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The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of the grant administration in the Arts Council Norway

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Summary

Background and objectives for the audit

Viewed from the perspective of cultural and educational policy, it is important to make it possible for everyone to experience a variety of cultural events and artistic expression and participate in an active culture life, regardless of geographical and social divisions.

The objective of the audit was to shed light on whether grants for the areas of dramatic art, music and visual arts are appropriately designed, managed and followed up by the grant administration and the Ministry based on the decisions and intentions of the Storting. The audit covers funding administered by the Arts Council Norway, Statens kunstnerstipend (government grants for artists) and the Audio and Visual Fund during the period 2006–2012. In 2012, this funding amounted to NOK 580 million.

Findings and recommendations

The period has seen a strong increase in grants for the Norwegian Cultural Fund, but there are differences in the geographical dispersion of the grants

The grants given through the Norwegian Cultural Fund have more than doubled from 2006 to 2012. There are, however, large geographical differences both in funding per capita and the number of approved applications.

  • Arts Council Norway should consider gaining more knowledge about the reasons behind the large regional differences in the allocation of grant funding and, on this basis, implement suitable measures with a view to equalisation.

There are weaknesses in the grant administration in Arts Council Norway, and processing of applications has not been sufficiently documented

The number of applications has increased significantly, and much case processing is done manually. For this reason, grounds for approval or rejection have not been sufficiently documented in a significant number of cases. However, Arts Council Norway will start using an electronic application and case processing system that may contribute to improved documentation in application processing before end 2013.

Arts Council Norway does not have good enough follow-up and information on use of grants

There is no complete overview of whether projects that have received grants have been carried out as planned. This makes it very difficult to say whether the grants are contributing to reaching the goals and performance requirements that have been set.

  • When introducing a new application and case processing system, Arts Council Norway should establish systems and routines that provide better documentation of use of the funding and goal attainment related to each grant scheme, while safeguarding users of the scheme as far as is possible.

The Ministry of Cultural Affairs’ management has not ensured sufficient grant administration

Since the number of applications has increased significantly and grant administration has continued for several years without sufficient electronic support, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs should have taken the initiative to implement necessary improvement measures earlier to ensure satisfactory grant administration at Arts Council Norway.

  • The Ministry of Cultural Affairs should ensure that grant administration works efficiently and appropriately, and that the intended goals and performance requirements pertaining to the schemes are reached and met.

Ministry/ministries:

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Riksrevisjonen, Storgata 16, P.O. Box 8130 Dep, 0032 Oslo, Norway

Phone: +47 22 24 10 00

Org.nr: 974 760 843