Our attention has been dawn to a pair of questionable statements in Arts Council England’s Annual Review.
Here’s the first:
The Arts Council owns the freeholds of the National Film Theatre, the Museum of the Moving Image, the Hayward Gallery, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room and the Royal Festival Hall, which are leased to the Southbank Centre. Since the lease is long term and we derive no income from the freeholding, the value of the asset is immaterial and has therefore not been included in these accounts.
This is one of the most valuable strips of land in the UK, perhaps in the world, and the ACE declares its value to be immaterial…. There is a public debate going on about the future of the South Bank and a sell-off cannot be ruled out. If the site were to be put up for sale, the Government might have to remove it first from ACE ownership in order to deliver greatest benefit to the arts up and down the land.
Here’s the other:
At 31 March 2013 there were a small number of potential employment tribunal cases which may give rise to a contingent liability. At the balance sheet date these cases were at a stage where the outcome was uncertain but none of the cases have the potential for large awards. As the outcomes were not known, the potential liability could not be measured reliably and was deemed not material enough to include as a provision.
The ACE has been snuffling off senior executives, some with handsome pay-offs. Others appear to be disgruntled. We shall be interested to learn what the employment ribunals make of these cases. What is clear, however, is that the ACE may have managed to spend more in slimming down than it actually saved. The organisation remains shambolic.