MP hits out at arts group for admin spend

NORTH East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay has criticised an Ely-based arts charity for spending too much money on administration.

The member for Sutton, Little Downham and Mepal says that Arts Development East Cambridgeshire (ADeC) spent just 28 per cent of its budget last year on artistic costs, with the rest, he said, being spent on administration.

ADeC were quick to hit back at the claims, however, saying that none of their spending amounted to “unnecessary overheads”.

In his regular blog posting, Mr Barclay said that residents in his constituency were missing out on a slice of the �1.8 billion that is distributed annually by Arts Council England, claiming that rural areas were at a disadvantage in terms of funding.

And, he claimed, from ADeC’s budget last year, �3 was spent on administration for every �1 spent on arts directly.

He said: “ADeC spent just 28 per cent of its budget last year on ‘artistic costs’ whilst their accounts state �278,537 went on ‘charitable activities,’ this includes support costs, staff costs, training, travel and marketing.

“Discount these and just �95,143 actually went on the front line on artistic costs. So �3 was spent on administration for every �1 spent on arts directly.”

Most Read

Mr Barclay added that he had recently met with Alan Davey, the chief executive of Arts Council England, and he had agreed to set up a �37 million fund to target rural areas.

“The engagement from Alan Davey is very welcome. Our community also has to do its part and both make bids and get the paperwork right. The money is there. We now need to secure a fairer share.”

Jane Wilson, ADeC director, said: “We’d like to clarify that ADeC does not receive any core or regular funding from the Arts Council, our income comes from a mixture of earned income from ticket sales, front line delivery of projects for young people and communities, sponsorship and donations, plus some core funding from East Cambridgeshire District Council to deliver specific arts services for local residents.

“We work with a broad range of people and different communities within the district including for example the 600 plus local residents who attended the Family Adams Project launch last weekend. We work with a team of more than 100 local volunteers who help us run Ely Cinema, The Babylon Gallery and local promoters who through the Arts in Cambs on Tour Scheme bring top quality entertainment to the villages.

“ADeC is a small, front line organisation. Our staffing costs cover for example the person who runs Ely Cinema, the projectionist, the duty manager on the night, the cost of running the box office, the project manager who delivers the training, delivers the young promoters programme, works with vulnerable young people to help them achieve an arts award qualification. Our staff directly deliver the activities – this is not an unnecessary overhead. We’re very happy to talk to anyone about what we do and how we work.’