Arts Council closes Exeter office
Arts Council England has confirmed plans to close its office in Exeter.
Around 30 jobs are under threat at the base in Southernhay Gardens but the number of staff made redundant will not be known until a redeployment process is completed next year.
It comes as part of a cost-cutting restructuring of the Arts Council's operations which will see the overall number of posts in the organisation cut from 560 to 442.
The shake-up will leave the South West as the only region covered by a single base, in Bristol. At the same time, the region's administrative boundary will be enlarged to incorporate Hampshire and the unitary authorities of Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.
Under the new structure, which comes into operation inJuly next year, there will be three Arts Council offices in the North of England, two in the Midlands, two in the South East and one in London.
While Arts Council England's total workforce is reduced, the number of staff covering the South West will rise from 29 to 30 as a result of the reorganisation.
Former culture secretary and Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw has previously questioned the logic of the reorganisation, saying: "I quite understand that given the savage government cuts to the Arts Council they need to find savings which may include reducing the number of offices but it's vital that arts in the regions are still supported and simply moving 25 posts from Exeter to Bristol where there's no current Arts Council presence doesn't seem to me to make much sense and would not result in any savings."
The quango, which distributes public funding for arts venues and organisations, has been ordered by the Government to cut its operating costs by 50 per cent.
Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England, said: "These savings have been challenging to achieve, given our already pared down structure.
"There is an absolute need for the Arts Council to remain an intelligent investor, leading growth and ambition in an arts and cultural sector which contributes so much to the wealth, quality of life and reputation of our nation.
"We are protecting the relationship management and the artistic and cultural expertise we know our colleagues in the sector value but we must be pragmatic. We'll do less and we'll do it differently – but we'll do it well."
Transition to the new structure will begin on November 5. It follows a period of formal consultation with staff and unions.