Leeds City Council has had a change of heart over its decision not to release details of how much it is giving to local arts organisations under its new “Leeds Inspired” funding scheme.
Just nine days after telling the leeds citizen that such information was being kept secret for reasons of “commercial confidentiality” and could only be accessed through a Freedom of Information request, the council performed a quiet U-turn and published the details on its website.
Only time will tell whether the council department involved – Libraries, Arts and Heritage – has genuinely seen the light in questions of transparency (geddit?!) or whether this openness is just a one-off prompted by the intervention of council chief executive Tom Riordan (see tweets).
Last year the department used “commercial confidentiality” to withhold the names of organisations to whom it made 45 payments worth in total over £800,000.
Anything left in the pot?
What’s got me baffled too is the amount of cash in the Leeds Inspired arts grants pot.
In January the council was saying there would be £300,000 plus an unspecified amount diverted from its main arts grants scheme.
So far £205,000 has gone on large grants (applications have now closed) and £30,000 is scheduled to be spent in total throughout the year on small grants.
That leaves at least £70,000 that hasn’t been spent yet. Where’s that going? Maybe the pot has shrunk. Who knows.
In the meantime here’s the list: