Arts Council England - 6 x National Council Members

Body: Arts Council England
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Charity & Public Sector, Communities, Culture, Media & Sport, Defence, Education, Energy, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Health and Social Care, International, Judicial, Prison & Policing, Prison & Policing, Regulation, Science & Technology, Transport
Location: UK
Skills required: Accountancy, Audit and Risk, Business / Commercial, Change Management, Communication / Media / Marketing, HR, Insurance, International Experience, IT / Digital, Legal / Judicial, Major Projects, Procurement, Regulation, Retail, Transformation
Number of Vacancies: 6
Remuneration: The post is not salaried, but reasonable travel and subsistence is paid.
Time Requirements: Up to 20 days per annum. Council members are expected to attend a minimum of four out of the six Council meetings each year. Council members may also be asked to participate in a number of committee or panel meetings each year.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date

    w/c 29th November

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

If you prefer to read this information in PDF format, please download the attached job pack at the very bottom of this page.

We are seeking to appoint new members to Arts Council England’s National Council, our non-executive board. The National Council helps to ensure our organisation is well-governed and successfully delivering our priorities through effective management of the resources we have thanks to investment from the public.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for making these appointments in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. The appointments process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will manage the appointment process with support from Arts Council England.

DCMS is committed to eliminating discrimination and advancing equality of opportunity in its public appointments. We particularly encourage applicants from underrepresented groups, those based outside London and the South-East and applicants who have achieved success through non-traditional educational routes. This ensures that boards of public bodies benefit from a full range of diverse perspectives and are representative of the people they serve.

About Arts Council England 

We champion creativity and culture across the country, develop talent in every corner of the nation, and support artists, practitioners and cultural organisations to work in partnership and to be world-leading in their fields. Our strategy for 2020-2030, Let’s Create, is an invitation to those who share our beliefs to come together and create new opportunities for every person in England to get creative and enjoy brilliant culture.

We believe creativity and culture not only inspire us, but they bring us together and teach us about ourselves and the world around us, helping us feel proud of the place we live in. In short, they make life better.

We support combined arts, dance, libraries, literature, museums, music, theatre and visual art. Through a range of funds, we provide both short and long-term investment for individual artists and arts projects, arts organisations, museums, galleries and libraries.

Joining our National Council

Arts organisations, museums and libraries are great for people’s wellbeing, they drive local economies and maintain our international reputation as a nation of innovators. As a member of our National Council, you will play a significant role in shaping the future of our national cultural life.

This is an opportunity to utilise, and further develop, your leadership skills in a role that has an impact on a sector that helps contribute £10.8 billion to the UK economy. You will influence the direction of our work at a vitally important moment for Arts Council England, the sector we serve, and wider society. 

As a member of our National Council, you will gain a unique perspective of the broad ranging benefits of art and culture, and deepen your understanding of our sector’s national contribution: the quality jobs we help create and the many direct and secondary economic benefits of our work. You will also see the personal impact we make: lives enriched through individual creativity.    

You will join us at a time of recovery, and of renewal. As the arts and culture sector takes stock of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and continues to adapt, planning for the future and delivering work around ongoing restrictions, we have done all that we can to nurture resilience.

Our work distributing the Government’s unprecedented investment in culture through the Culture Recovery Fund, as well as the National Lottery funding we oversee, is supporting organisations and cultural practitioners in the short term. In the long term, we are cultivating new partnerships with local government, the media, technology, business, charities and higher education to find new ways to thrive. Individuals with experience of these sectors will find themselves to be influential and valued members of our National Council, alongside those with a background in cultural leadership.

Publicly funded cultural infrastructure brings life to our villages, towns and cities. Ongoing investment will do much to jump-start our highstreets, attracting footfall from both local people and tourism, which in turn bring business to shops, bars and restaurants, and life back to our high streets. 

As we begin to look to the future, we know that arts and culture creates good jobs, and has a role in developing the workforce for the broader creative industries in cities. Consequently, through initiatives like Creative People and Places, and our capital investment, we are recognised as a key partner in realising the commitment to level-up and address inequalities across the country over the years to come. 

As a country, we are looking to redefine our place on the world stage following our exit from the European Union. Art and culture has always been one of our nation’s strengths, and will continue to act as a calling card for all that we do internationally.

We have embraced our role as champions of the importance of cultural education for our young people, and the social and economic benefits of encouraging lifelong participation for everyone. Arts participation has a measurable impact on health and wellbeing. It allows us to express our unique experiences and perspectives, build interpersonal understanding and create cohesive, connected communities, making us proud of the places we live.  

