Arts Council England was formed in 1994 when the Arts Council of Great Britain was divided into three separate bodies for England, Scotland and Wales. It is a non-departmental public body of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The arts funding system in England underwent considerable reorganisation in 2003 when all of the regional arts boards were subsumed into Arts Council England. The boundaries of the regional offices are now co-terminous with the standard English Regions.
A character in John le Carré's novel "Absolute Friends" was employed by the Arts Council of Great Britain as a "cover".