Bizarre! Council refuses to release funding details of Leeds Inspired arts grants scheme

What is it with Leeds City Council’s City Development directorate and secrecy?

Regular readers of this blog will remember that last month we raised the issue of a whole raft of very large payments made by the directorate to suppliers whose names have been kept secret for reasons of “commercial confidentiality”.

Now it turns out that the directorate’s Libraries, Arts and Heritage department (outed last month as a habitual user of commercial confidentiality) is withholding the details of the amounts of cash it has awarded to 16 local arts and cultural organisations in the first round of the Council’s new Leeds Inspired grants scheme.

The only way to get the information, the leeds citizen was told today, is through a Freedom of Information request.

Is it me or isn’t that just a bit bizarre?

Especially since Leeds City Council and the national Arts Council both publish the amounts they award to Leeds arts organisations through their main three-year funding schemes.

What’s so different about Leeds Inspired? Anyone care to hazard a guess?

Announced at the end of last year, Leeds Inspired is an annual, Leeds-specific, “topic-based” arts and culture funding stream that allocates the £0.3m the Council used to put into West Yorkshire Grants plus other funds diverted from the Council’s main arts and culture funding stream arts@leeds. The topic of the scheme this year is “playfulness”.

You can find out who the 16 organisations are and what they’re doing for the undisclosed sums of money here.

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5 Responses to Bizarre! Council refuses to release funding details of Leeds Inspired arts grants scheme

  1. Michael says:

    Sounds like they are playing with our money..

  2. jeremym0rton says:

    In the interests of openness I’m happy to tell the world as Secretary of Beeston Festival that we have been awarded £1,000 by Leeds Inspired. I guess we count as a “Small Grant” so are not listed on the site. All this information will eventually come out as the recipients publish their accounts in the fullness of time, in our case in September.

  3. struddie says:

    Someone’s taken notice, asThe amounts awarded to each project are listed on the Leeds City Council website http://www.leeds.gov.uk/page.aspx?pageidentifier=c7b960ed-2a6f-44f0-a3d7-79aa7565d441

    • Cheers, struddie. I understand that the council’s chief exec was, erm, looking into it. Will be interesting to see if it’s a one-off or whether Libraries, Arts and Heritage have been converted to the idea of transparency. Thanks

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