This report was commissioned in 2010 by nalgao (National Association of Local Government Arts Officers, which became Arts Development UK) from Cultural Futures (Paul Kelly) and The Complete Works (Rick Bond) to examine alternative arrangements for managing local authority arts services. The consultants were also asked to look at the opportunities offered by the strategic commissioning of statutory service nalgao’s commission emerged from breakout sessions at the October 2009 annual conference looking at how local authority arts services are delivered and alternative delivery methods. The nalgao Executive believed that there was a very valuable opportunity, in challenging times, to examine in some detail whether there were alternatives to the status quo and if so what those alternatives might be and what lessons could be learned from those authorities which had found new ways of delivering traditional leisure and cultural services.

nalgao’s commission and the consultants’ report both acknowledge that if external commissioning is an option, local authority arts officers may not themselves have the influence, and are unlikely to have the authority, to initiate or manage a contracting out process. Instead, this report is aimed at giving local authority arts officers a detailed understanding of the opportunities and issues so that if they find themselves in discussion on this matter or part of a contracting out process, they have the necessary knowledge to contribute and they are aware of the opportunities and pitfalls in the process. Ultimately, the aim of this report is to help local authority arts officers protect their jobs, services and investments.

Download: Outside In