Last week, we were informed that an independent panel had upheld our appeal against Arts Council Wales’ decision to cut our funding by 100% from April 2024.
The independent panel found that Arts Council Wales (ACW) had not followed its own procedures in fairly and transparently assessing our application. The panel said that “there was limited substance to Arts Council Wales’ rebuttal of NTWs’ claims and a number of points were insufficiently substantiated” and felt compelled to query “ACWs’ ability to maintain impartiality and avoid conscious and unconscious bias”.
The panel concluded that our “application should be reviewed and reassessed” and made recommendations on how the Investment Review process could be made more equitable and clear.
We were informed by ACW last night that they have decided to disregard the findings of the panel and refuse to review or reassess our application. NTW entered into a labour-intensive and detail-oriented appeals process in good faith; this process included the preparation of a substantial written submission and a presentation of our case to the appeals panel at a hearing.
Having had the major points of our appeal upheld by both the first and second round of independent assessors, we are shocked and dismayed that ACW has chosen to proceed in this manner, disrespecting the principle of independent review and conveying a worrying lack of transparency and accountability. This sets a concerning precedent for the whole sector in how the decisions of ACW may be challenged in the future.
This situation has been very difficult for our charity and the many theatre makers, cultural organisations and communities we work with. We will now take time to speak with our stakeholders, partners and funders to consider possible routes forward and will make a fuller statement in January.
In the meantime, we will continue to advocate for more support and fairness for the arts in Wales and we invite you to come and see the theatre we are making with some amazing creative people: Circle of Fifths and Feral Monster.