Future Funding for Organisations – November Update

This is an update on Creative Scotland's approach to future funding for organisations, following discussions at the Creative Scotland Board meeting 26 October. Screen Scotland sits within Creative Scotland.

As highlighted in Creative Scotland’s recent submission to the Culture Committee at the Scottish Parliament; by those from other public bodies and cultural organisations; and by the inquiry report from the Committee itself, Scotland’s culture and creative sector is facing significant challenges brought on by long-term budget pressures, increased operating costs, slow post-COVID recovery and falling income.

Alongside these challenges, uncertainties continue around Creative Scotland’s budgets from the Scottish Government for this year, next year and beyond, with the realistic prospect of serious budget reductions.  It is clear that change in the sector will be required to ensure that the worst effects of the current challenges can be managed and to help shape a more confident future.

All of this has significant implications for our work to deliver our Future Funding Framework (FFF) according to the plan previously set out, including the delivery timescales for the Multi-Year Funding Programme which we publicised in our last external update

Put simply, we are not able to confidently roll out a new Multi-Year funding approach and ask organisations to devote significant time and effort in applying, when we don’t have sufficient clarity or confidence in our future budgets.  

We need to act responsibly in such a complex and uncertain environment, particularly when cultural and creative organisations are under such enormous pressure on many fronts. 

With this in mind, we have looked again at the options open to us to sustain a meaningful funding offer and keep moving forward with our FFF plans wherever possible, whilst revising and adapting these plans and delivery timescales to face the challenges of the current environment and the change required. 

At the recent Creative Scotland Board meeting, the following was agreed:  

  • We will postpone the Multi-Year Funding Programme by up to 12 months, meaning that we will now work towards the new funding programme being in place from April 2025.  This revised schedule enables us to increase the time for development work, sector engagement and pre-application consultation in Spring and Summer 2023 and will also ensure that the process we run takes account of our budget and the context at that time. 
  • We will continue with the implementation of a refreshed Open Fund for Organisations (OFFO), including a new two-year fund which will align with the revised Multi-Year plans so that OFFO funding covers 2023/24 and 2024/25 for organisations which successfully apply.  This will require an adjustment to the current timeline, revising the launch date to early 2023.  The Open Fund for Individuals will continue to remain available.
  • Budgets permitting, we will be aiming to maintain funding for the current 120 Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) at standstill levels for 2023/24 and 2024/25.
  • We will offer ongoing flexibility in the use of existing Regular Funding, whilst also exploring support for organisations and the sector to innovate and explore new ways of working, including a possible short-term RFO supplementary fund using National Lottery resources (funds permitting).  The scope of this requires further work but we will seek to make it available as soon as is feasible, and after we know what our Scottish Government budget is for 2023/24. 

We will work over the coming weeks to finalise the new approach to OFFO; further scope, then design and implement any RFO supplementary fund; and communicate all of this, as well as providing more detail on the revised timeline for the Multi-Year Funding Programme.

Please look out for further updates across our communications channels and newsletters and, in the meantime, please contact our Enquiries service with any questions.