Letter: Arts Council walkout

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The Independent Online
Sir: Gerry Robinson's decisive action at the Arts Council will be applauded by most artists who have long resented the self-interest groups which have made up the bulk of the Executive's so-called advisory panels and yearned for a serious and professional Arts Council. Few have desired the panels' intercession and many been suspicious of the self- appointed coteries which have developed.

Executive staff, highly respected by practising artists, and with a broad overview of the arts and serious knowledge of their own art forms, will now be able to get on with what they do extremely well indeed - talking directly to artists and taking decisions for which they are both responsible and accountable. Decisions in which self-interest is not an issue.

I doubt that anyone but Thelma Holt and her fellow panellists ("Exit left as Arts Council drama panel resigns", 21 May) will regret the passing of "all these names, handpicked by me". It has never been sensible for colleagues in a notoriously competitive profession to sit in judgement upon each other or for panel members to ride two horses - participate in grant decisions while benefiting from the public purse, the same pot, themselves.

Gerry Robinson's work is not about cost-cutting. It is about letting the buck stop in the right place and providing a clear set of rules for decision-making which is finally and properly transparent and professional.


Artistic Director

Womens Playhouse Trust (WPT)

London E1