Arts Council England has announced a series of changes to both the application and assessment procedure to its Grants for the arts funding programme in an attempt to streamline its investment process. They will come into effect as of 1 July 2013.

Grants for the arts are funded by the National Lottery and are ‘for activities carried out over a set period and which engage people in England in arts activities, and help artists and arts organisations in England carry out their work.’ The changes relate to the threshold of small grants, which has been raised from £10,000 to £15,000, as well as the application process, the way applications are appraised and how ACE arrives at a decision.

They have been implemented with the view to saving the organisation time that can be otherwise spent on providing more development and advice at the pre-application stage. It is hoped that this will raise the number of applications as well as the overall quality. ACE states that this will not have a negative impact on success rates for applicants.

A result of the Government’s requirement that the ACE cuts its administrative cost, the funding body has been forced to review how it will operate in the current financial climate. The aims and eligibility criteria of the programme are not changing, so there will be no change to the type of activity applicants can bid for.

Timeline for changes

The timeline for changes is as follows:

– 17 June 2013 – last day for beginning an application using the existing form

– 17 June 2013 – applicants can view the new application form and begin their applications

– 26 June 2013 – last day applicants can submit applications using the existing application form

– 1 July 2013 – ACE will begin accepting applications via the new Grants for arts online application form.

ACE has also advised that anybody currently working on a Grants for the arts application should continue to do so but you will need to submit it by 5pm on Wednesday 26 June 2013. If you are unable to submit your application by this deadline, you will need to complete a new style application form and submit on 1 July 2013.

Applicants can begin working on an old style application form up until 12pm on Monday 17 June. Any applicants starting a new application from 12pm onwards on Monday 17 June will use the new application form.

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