Culture Secretary Maria Miller has set out the details of the June Spending Review settlement and its implications for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and for Arts Council England (ACE). Confirming a funding cut to the Arts Council of 5% for 2014/15 – lower than for some other DCMS clients – she attributed this to having made “strong arguments about the importance of the arts in achieving economic growth.”

In her letter to ACE Chair, Peter Bazalgette, and ACE Chief Executive, Alan Davey, Miller also set out the series of priorities that the DCMS expects ACE to deliver in 2015. The list includes a focus on cultural tourism and providing support for the visitor economy; supporting international cultural exchange and contributing to England’s image abroad; harnessing new digital opportunities; music and cultural education; supporting the cultural legacy of the Olympics; and fundraising – “adding further impetus to organisations’ efforts to increase their share of earned income.”

ACE is also being expected to “continue to bear down on administration costs, to enable a larger portion of the funds provided to be used at the front-line.” Although no targets have been set for this, Miller is demanding that ACE delivers plans for making further admin savings by the end of October 2013 and is expecting that ACE will “meet the costs of any restructuring necessary as a result of this settlement.”

Miller also warns that the DCMS could claw back some of ACE’s allocation in the event of “unforeseeable changes in circumstances and priorities” that could arise in the DCMS, and is asking ACE to “hold at least a 5% contingency at any point which may need to be drawn back into the department.”

ACE is also subject to the Government’s commitment to removing staff entitlement to pay progression from public sector bodies by the end of 2015 – something that Miller says she will “expect DCMS bodies to support without exception”, and is insisting that progression payments have ceased by the end of 2015.

Originally published on Arts Professional.