ARTS quango Creative Scotland has insisted the controversial all-male panel for its flagship awards scheme will decide who the final winners are.
The Scottish Government’s main cultural body has come under growing fire for failing to include any women on the panel which drew up the secret shortlist for next month’s event.
Officials at the body, which has a budget of more than £83 million, insists three women did agreed to take part in the judging process but later pulled out.
A spokesman said that “more than a dozen” female judges were initially approached to judge the awards, which will be handed out at a lavish £100-a-head bash at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow.
Sources close to the body admit that with the benefit of hindsight the event would not be going ahead due to the ongoing dispute with hundreds of artists who have demanded a managerial shake-up of the body.
However the spokesman insisted the judging panel - which includes poet Tom Pow, comedian Sanjeev Kohli and Iain Munro, a senior director at Creative Scotland - would remain in place for the final round of negotiations.
The price tag has been removed from the event website since the controversy over the judging panel erupted.
Creative Scotland - which has a number of female staff in senior positions - has refused to apologise for the make-up of the judging panel.
Its spokesman said: “Over a dozen female judges were approached to sit on the panel. Three were eventually confirmed to sit on the panel but were unable to complete the process.”
It is understood the three women who pulled out - whom Creative Scotland has refused to name - did so in the wake of criticism of the quango over the last few months.
Meanwhile Creative Scotland, which is putting £30,000, has insisted it is organising the event “in partnership” with the Daily Record newspaper.
But it could not say which officials at the agency had approved the original deal or signed off the all-male panel.
The shortlist for the event is not expected to be made public until Saturday - despite some nominees being alerted several days ago. It is not known how much the event is costing to stage or who will be performing at the awards.