If you have not worked with a local authority before, what follows will offer you a general outline of what you can expect if you are offered a commission. If you have experience of working with local authorities, then much of this will be familiar to you but will offer some clarity on the specifics of working with Hampshire County Council.
Like all large organisations in receipt of public funds Hampshire County Council has to be accountable to the public for its spending and this inevitably demands a certain amount of rules, regulations, requirements and paperwork but do not despair! The staff at Hampshire County Council are committed to developing good practice in commissioning artists and they will work in partnership with you in navigating the formalities to ensure a creative and positive outcome.
Hampshire County Council commissions a broad range of work from artists in a range of disciplines across a number of departments.
If you are selected to undertake a commission you may need to work with your contact at Hampshire County Council to review the brief and budget for the commission to ensure that it corresponds with the approach you are intending to take.
Your commissioner will need to undertake a risk assessment (see below) for your project.
Once the brief is reviewed and agreed and the risk assessment completed you should then receive a contract. The contract will be in two parts.
There are a number of requirements that you should know about if you are considering undertaking a commission with Hampshire County Council.
Working on a commission will not make you an employee of Hampshire County Council; your contract will take the form of a contractor. As an individual (unless you are a registered company you will be paid a flat fee and will be responsible for your own Income Tax and National Insurance payments
Hampshire County Council has a basic requirement for £10m of Public Liability insurance, £10m Employers Liability Insurance and £5m Professional Indemnity insurance for all contractors it works with. This also applies to artists as it is likely that many commissions will result in work in public places which could present a risk to the public e.g. a large sculpture might fall over and injure someone or a child might climb it and fall. A Risk Assessment process assesses the exact level of cover and may reduce the level needed. This will also assess whether Product Liability or Employers Liability Insurance will also be required.
As an artist working with Hampshire County Council, you will need to arrange insurance cover. You must have the appropriate level of cover up to the point at which the work is installed. If you revisit to maintain the work, you will still need to have that level of cover. If you do not have cover, the fee for this will need to be negotiated. Alternatively, if you already have cover at a lower level this may need to be adjusted.
Hampshire County Council may bring artists in on projects before achieving the required budget, to work up the brief and finalise ideas with you. You may be asked to assist with securing funds for your project and this could form part of your contract with us.
It is possible that your contract will be staged depending on successful funding applications.
If as part of your commission you are working with children, young people or vulnerable members of the community you will need to have proof that you have a valid CRB check or be willing to undertake one.
If Hampshire County Council employ someone to undertake the installation of your artwork, you need to be aware that depending on the nature of the installation work Hampshire County Council may not be able to pay that person unless they are registered for Tax under the Construction Industry Scheme or CIS.
This would probably not apply to assistants you might employ to help you to create the work but you should discuss this with your contact at Hampshire County Council if you are intending to sub-contract any element of your work.
If you are intending to employ assistants though, please be aware of the need for Employers Liability Insurance.
Hampshire County Council has a legal obligation to undertake a risk assessment on every project it undertakes that has an outcome that might affect members of the public. The risk could be as simple as the possibility of a painting falling of a wall and injuring a viewer, to a large piece of sculpture on a roundabout distracting a driver and causing a traffic accident. The fact that a project presents a risk is unlikely to mean that it won’t go ahead but Hampshire County Council have to have considered the risks and identified ways in which these risks can be minimised. In some extreme circumstances though, the risks involved may halt the commission process.
You may be expected to contribute to drawing up the risk assessment for your commission. The risk assessment needs to be complete before a contract can be offered.
Hampshire County Council are committed to working with artists to contribute to the cultural life of the county and advocate the value of the arts in our everyday lives as part of ensuring that Hampshire is a great place in which to live and work.
Although it is likely that there will be a detailed brief for an advertised commission, below are some questions that are worth considering in relation to applying for a commission.
If you are new to working in this way it can seem a little daunting but at its best the commissioning process can be a creative learning opportunity for all concerned. Developing good practice is a partnership and good communication is a vital element of this so if something isn’t clear do ask.