-specific, “topic-based” arts and culture funding stream called Leeds Inspired. The Leeds Inspired scheme (whose topic this year is “playfulness”) has been topped up with funds diverted from the Council’s main arts and culture funding stream, arts@leeds.
At the same time the Council has changed the way it allocates the arts@leeds grants, moving from one year to three-year allocations, bringing it into line with recent changes at the Arts Council. And in the latest budget it has reduced its support for arts organisations by £100,000.
“Concerns around loss of West Yorkshire Grants”
“Concerns around loss of West Yorkshire Grant and the move to the Leeds Inspired Grant, and the effect on funding for cultural organisations.”
There’s another objection they raise too. They say that the Council report explaining the proposed three-year grants allocations for 2012-15 fails to take account of a decision made in July last year on the issue of the appointment of councillors to arts organisations that receive significant council funding.
For completists, here’s a link to the decision that they are on about.
Open to public
The Scrutiny board will hear the complaints from the councillors and a defence of the decision from the officer who took it. Then they’ll either: over-rule the objections and the decision will stand or recommend that the decision be reconsidered.
The meeting‘s open to the public, so if you’re interested in arts funding you could always go along. It starts at 10 o’clock in the Civic Hall on Monday 23rd April.