THE embattled head of Scotland's arts quango has insisted he will not quit as it emerged his performance and that of his senior colleagues is to be probed.

Andrew Dixon, chief executive of Creative Scotland, was speaking after the funding body received a damning letter from 100 leading artists, including Ian Rankin, Alasdair Gray, three Turner Prize-winning artists, the national poet Liz Lochhead, leading composers, writers and playwrights.

The letter said the organisation was "damaged at the heart" and guilty of "ill-conceived decision making, unclear language, lack of empathy and regard for Scottish culture".

It stopped short of calling for resignations or a vote of no con-fidence, but called for a fresh start and adds pressure not only on Mr Dixon, but senior colleague and director of creative development Venu Dhupa and the chairman of Creative Scotland's board.

But Mr Dixon told The Herald he had a long-term commitment to the national arts funding body and defended his top team of creative directors amid criticism over funding.

However, he revealed his own board is now to investigate the staff's operational matters and relationships with the sector in a process that will be completed before Christmas.

The board of the body, charged by the Scottish Government to spend £83 million in public and Lottery money to support the arts, is setting up a sub-committee to study the body's relationship with artists and what can be improved.

The sub-group will report back to the board, led by Sir Sandy Crombie, former chief executive of Standard Life, by the new year. Sir Sandy last night issued a long and combative letter in response to the artists' concerns.

He wrote: "We at Creative Scotland - realise we can achieve nothing without the active participation of artists and companies working across the whole spectrum of arts and cultural activity." However, he added: "At current rates of expenditure £1000m will pass through Creative Scotland in the course of a 12-year period to be used in support of arts and cultural activity. "They who provide themoney have a right to ask what will result from that investment."

Mr Dixon said he would not stand aside and has confidence in his senior team.

"I am totally committed to Creative Scotland and this job," he said. "Its been a real privilege to champion artists and cultural organisations.

"When I sign up for any job it is a life commitment for the next five or six years and I have moved my family up to Scotland and I am totally committed to delivering in this role."

Ms Dhupa left her previous job as director of arts at the British Council in 2008 after a highly controversial art form shake-up and a similar outraged letter signed by dozens of artists including Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Lucian Freud and David Hockney.

Mr Dixon added: "We do have some really talented staff here and perhaps they have been hidden away by the structure and perhaps we need to show they are at the helm of this and taking a lot of the decisions.

"I wouldn't say we are not going to make changes, we are making changes and we are constantly adapting. I think we have got a very strong senior team.

"Venu Dhupa has big strengths internationally and I think we need to play to those strengths more – she has a lot to contribute."

In regards to the letter, he said: "We need to listen, we need to listen to what is upsetting them.

"If Liz Lochhead is unhappy we've done something wrong, and we have to listen to them and see how we can value them as artists."