Arts Council England ask grant applicants: ‘Will you offer fair pay?’

Equity welcomes the new Arts Council England (ACE) Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants application form, which asks whether a project will pay its artists and creative practitioners according to established pay rates – and to explain why if not. The funding body may then reject applications that do not demonstrate commitment to fair pay.

After extensive talks with Equity, ACE has committed to underscoring the importance of properly compensating creative workers, particularly in the dance sector where a large proportion of work is funded through one-off Arts Council grants.

The new application form asks applicants to demonstrate how fees for artists, creatives and specialists meet or exceed relevant bodies’ recognised codes of practice and guidelines and to confirm awareness of their statutory responsibilities to other workers or volunteers involved in their project.
Both the union and the funding body underscore that producers and project leaders should treat minimum rates as a minimum, not a standard. A practitioner’s skills and experience, the scale of a project, and the length of engagement must all be taken into account.

Cate Canniffe, Arts Council England’s director of dance and London, said ACE “has a commitment to ensuring that everyone who works in the arts is paid fairly. This is particularly important for encouraging people from all walks of life to consider a career in the arts but also includes ensuring that artists’ experience is properly considered and that statutory obligations, such as holiday pay, are budgeted for”.

Equity Dance Councillor Nicholas Keegan expressed hope that “ACE’s support of individuals’ progressive pay structures will empower more National Lottery Project applicants to budget appropriate fees for experienced practitioners.”