ArtHouse Jersey lease of Capital House (FOI)
ArtHouse Jersey lease of Capital House (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 07 February 2023.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
In April 2022, ArtHouse Jersey (AHJ) opened Capital House in St Helier, which they described as ‘a brand-new space for arts and creativity in town. Expect visual arts, dance, music, drama, film, poetry and everything else in between’, in other words., an arts centre. AHJ has now become the arts organisation in Jersey which receives the largest grant from government, but Jersey has had a Government-funded arts centre in St Helier for forty years in other words, Jersey Arts Centre, which is successful and creative in its programming and support of local artists, art forms, community groups and festivals. I am curious about whether the Government has a joined-up plan to assess and fund arts facilities in Jersey, which resulted in the decision to fund AHJ’s ambitions to evolve from an ‘Arts Council’-like body (funding artists at the grassroots level) to its latest ambition to run an arts venue and to programme events, in competition with other venues. This at a time when Jersey Arts Centre was also seeking funds in order to maintain and develop its government-owned premises.
The main use by AHJ of Capital House appears to be as an exhibition space, which is wholly programmed by AHJ and not available for community hire. Again, I wonder what assessment was made of potential competition and overlaps with existing provision. For example, with private galleries such as the nearby CCA Galleries International and Private and Public; with Government-funded galleries like the Berni Gallery at Jersey Arts Centre, Jersey Museum and Art Gallery, and the exhibition space at Jersey Library; with charities such as the Harbour Gallery (now relocating to St Helier), and pop-ups by the RampArts Collective; as well as with artists’ studios and shops.
I would like to know specifically:
What cost-benefit analysis, business case or other reports or documents were presented to or prepared by Government which led to Government funding the lease of Capital House by ArtHouse Jersey as an arts venue and exhibition space, and could I have a copy of these.
ArtHouse Jersey submitted a business plan to the department for the Economy in October 2021 which contained their plans to lease Capital House.
Before issuing a grant against these plans, the Department for the Economy assessed the business plans against their potential contribution to the delivery of the Art Strategy and the Ministerial Common Strategic Priorities, as well as the potential impacts on the wider sector and economy. ArtHouse Jersey will provide continual updates, progress reports and data to demonstrate the value created to the public of Jersey and the arts sector by the Capital House venue, and these measures of success will support further decision-making from the Department for the Economy in terms of future grant funding.
The business plan provided by ArtHouse Jersey is considered exempt from publication under Article 26 (Information supplied in confidence) and Article 33 (Commercial Interests) of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011.
Article 26 - Information supplied in confidence
Information is absolutely exempt information if –
(a) it was obtained by the scheduled public authority from another person (including another public authority); and
(b) the disclosure of the information to the public by the scheduled public authority holding it would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any other person.
Article 33 - Commercial interests
Information is qualified exempt information if –
(a) it constitutes a trade secret; or
(b) its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of a person (including the scheduled public authority holding the information).
Public Interest Test
Article 33(b) is a prejudice-based exemption. That means that in order to engage this exemption there must be a likelihood that disclosure would cause prejudice to the interest that the exemption protects. In addition, this is a qualified exemption and consideration must be given to the public interest in maintaining the exemption.
The Scheduled Public Authority (SPA) considers that providing information could prejudice the commercial interests of the Government of Jersey and or third parties.