Agenda item


The Director of Tourism, Culture and Inward Investment submits a report on the Arts Council support for organisations within Leicester city involving the National Portfolio (NPO).


The Director of Tourism, Culture and Inward Investment submitted a report on the Arts Council support for organisations within Leicester city involving the National Portfolio (NPO).


Councillor Singh Clair, Deputy City Mayor for Culture, Leisure, Sport and Regulatory Services, introduced the item. It was noted that the Arts Council reviewed their National Portfolio every four to five years. In the last two rounds in 2017 and in the recent 2022 portfolio, six new Leicester based organisations had been successful.


Mike Dalzell, Director of Tourism, Culture and Inward Investment, and Joanna Jones, Head of Arts and Museums, presented the report and highlighted the following points:


·       The value of Arts Council England support to organisations in the city had grown to be £6.6 million per year for the following three years.

·       Some organisation budgets were standstill in cash terms and so they have had to absorb additional costs due to inflation.

·       Leicester City Council had also successfully joined the programme in 2017 with the city museum service now part of the NPO.

·       More organisations in the latest version of the NPO were led by people from Leicester’s diverse community. All of the latest six successful applicants from Leicester were noted to be representative of diverse groups.

·       The £407k a year to be received by the Museums service for the next three years was to be used for inclusive engagement work, focusing on working with children and young people in the community. Work involving the Council’s Holiday and Activity Fund assisted in organising museum trips for children, where there had been provided with free hot meals.

·       Officers had engaged with ward communities to build up good relationships with residents, to encourage involvement and visits to Leicester museums.

·       Leicester’s award-winning volunteer programme, which boasted 250 volunteers, aimed to open avenues for volunteers to enter employment in the sector. The project was noted to start on 1st April 2023.


Members of the Commission voiced appreciation for the national portfolio progress and work.


The Chair questioned how the groups in receipt of funding from Arts Council were chosen, and if the activities and information would be communicated by the organisations to the local communities for benefit and involvement. It was noted that Arts Council England chose the successful groups, who had planned and submitted a detailed business application for consideration.


A Member raised concern that the application process may put organisations in unnecessary head-to-head competition with one another, and the time required to bid for funding. Further concern was raised about the fixed term nature of the funding, which may lead to large amounts of time focused on organising bids rather than their work in the community.




1.    That the item be kept on the work programme for an update further into the next scrutiny year.

2.    That Members comments and views raised in the meeting be taken into account by officers managing the National Portfolio and Arts Council England work.

3.    That information on Council involvement on holiday hunger be brought back to the Commission in the next scrutiny year.

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