Diversity failings will mean funding cuts for ACE clients

Arts Council England clients who fail to meet diversity targets could lose funding, its chairman Sir Nicholas Serota (pictured) warns today.

The warning comes with the publication of ACE’s fifth annual diversity report, which shows that the rate of change in workforce, leadership and governance of arts organisations in the council’s national portfolio (NPOs) is too slow.

It shows that only 11% of the NPO workforce are not white, compared with 16% of the working age population; the percentage of artistic directors and chairs are both also 11%, board representation 15% and chief executives 10%. 

“This year’s annual diversity report reveals a disappointing picture. A key tenet of our new strategy for 2020-30, Let’s Create, is that the organisations we fund, and that the Arts Council itself, should be representative of society” Serota says today.

“In the new strategy, organisations that receive regular investment from ACE will need to set themselves stretching targets for representation in governance, leadership, workforce, participants and audiences.

“Failure to meet these targets will have an impact on future funding.”

The report, Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case, outlines the progress made in implementing diversity. for workforce, leadership and governance is slow. It says that representation of disabled people and those with a black and minority ethnic background across NPOs is not happening quickly enough, and disabled representation is also concerning, with only 6% of people across the NPO workforce identifying as disabled compared with 21% of the working age population. At leadership level, 9% of chief executives, 8% of artistic directors, 7% of board representation and 5% of chairs are disabled. 

The picture for gender is better, with 52% of NPOs run by female CEOs (41% male) and 45% of artistic directors being female (41% male), while 40% of chairs are female (55% male).

Serota says that since the policy was introduced in 2011 with The Creative Case for Diversity there had been progress by organisations to focus on the work they produce, collect and present. “But we must now all act with greater determination to remove the persistent inequalities in our boards, our workforce and our audiences that are holding back opportunity and achievement in our sector” he adds.

The 2018-19 report is published to coincide with the launch of the third in a series of Diversity Webinars organised by the Arts Council. The webinar is being livestreamed from Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) and is available to watch from 11:15 here


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