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Questions over new arts body leave RFAC staff 'in limbo'

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The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has told the aj that the staff of the Royal Fine Art Commission are likely to make up the nucleus of the new, still to be formulated body to replace it - but has not told the staff in question.

In what now appears to have been a hastily-formulated announcement by culture secretary Chris Smith before the Christmas break, the rfac will be replaced by a new body as one of a host of arts reforms. The dcms said it will be advertising the post of chairman or 'champion' of the new body this month and that the new-look commission must be up and running by the autumn. A dcms source said that 'staffing will be a matter for the new chairman', but it is expected that the eight who currently work at the commission will be retained to enable continuity in a design review role. But one rfac source criticised the dcms for leaving the institution in limbo about its direction and the sketchy nature of details for the new body, saying staff had been told nothing. It has emerged, however, that the new 'champion' will work on a paid salary for just two to three days per week. Issues such as the new body's location, name and 'teeth' are still being worked on by department officials.

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