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Members of the campaign steering subgroup would like to draw attention to a recent, newly declared interest by the chairperson of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, John Edmund. ACNI’s register of interests 2018/19 shows an entry for April detailing: “Assignment for the Nerve Centre on workforce planning for NI Screen industries commenced 1st April 2018 and due to end on 1st June 2018.”
We have obvious concerns that we would like to raise.
- Whilst many ACNI board members have made various declarations, is it appropriate for the Arts Council chairperson to work for an organisation in direct receipt of Annual Funding from the Arts Council?
- Is NI Screen, also in receipt of funds from ACNI, formally part of this assignment too?
- Does the acceptance of this assignment not constitute a real conflict of interest that cannot simply be declared? What is the view of the governing department, the Dept for Communities, around this?
- Given this same chair has publicly refused to stand down despite 2 votes of no confidence from his board, does this not present a further serious undermining of appropriate governance protocols within ACNI’s board?
- At a time when the Arts Council has presided over cuts to 43 AFP organisations across the sector, is it appropriate that the Chair of the Arts Council personally enters into a potentially lucrative contract with an Arts Council AFP client?
The arts sector, our local citizens and every taxpayer who contributes to public funding should be confident that N Ireland’s principal funder of the arts has robust and appropriate checks and balances on their procurement and appointments, especially concerning those charged with its governance. There remain questions as to how confident we actually might be.
Link to Arts Council DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: 2018/19 REGISTERBOARD_DoI__2018-19.pdf
ARTS COUNCIL OF NORTHERN IRELAND
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS:
Assignment for the Nerve Centre on workforce planning for NI Screen industries commenced 1st April 2018 and due to end on 1st June 2018.
#ArtsMatterNI is an arts advocacy group of professionals, participants and volunteers from across Northern Ireland.
We engage our constituency of interest extensively, prepare submissions; recommend actions and support the separate and powerful responses already made by our colleagues across the sector and urge the government to see the value and benefit of the arts and to grow investment in the arts rather than cut it.
We draw on the popular mandate demonstrated about these proposed cuts together with endorsement from over 81 Annually Funded client organisations of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, with robust supporting evidence and clear and growing public support.
We lobby and encourage government, funders and political leadership – at all its levels – to understand, absorb and acknowledge the strength of feeling and emotions thus expressed by recognising that the arts are integral to society, not a luxury.