Decision details

Arts Council England National Portfolio funding 2023-2026

Decision Maker: Executive Director: Growth and Regeneration

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


NPO investment and status enables Bristol Museums to maximise opportunities to engage citizens in culture and arts through ground-breaking programming that increases access and addresses issues of inequality and diversity, making Bristol a fairer and more attractive place to live, work, visit and invest. It enables us to amplify our efforts and impact through city, region, national and international partnerships, reflecting the wider ambitions for the city. Specifically, it will:
•Equality. Enable an inclusive programme of activities that celebrate the unique creative and cultural diversity in Bristol that is accessible to everyone
•Health. Fund activities to increase participation in culture and support well-being/a sense of belonging
•Sustainability. Engage communities and build resilience to address the climate emergency through positive behaviour change
•Social value. Build social value by fostering learning, identity, belonging, well-being, tolerance and cohesion. Funded activities will provide sources of inspiration, creativity and celebration in the city.


Approval of submission of application to Arts Council England (ACE) for two grant awards for investment in Bristol City Council’s Museums and South West Museum Development as part of their remit as a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO).
The grants will deliver significant investment in Bristol’s Museums and support to museums across the south west region. Bristol Museums already receives NPO funding on an annual basis of £1,364,320 towards the delivery of five accredited museums that are the mainstay of the city’s civic culture and arts provision. In addition, the Service receives £2,141,296 from ACE for the delivery of Museum Development in the south west of England.

Alternative options considered:

Option 1 - ACE’s NPO investment currently equates to around 20% of Bristol Museums’ operating budget. On this basis, not to apply for funding would impact the capacity, reputation, and sustainability of a nationally recognised Service, resulting in a decrease of cultural activity, opportunity and impact across the city, its communities and visitors.
Whilst a range of other funders support the sector e.g. National Lottery Heritage Fund, there are few sources of substantial long-term revenue funding. In addition, South West Museum Development is wholly funded by ACE and it vital to the viability of smaller regional museums across the region through a programme of small grants, training and sector development.
If Bristol City Council did not apply for ACE NPO funding, greater strain would be placed on Council budgets and Service commercial income targets that, as we recover from the pandemic, would lace the Service at risk.
Option 2 -
Option 3 -

Publication date: 14/09/2022

Date of decision: 13/09/2022