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As from 1 July 2010, this site will no longer be updated and will be retained for Archive purposes only.

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Who we are

What is the Scottish Arts Council?

Almost every country in the world is proud of its culture, and most have an arts council to nurture, protect and promote it. An independent survey showed that over 90% of Scots say that they are proud of the success of Scottish artists, performers and writers.

The Scottish Arts Council is the lead body for the funding, development and advocacy of the arts in Scotland. We offer a unique national perspective on the arts and their audiences. Our strategic leadership – development, funding and advocacy - is underpinned by specialist knowledge and experience in the management and delivery of the arts at national and international level.

We aim to forge productive relationships and constructive dialogue at all levels between ourselves and our stakeholders in the arts, national and local government, education, health and community renewal. Effective links with the private sector will strengthen the bonds between arts and business, and help us to develop further Scotland’s creative industries. Working in partnership with others, we will respond to the needs of the arts and their audiences.

A new company, Creative Scotland 2009 Ltd, has been established under the chairmanship of Ewan Brown.  Subject to legislation in 2009, the Public Service Reform Bill, Creative Scotland will become the new lead body for arts and screen industries in Scotland, replacing the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen.  We will be working with Scottish Screen and Creative Scotland 2009 Ltd to make the necessary practical arrangements for merger but we also look forward to embarking on an ambitious joint development programme with Scottish Screen and Creative Scotland 2009 to support strategic developments which reflect the ambition and scope of the new body.

How does the Scottish Arts Council fit in with government?

The Scottish Arts Council is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB) which is one of the main channels for Government funding for the arts in Scotland. Most of our funding comes from the Scottish Government but we also distribute National Lottery funds received from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The Scottish Arts Council’s budget for 2009/10 is £61.06 million, which includes £48.14 million from the Scottish Government, £12.43 million from the National Lottery and £0.5 million from other income. We will invest £57.65 million in arts funding and development and the remaining £3.41 million on operational costs.

As a non-departmental public body (NDPB) we are independent from, but accountable to, the Scottish Government. We fund a range of arts organisations annually for their programmes and also make project and lottery grants to individual artists and arts organisations.

Public bodies are defined as:

  • bodies which have a role in the processes of national Government, but are not a Government department or part of one, and which accordingly operate to a greater or lesser extent at arm's length from Ministers.
  • In simple terms: a national or regional public body, carrying out its day-to-day functions independently of Ministers, but for which Ministers are ultimately accountable.
  • Public bodies are known in Government circles as 'Non-departmental Public Bodies' (NDPBs). They are often referred to by others as 'quangos' ('quango' derives from the name under which these bodies were previously known - 'quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations').

Executive NDPBs:

  • are normally established by statute such as an Act of Parliament or Royal Charter.
  • carry out administrative, commercial, executive or regulatory functions on behalf of Government.
  • provide specialist advice to Ministers and others.
  • have a national remit.
  • have a board whose members are appointed by Ministers or by the Queen on behalf of Ministers, and which meets at least quarterly.
  • employ their own staff, who are not civil servants.
  • manage their own budgets.
Read more on the Scottish Government's guide to Public bodies in Scotland
See also
* Who's who
* Ethical standards in public life
* Showcase
* Funding
* Arts in Scotland
* Contact us
* Quality service leaflet
* Register of interest
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