Arts Council England to shed a fifth of workforce

Charity responds to Government demands by cutting 131 jobs

Arts Council England is to cut 131 jobs by April as part of measures to save £6.5m a year.

The charity, which distributes government and National Lottery grants to arts organisations, is responding to demands from the Government to cut its administration costs by 15 per cent in 2010/11. The savings will be reinvested in the arts.

The staff cuts will be shared around the country, with 30 jobs going at the charity's London head office, 138 in its nine regional offices and three in its Manchester support centre. Another 40 jobs will be created in a new central grants centre in Manchester. Overall, the total staff numbers at Arts Council England will fall from 622 to 491 – a 21 per cent cut.

The organisation will also organise its nine regional offices into four regional ‘business units' covering London, the north, the east and south east, and the midlands and south west. The charity will also reduce members of its executive board from 14 to nine.

Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England, admitted the process was challenging but insisted it would result in a more joined-up organisation and end a perceived tension between national and local agendas.

"This is no mere tinkering," he said. "It is about transforming the way we work and requires a significant change in our culture. I have confidence in our people's ability to step up to that challenge and to operate as one organisation, with responsibility and openness to achieve our mission of great art for everyone."

More details can be found in a briefing on the restructure on the Arts Council England website.

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