Despite the challenges we have faced, and continue to address, we are optimistic. Our new Council Members have the chance to carry this optimism into a new era for the Arts Council; to build on the strong relations we have built with stakeholders; to further develop the resilience of the sector and its approach to identifying new funding streams to help navigate the uncertain times that lie ahead with confidence and positivity. 

The Work of Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the development agency for creativity and culture in England. We champion, develop and invest in creative and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. 

We are an independent charity, registered with the Charity Commission, as well as an arms-length non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We were established as a distributor of National Lottery funds under The National Lottery Act 1993.  

This is an exciting time for the Arts Council, as we have just launched “Let’s Create”, our strategy for the period 2020-30. Developed in consultation with the sector, the strategy sets out to create a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everyone has access to a remarkable range of quality cultural experiences.  Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help deliver this vision.

The strategy focuses around three Outcomes: 

  • Creative People: Everyone can develop and express their creativity throughout their life
  • Cultural Communities: Villages, towns and cities thrive through a collaborative approach to culture
  • A Creative and Cultural Country: England’s cultural sector is innovative, collaborative and international. 

Each outcome is important and will work together with four Investment Principles. 

  • Dynamism: Cultural organisations are dynamic and able to respond to the challenges of the next decade
  • Environmental Responsibility: Cultural organisations lead the way in their approach to environmental responsibility
  • Ambition & Quality: Cultural organisations are ambitious and committed to improving the quality of their work
  • Inclusivity & Relevance: England’s diversity is fully reflected in the organisations and individuals that we support, and in the culture they produce.

Our funding will help support arts and culture for the benefit of the English public. Our total annual income for 2019/20 (the most recent year available) was £740 million. Our main sources of income are Grant-in Aid – that is, the money we received directly from government (which totaled £492 million in 2019/20), and National Lottery funding (£248 million in 2019/20). 

You can find out more about our Strategy and read our previous annual reviews and accounts on our website. 

How we’re governed 

National Council

Our National Council is our main governing body, or non-executive board. National Council members are also the trustees of the charity.

National Council is currently supported by five Area Councils which advise it on and promote the work of the Arts Council in the five English regions: London, the South East, South West, Midlands and the North. Together all Area Council fulfil a similar role – ensuring that the work of the Arts Council continues to be informed by a diverse range of perspectives from artists, local authorities and other key stakeholders across the country. Chairs of each Area Council also serve as members of the National Council. 

Council Appointments

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for making appointments to our National Council, in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. The process itself is managed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), with support from Arts Council England, and is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Whilst the Chair and members of National Council are appointed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Chair of the London Area Council is appointed by the Mayor of London subject to approval by the Secretary of State.

The Role of the Council

The role of the Arts Council’s National Council is to:

  • Determine and uphold Arts Council England’s mission and objectives 
  • Be accountable to the Secretary of State for fiduciary matters and delivering the charitable objectives 
  • Agree high level priorities and strategies 
  • Approve Arts Council England’s grant-in-aid and lottery accounts
  • Monitor delivery of Arts Council England’s strategy against stated priorities
  • Advocate for the arts and culture

Collectively the Council is expected to embody:

  • Artists, arts and culture practitioners and managers.
  • Finance and management expertise, public and private sector.
  • The Chairs of the Area Councils.

The Arts Council’s Chair, Sir Nicholas Serota, is strongly committed to improving the diversity of the Council. Its ability to represent England’s diverse national identity and include a range of voices is key to ensuring that the Arts Council’s programmes meet the creative and cultural needs of everyone.

The Executive

National Council is supported by an executive leadership team, which is led by Darren Henley, the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer. Darren Henley leads an Executive Board which includes two Deputy Chief Executives and four other Executive Directors. The Arts Council’s Executive Board is responsible for developing the long-term strategy of the Arts Council and for the day-to-day running of the organisation. Further details about our Executive Board are available on the Arts Council website

The Arts Council is looking to appoint six council members to its non-executive Board.

