‘Completely unsatisfactory’ is the view of a Scottish Parliament Committee on hearing Creative Scotland’s response to questions about its Regular Funding process.
In Committee today, the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee asked Creative Scotland to respond to criticism about its decision-making processes
Over the past week, members of the Committee have been spontaneously contacted by a large number of organisations from the creative sector raising concerns about the funding process introduced by Creative Scotland.
Convener of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee, Joan McAlpine MSP said:
“We have been absolutely astonished with the number of organisations that have contacted the committee to express their views. We’ve heard of inaccuracies during the evaluation of funding applications, last minute changes to decisions and instances where Creative Scotland reversed decisions for some organisations but not for others - without giving any explanation whatsoever.
“We’ve also heard about a lack of input from the sector and reports of poor communication both before and after the decisions were announced. It is deeply worrying that these concerns are being expressed about an organisation that manages public funds and we believe that it requires further scrutiny.”
“There were a number of concerning revelations, notably that the theatre touring fund, which was used to justify cuts to companies, has not in fact been signed off by the board. The former interim chairman also admitted the board had not unanimously approved the funding decisions, as previously stated. We were also concerned to hear that while Janet Archer admitted the failings of the RFO process and was reviewing it, there was no commitment to an independent external review.”
Claire Baker MSP, said:
"The explanations provided by the former interim Chair and Chief Executive of Creative Scotland were unconvincing for the committee. There has been a distinct lack of consistency and transparency and it’s clear that there are voices in the sector who have lost confidence in the process followed by Creative Scotland.
“There also appears to be very little progress in addressing the poor geographical spread of funded organisations despite these concerns being highlighted in 2014.’