“Although there was no issue of impropriety..”

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland have been unable to find almost all of the works of art missing from the publicly owned collection. The final report on the investigation, carried out by the Arts Council themselves, is in response to the publication of a critical Audit Office report in August last year Adds As Aquifer suggests in the comments zone, publishing images of the missing works of art, rather than just the titles, would have been a good idea.According to today’s statement by the Arts Council

The Arts Council launched the investigation following a Northern Ireland Audit Office report, published last August which highlighted historic failings in the management of its collection.

Rois í n McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, said, “We have now completed a thorough investigation into the missing works and have established an overall loss to the public purse of a maximum total of £28,000. Although there was no issue of impropriety, the manual method of record keeping used in the past proved less than satisfactory. That was then. We have now introduced a 21 st century electronic management system under the care of a curator. I want to assure everyone that the current management has taken the appropriate steps to ensure that this will not happen again.”

The Arts Council conducted an extensive search for the missing items which had been loaned for display in public buildings throughout Northern Ireland. It has contacted existing and previous borrowers, institutions, collections and auction houses, and published the list of missing works on its website.

BTW, the figure of £28,000 is a net sum.. and involves a little bit of calculation

The value of the 48 works missing from the main art collection is £20,725.

An additional 92 works required follow up action under the Partnership Purchase Scheme (PPS). This scheme ran during the 1970s and 1980s and enabled bodies to buy works in a 50% partnership with the Arts Council. The Arts Council share of the value of these works is £21,998.83 which is a combination of historic and current market value. Recovery of that 50% investment in nine key works from partners, at current market value will reduce this loss to £6,698.83.

Missing works from main collection = £20,725

Missing works from PPS = £6,698.83

Total loss to public purse = £27,423.83

The still missing art works are also listed, with values, in two separate lists – Those missing from the main collection[pdf file].. and those missing from the Partnership Purchasing Scheme [pdf file]

And in case you missed it, from the Arts Council statement

Although there was no issue of impropriety, the manual method of record keeping used in the past proved less than satisfactory.

, ,

  • Aquifer

    Hope it would not embarass any former senior staff to put pictures of the missing works on their website.

  • T.Ruth

    There is an art gallery down our street in Holywood and it would not be possible to buy art works at anything approaching these figures.How did anyone calculate these figures?
    Some DCAL staff should be sent on a tour of offices in public buildings and schools and all the missing works should be on the website. The description of the various works should be reported to the PSNI. This is a serious issue.It is also a matter where heads should roll. Who was responsible for such mismanagement of public assets? I really believe that many are hanging in private homes and only publication of the actual works will shame people into handing them over.
    I simply cannot accept that we are not witnessing a serious cover up.If someone stole 140 works of art today it would rank with the Northern bank heist in terms of indicating organisational ability.
    T.Ruth.