The Role

  • As a member of National Council you will be a member of the Arts Council’s governing body and a trustee with responsibilities for:
    • Upholding the Arts Council’s mission and objectives;
    • Setting the strategic direction of the organisation and collectively making key investment and policy decisions;
    • Ensuring that the Arts Council has effective management arrangements and is managing its resources responsibly.
  • Council members have an important ambassadorial part to play. Over the last few years, the Arts Council has made progress in broadening the conversation about the arts, museums and libraries, bringing in new voices to advocate for their contribution to our nation.
  • Strong relationships with other sectors will be valuable – across government, business, charities and local authorities. The arts and culture sector provides job and is vital to the local and national economy, and must be both locally and globally ambitious. Wide and practical skills, different perspectives and experience of other business environments, communities and countries are all useful.
  • From time to time Council members may be asked to lead or assist with specific aspects of policy development. 
  • Council members are expected to remain up to date with developments in the sector including opportunities, challenges and risks, drawing the Chair of the Arts Council and its senior executives’ attention to the issues as appropriate. 


Person Specification

All candidates will need to demonstrate the majority of the following essential criteria:

  • Deep knowledge of, and commitment to, arts and culture and an understanding of the importance of the arts and culture to society.
  • The ability to act as a credible advocate of the Arts Council with key stakeholders in the sector and the ability to support the Arts Council’s work in building networks and effective partnerships with the cultural sector. 
  • New Council Members will be networkers and champions, keeping the importance and many benefits of arts and culture high on the agenda, through engagement at a personal and public level.
  • Commitment to championing diversity and ensuring that the benefits of creative expression and culture are available to everyone.
  • A strong commitment to engaging communities outside of London, and factoring England-wide strategies into all decision making.
  • The ability to think imaginatively and strategically, and contribute to effective decision-making.
  • A successful track record in business or strong business, financial or organisational skills. 
  • A commitment to preserving cultural heritage, and improving education and understanding of British and World history.

Candidate skills and background

Candidates will have knowledge and/or experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Audiences
  • Business/commercial 
  • Large and medium size arts organisations
  • Local Authority
  • Community organisations
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Digital and data
  • Media / Public Affairs

In addition, candidates will have art form knowledge in any of our supported mediums:

  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Visual Arts
  • Literature
  • Music
  • Dance 
  • Theatre
  • Carnival/ Festivals
  • Digital

Additional Information

About DCMS
Our department operates at the heart of government on some of the UK’s biggest economic and social issues. Our mission is to drive growth, enrich lives and promote the UK to the world. We champion innovation and creativity. From the Arts to Artificial Intelligence, a quarter of UK businesses are in our sectors, and are among the fastest growing of our economy. Emerging technology is opening up new possibilities for human endeavour and self-expression. But we need to harness it, create new norms for the online world and build a strong civil society so that the benefits are shared by all. Our actions over more than 25 years of DCMS have become woven into the fabric of our nation. Today we continue to shape the world we want to live in – building a future fit for everyone.

DCMS is a ministerial department, supported by 45 agencies and public bodies.

If you are not completely satisfied
We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy. If you have any complaints about the way your application has been handled, please contact

Supporting information
This appointments process adheres to the Cabinet Office Governance Code on Public Appointments, which is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. 

All applicants are expected to abide by the Seven Principles of Public Life and the 12 Principles of Governance.

Eligibility Criteria 

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you become bankrupt or make an arrangement with a creditor
  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors;
  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986;
  • you have been convicted of a criminal offence, the conviction not being spent for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c. 53);
  • you become subject to a debt relief order or a bankruptcy restrictions order;
  • you fail to declare any conflict of interest.

Conflicts of Interest and Due Diligence
If you have any interests that might be relevant to the work of the Arts Council England, and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your application. If you have queries about this and would like to discuss further please contact the Public Appointments Team.

Given the nature of public appointments, it is important that those appointed as members of public bodies maintain the confidence of Parliament and the public. If there are any issues in your personal or professional history that could, if you were appointed, be misconstrued, cause embarrassment, or cause public confidence in the appointment to be jeopardised, it is important that you bring them to the attention of the Advisory Assessment Panel and provide details of the issue(s) in your application. In considering whether you wish to declare any issues, you should also reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media.

As part of our due diligence checks we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This will include us undertaking searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. This information may be made available to the Advisory Assessment Panel and they may wish to explore issues with you should you be invited to interview. The information may also be shared with ministers and the Cabinet Office.

Expenses incurred by external candidates during the recruitment process will not be reimbursed, except in exceptional circumstances, and only when agreed in advance.

Code-of-Conduct-for-Board-Members-of-Public-Bodies (3)
Declaration-of-Conflicts-of-Interest-Form (4)
Public-Appointments-Privacy-Notice-2021 (2)
OCPA-Complaints-Procedure (3)
ACE National Council recruitment pack
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