Cultural Olympiad - 'Artists taking the Lead' Yorkshire III

Carol Lee made this Freedom of Information request to Arts Council England

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Arts Council of England,

As I have not received a direct response to emailed question;

Under "The Legals" in your declaration of interests form, the ACE document states

"You should be aware that the criteria for panel selection state that panel members cannot be employed by, or be a Board member, director or shareholder of any applicant organisation, or any organisation that will be a major partner in any submission to Artists taking the lead."

As the winning bid was made up of the following organisations

Opera North
Northern Ballet Theatre
West Yorkshire Playhouse
Yorkshire Dance
Phoenix Dance Theatre
Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre
Situation Leeds
Leeds City Council
Leeds Art Gallery

according to the attached DOI forms;

- one judge had a current supplier relationship with YORKSHIRE DANCE

- another judge had a current relationship with OPERA NORTH as a supplier/advisor and producer.

- another judge ‘accepted’ a board membership of OPERA NORTH shortly before the judging of the award.

Further as ONE example of what the DOI forms did NOT say
(information available from Companies House)

- one judge was a director of a company (that lists its clients as LEEDS CITY COUNCIL and LEEDS ART GALLERY) together with two other directors who themselves were directors of NORTHERN BALLET and representing LEEDS MET GALLERY and SITUATION LEEDS.

ACE has stated in a previous FOI response that “The process for selection for Leeds Canvas was transparent, and all parties acted accountably in accordance with guidelines.”

QUESTION: Would you explain how you can say that the ACE guidelines were followed - in light of the information you supplied in the FOI requests - and the example of further information I have given (freely available on the internet.

Yours sincerely

Carol Lee

Deborah Stephenson, Arts Council England

Dear Ms Lee

 

Thank you for your emails. 

 

I will address your question about regional budgets first.  This question
has been dealt with in line with our obligations under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.  You asked the following:

 

Please can you confirm what the budget was (rather than the awards made
retrospectively), for the Grants for the Arts award for the Yorkshire
region for the years 2007- 2013.

 

Grants for the arts budget allocation for
the Yorkshire & Humber region
Budget allocated at  
Year beginning of the year
2007/08 £4,443,162  
2008/09 £4,112,413  
2009/10 £4,302,220  
2010/11 £4,608,175  
2011/12 £4,859,530  
2012/13 £4,386,000  
Total £26,711,500  

 

Appeal Rights

If you are not satisfied that the Arts Council has complied with the Act
in responding to your request you have the right to an internal review. 
Please contact me at the address above, explaining what you would like us
to review under the Act, and your review will be forwarded to our legal
department.    Alternatively you can detail your concerns in writing and
send them to the Chief Executive, Arts Council England, 14 Great Peter
Street, London, SW1P 3NQ or email to [1][email address]

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision.  The Information Commissioner can be contacted at Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF.

 

You also sent two further emails on 25 July and 31 July asking for a
further explanation in relation to your queries about the selection of the
Yorkshire artists taking the lead panel and your concerns over conflicts
of interests.  Please note that these emails have not been treated as
freedom of information requests.  This is because freedom of information
legislation provides you with regulated access to recorded information
that we already hold.  It does not require us to create information or
explanations to answer queries.

 

I am sorry that you do not feel reassured by the information we have
already provided in response to this issue, but we do not have anything
further to add to the explanations we have already provided.

 

We are aware that the panel had a range of existing relationships with
potential applicants to the scheme, as we have said, it would have been
impossible to appoint regional arts experts that did not have these
relationships.  The process and decisions for Artists taking the lead had
to pass scrutiny by the Arts Council's national Executive Board and also
by a project board comprising representatives from the Arts Council and
from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
(LOCOG).  We are satisfied that this process was sufficiently robust to
ensure that decisions were made appropriately and fairly.

 

Kind regards

 

Debbie Stephenson

Senior Officer, Freedom of Information

Arts Council England, National Office

Direct + 44 (0)207 973 6844

[2][email address]

 

[3]www.artscouncil.org.uk

 

 

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