Waterman's Accuses Arts Council of Stubborness

And claim they ignored advice of two separate departments over funding cuts

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Following on from Mr Justice Langstaff’s ruling, Watermans came a step closer to having its judicial review of Arts Council England’s (ACE) decision to cut its funding.

However, further evidence has now come to light regarding the Arts Council’s 'cavalier' treatment of the West London arts centre.

As a result of a Freedom of Information Act request, Watermans has discovered that the advice of two separate departments within the ACE was ignored in the final recommendation to cancel funding.

Separately, two departments within ACE realised the potential damage that a cut of such magnitude would have on Watermans and the provision of minority arts in West London. They both recommended that the funding should be retained.

A spokesperson for Watermans said "We have learnt that neither issue was presented to the Arts Council London board by the executives responsible for making this destructive recommendation.

"Now, recognising that a full judicial review (involving, as it will, an examination of ACE’s conduct throughout the funding review process) is not in its interest, ACE has offered to reconsider the original recommendation on condition that the request for a review is withdrawn. This clearly throws into question the quality of the original decision to cut Watermans’ funding."

Watermans has asked ACE to enter into a fair consideration of its request for interim funding, whilst the issue of permanent funding is sorted out, as a condition of withdrawing its request for a judicial review.

Karam Bhullar, Chair of Watermans, said, “Several months ago we offered to settle this matter with ACE without going to court and they declined. Now they have been found out, they are trying to settle it as quietly as possible hoping no-one will notice the damage that they have done. Jobs have been threatened. Contracts with artists have been delayed. Activities have been postponed and even cancelled. Watermans would have been delighted to have settled and expended its energies on planning for the launch of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Instead, ACE’s failure to recognize its own mistakes has allowed the action to drag on and to cast a shadow over this ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. I hope now that this affair can be settled amicably and quickly before any more damage is done”

July 10, 2008