Future Funding for Organisations - October Update

Published: 28 Oct 2021

What follows is an update on our work to improve the way we fund organisations.

This work is progressing alongside our work to support Scotland’s arts and creative sector as it continues to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, work which has necessarily been Creative Scotland’s top priority over the past 18 months.

In the last update in July, we set out Creative Scotland’s updated Strategic Framework and Annual Plan and published a summary of the key findings from the Funding Review. This Funding Review took place in 2019, action from which was subsequently put on hold due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early part of 2020.

As we now emerge from the pandemic and cultural activity begins to open-up again, we have turned our attention, again, to the development of a refreshed approach to multi-year funding support for organisations, to be implemented from April 2023.

Feedback from the Funding Review was clear in telling us that a greater number of organisations require funding on a multi-year basis to effectively carry out their work, beyond the current Network of 121 Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs).

While work to develop the new approach continues, key dates to be aware of are:

  • By April 2022: we will share full and detailed information about the new funding approach for organisations, how it will work and how it can be accessed
  • During 2022/23: the transition from the current funding model to the new approach will take place
  • From April 2023 onwards: the new approach will be implemented with funding arrangements in place from this date

The scale and scope of the new approach to funding for organisations will, of course, be dependent on budgets available through Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

In the meantime, what follows is an overview of the anticipated principles of this new approach, the details of which will be further developed over the coming months and communicated on a regular basis.

What will change?

By April 2023, Creative Scotland will implement a new simplified, streamlined and proportionate approach to multi-year funding for organisations, recognising that many more organisations than the current 121 RFOs seek access to stable, multi-year funding.

This new approach will reflect Creative Scotland’s strategic priorities and outcomes  and will offer more flexibility by being proportionate to the size of funding and period of support being applied for.

How will organisations be supported in 2022-23 before the new approach is introduced?

Through the next financial year, 2022-23, funding support for all 121 current RFOs will continue (subject to available budget and plans being mutually agreed) .

Importantly, in 2022-23 Creative Scotland will open the new process for organisations who want to receive multi-year support as we move to the new model, which will be in place from April 2023.

From April 2023, who will be eligible for multi-year funding support?

The new multi-year funding approach will be more flexible than the previous Regular Funding stream and multi-year funding will be available to more organisations than the current RFO network.

However, for any organisation interested in multi-year funding support,  it will remain the case that there will be additional requirements, compared to project funding, in terms of planning, reporting and showing how activity delivers against strategic aims.

From April 2023, how long a funding period will be available?

If an organisation is offered multi-year funding, Creative Scotland will establish a review period based on the organisation’s forward plans. Multi-year funding agreements will be based on an organisation’s   individual circumstances rather than a set time-period, but we expect most agreements to cover between two and five years.

Under the new system, Creative Scotland will agree review cycles with each organisation that are more flexible and tailored than the previous Regular Funding system which worked to fixed dates.

Agreements will be set in principle, subject to annual settlement of Scottish Government and National Lottery budgets.

How much funding will be available through multi-year grants?

From April 2023, Creative Scotland will repurpose existing budgets to bring together funds that are currently used to support organisations through Regular Funding and Open Project Funding.

Regardless of what budgets are available, applications for funding will remain highly competitive, and Creative Scotland will not be able to support every organisation or support every organisation at the requested level.

Will project funding still be available?

Support for fixed-term projects with set aims will continue to be available through project funding streams for organisations.

From Spring  2022, Creative Scotland will launch a refreshed Open Fund for Organisations to allow funding for longer periods than at present.

What will happen next?

Creative Scotland continues to work on the detail of this new approach to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.
In the meantime, any organisation that has an interest in multi-year funding should refer to the Strategic Framework that was published in our 2021-22 Annual Plan.

This Strategic Framework will be the basis for the application process  for multi-year funding, which will open during 2022-23.

As we continue with this work, we will issue regular progress updates so that all interested organisations can remain fully informed. We will also schedule information sessions on the new approach in Spring 2022-23.

Any questions should be directed to colleagues in our Enquiries service who will collate questions and respond when the detail is available and as the work progresses.