Statement from the Board of Creative Scotland

7 Dec 2012

THIS statement details the commitments for change as agreed by the Creative Scotland Board at the meeting on the 5th and 6th December.

THE statement follows earlier announcements and the work carried out by the Board sub-groups over the past few weeks.

THE commitments outlined in this statement recognise the issues raised in recent months by external commentators, through open sessions with artists and creative practitioners and also, importantly, by Creative Scotland staff.

Central to many of the concerns communicated recently to Creative Scotland has been an inconsistency in our dealings with external partners, and there is clearly a need to create a culture and ethos where trust and mutual respect can thrive.

This has meant that, despite a range of welcome and successful initiatives throughout Scotland in the first two years of operation, many important relationships have deteriorated.

The Creative Scotland board acknowledges its own share of responsibility for this.

Both the board and the senior management team recognise the need for substantial changes which will address the principal concerns made evident in our internal reviews, extensive external feedback, and the submissions sent to us by a range of organisations and individuals, including our own staff.

We are very conscious that future success depends on us functioning as a team with shared goals, operating in an environment of mutual respect.

One cause of friction which has affected both competence and delivery has been the lack of effective use of expertise available to the organisation internally and externally.

This will change in two ways:

  • · We will change Creative Scotland’s operational structure to give staff the freedom to use their specialist knowledge more effectively.
  • · We will set up internal and external forums that allow artists, creative practitioners and staff to feed into policy development.

We reiterate one of our core values: that artists and creative practitioners should be at the heart of our thinking.

Changes to make the language and tone of Creative Scotland more accessible are already underway, and we accept that the nature and number of our funding streams and programmes has led to confusion.

This will also change. Work has begun on simplifying the routes through which individuals and organisations can access advice and funding.

Stability is a core concern of many companies, not least in this difficult financial climate. We intend to offer that stability in a number of key ways:

  • · As soon as is practicable, we will offer long term funding to organisations over a number of years. This will be subject to a review of progress, but relieve them of the need to submit fresh applications annually.
  • · We will work towards changing what has come to be viewed as a funding hierarchy. Instead we will offer the security of multi-year funding to organisations, project funding for specific time limited work, and funding to individuals which may include partnerships.

It is essential in our view that lottery funding should never be regarded as a substitute for government sourced grant in aid, but we are working on ways in which we can use both to ensure the creative community thrives.

Crucial to re-building trust and confidence in the organisation is the commitment of our staff who have been operating under the most difficult circumstances.

We greatly admire, value and respect the skills and talents of our staff and intend to create an atmosphere in which these can flourish. They will be involved at every stage of this period of essential change.

There has been good practice in many of the things Creative Scotland has achieved but that has to become the norm in all areas of activity. We recognise that imaginative and successful initiatives have been undermined by failures in other areas.

It is time that Creative Scotland stopped being the story. We think the best way to achieve this is to focus on making our core operation effective, and affording those we support due care and attention.

We will also moderate the pace of change to enable better planning and consultation internally and externally.

These changes are the product of a period of painful but essential re-examination. We are individually and collectively signed up to restoring confidence in Creative Scotland’s work.

We ask for time to be allowed to do this, and to be judged on the results of the changes announced today.

Summary of commitments:

Commitments for change agreed by the Board of Creative Scotland on 6th December 2012 and to be delivered by the Senior Management Team and staff:

  • · Underlining our commitment to putting artists, creative practitioners, cultural organisations and our staff at the heart of everything we do.
  • · Enabling more effective use of staff specialist knowledge and expertise, increasing autonomy of decision-making and increasing the visibility of, and access to, this expertise.
  • · Creating effective regular consultative forums with artists and creative practitioners and staff to inform policy development and increase transparency. Working with the sector to design the specific nature of these forums with the aim of a first open session in early 2013.
  • · Reviewing current funding models to enable as many organisations as possible and appropriate to benefit from stable, multi-year arrangements. This will include an end to the plans for ‘strategic commissioning’.
  • · Changing the perceived funding hierarchy of Foundation, Flexibly Funded and Annual Organisations and creating clear funding routes for individuals and specific time limited projects.
  • · Changing the content and tone of our language to increase clarity and accessibility with a re-design of our application forms, guidance and other communications.
  • · Emphasising the language of “support” rather than “investment” in both our values and operations.
  • · Reducing efforts on activity that could be construed as promoting Creative Scotland ahead of artists, creative practitioners or cultural organisations.

Work on these commitments will be a collaborative process with staff, artists, creative practitioners and organisations.

We continue our commitment to supporting arts, culture and creative industries across Scotland and to increasing public engagement and participation, working in partnership with others to achieve this.

Next Steps

Some of these changes are underway, others will involve a significant level of future work. The support and active involvement of people and organisations in the arts, culture and creative industries through this period will be essential.

The following date should be noted:

  • · Friday 14th December: Publication of Board sub-group reports and update on actions.

Early in 2013 we will publish more detailed plans for implementing these significant changes, including anticipated timescales. This is to allow staff and the senior management team time to consider the activity and people required to deliver the commitments being made.

The Board will also begin the process of recruiting a new Chief Executive in the New Year and interim organisational arrangements are currently being put in place.

© The Board of Creative Scotland, 2012