Arts Council splashes out

Restructuring of the Arts Council of England has led to a doubling up of the finance director’s function at a time when staff are expected to be axed to save money.

A second chartered accountant, Graham Long, was appointed in July to sit on the executive board which is overseeing the reorganisation. Long was formerly chief executive of South West Arts and before that head of finance and resources at Northern Arts. He has authority above the current director of finance and resources Nigel Copeland.

The planned shake-up of the council, which helps subsidise a variety of arts such as the Notting Hill carnival, will devolve decision making on funding to the Regional Arts Boards. Chief executive Peter Hewitt claimed the new structure could save #2m per year which could be redirected to front-line arts activity.

But the cost of employing an additional finance head, at the advertised salary of #70,000, equates to almost 5% of the #2m saving the Arts Council is hoping to make by halving its current staff to around 150.

An Arts Council spokesperson said Long signed a five-year contract with the executive team which is heading the restructuring process.

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