Memorandum submitted by Resource
1.1 Resource: the Council for Museums, Archives
& Libraries, is a non-departmental public body sponsored by
the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, with a remit to provide
strategic guidance, advice and advocacy across the whole of Government
on museum, archive and library matters. Resource was created as
a new body in April 2000, assuming responsibility for staff and
functions of the former Library & Information Commission and
Museums and Galleries Commission. Resource's vision is of museums,
archives and libraries belonging at the very heart of people's
livescontributing to their enjoyment and inspiration, cultural
values, learning potential, economic prosperity and social equity.
1.2 The essence of our submission is:
Resource is committed to improving
the experience of those who use our museums, archives and libraries.
The National Lottery has been hugely
beneficial in allowing much of the sector to expand and develop
The contribution that the sector
makes to education, lifelong learning, social inclusion and economic
regeneration makes it a sound investment for Lottery money.
There is considerable scope for extending
Lottery funding to the further benefit of museum, archive and
library users, and Resource is well placed to advise on this.
There is a need to encourage a more
strategic approach to the setting of funding priorities.
In particular, the growth of hybrid
services will necessitate new flexibility in Lottery funding if
future innovative funding propositions are to be accommodated
2.1 As the principal advisory body to Government
for the museums, libraries and archives (MLA) sector, Resource
welcomes this opportunity to submit evidence to the Select Committee.
We have confined our comments to the last issue that the Committee
will be investigating, namely:
The level of funds for the good causes raised
by the National Lottery and the distribution of those funds between
the good causes, including whether the existing good causes should
be reviewed, whether some should be dropped and/or whether new
good causes should be introduced.
2.2 At the heart of our mission is a "strong
commitment to improve the experience of those who currently use
our museums, archives and libraries and those who will do so in
the future" (Resource Manifesto, foreword). Our interest
is, therefore, primarily in the work of the Heritage Lottery Fund
and the New Opportunities Fund. However, we would also envisage
Arts Council funding playing a larger part in this sector, bearing
in mind changing patterns of public service delivery, leading
to the development of more hybrid services which cannot be effectively
supported under current Lottery funding structures. (We return
to this in section 5.5 below.)
3. THE LOTTERY'S
3.1 The National Lottery was established
to make a difference to the quality of people's lives. There is
no question that the MLA sector does precisely thatwhether
it is a museum that can introduce people at first hand to the
influences that have shaped our environment, society, culture
and economy; an archive that allows individuals to research family
or community histories; or a library that offers opportunities
for people to pursue personal interests or self-directed learning
opportunities. Lottery funding has allowed much of the sector
to develop and expand its services to meet the needs and aspirations
of 21st Century citizens.
3.2 Recent examples of such funding include
the £20 million New Opportunities Fund support for the training
of public library staff in information and communication technology
and reader development, and Heritage Lottery Fund money for projects
as varied as the £12 million Neptune Court project at the
National Maritime Museum or the much more modest £12,750
awarded to Sussex University to expand its collection of Kipling
memorabilia. Overall, the Lottery's beneficial impact on the MLA
sector has been considerable, resulting in around £170 million
of new investment in public libraries, £95 million in documentary
heritage and nearly £600 million in museums and collections.
3.3 All this is completely outside what
can be achieved through core funding for day-to-day activities,
where all three domains face constant challenges maintaining viable
services that are increasingly subject to the requirements of
the Best Value regime. Fiscal considerations at local and national
level will always mean that non-statutory public services such
as museums and archives will be underfunded. Even statutory services
such as public libraries struggle to fulfil the twin demands of
service delivery and capital renewal.
3.4 Generally speaking, cultural bodies
cannot invest in the development necessary to realise their potential
for the benefit of the public. At capital level this can lead
to a long-term and serious barrier to those bodies being accessible
and able to deliver social and economic benefits. The Lottery
has enabled both types of impediment to be effectively tackled
for the first time. Although it is early days to measure or evaluate
the impact of this investment, there are already examples to show
what can be achieved. That impact will be accumulative and can
be achieved with minimum political controversy.
4. WHY CONTINUING
4.1 We agree wholeheartedly with the Select
Committee's concern for upholding the principle that Lottery funding
should not be a substitute for adequate core public spending.
Nevertheless, there is much that it can still achieve for the
benefit of museums, libraries, archives and their users. Heritage
was included as an original "good cause" at the inception
of the Lottery in 1994 because of years of acknowledged underfunding
in this area. There was also an explicit understanding of the
importance of heritage in improving the quality of people's lives.
This perceived importance has if anything increased over time.
Demand and expectations have increasedno more so than where
Lottery investment has occurred. Museums, archives and libraries
are key parts of our social fabric where investmentparticularly
capital investmenthas been inadequate for many years. In
particular, museums and archives are not protected by statute
and therefore necessarily represent a low priority for tax-based
4.2 Nevertheless they are an immensely valuable
national resource. Museums, archives and libraries form a national
network, whose presence throughout the whole country can modify
the undue cultural dominance exercised by, say, London or Edinburgh
and can strengthen business and community development, economic
growth and tourism throughout the regions. Their contribution
to local and regional quality of life is critical. They provide
excellent links between local authorities and voluntary or charitable
organisations. They can provide a platform for the delivery of
social or economic services at local level, and contribute to
education, lifelong learning, social inclusion and economic regeneration.
Together, these things make museums, archives and libraries a
sound investment for Lottery money.
4.3 Despite significant capital investment
in buildings, equipment, content and infrastructure in recent
years, much still remains to be done. The Needs Assessment study
of museums and galleries, currently being concluded by Resource
and the Heritage Lottery Fund, had identified a further £800
million of essential capital works, largely in the regions. This
represents, at current rates of investment, at least another 10
years' work for the HLF. A capital needs survey undertaken by
the Society of Chief Librarians in 1994 identified £612 million
of capital work that needed to be undertaken in England and Wales
over a five year period simply to keep public library building
stock up to a reasonable standard. Other work conducted by the
Public Record Office on mapping the needs of archives will show
the clear impact that HLF funding has had on the delivery of archival
services to the public. It will also show, however, that very
significant sums are still required to meet the needs of users
in 21st Century.
4.4 We appreciate that the Select Committee
is well aware of this. We agree with the Committee that the scale
of investment in the cultural heritage by the Heritage Lottery
Fund has been impressive, but that there is no basis whatsoever
for thinking that the needs of the cultural heritage have in any
sense been met. And we concur wholeheartedly with your comment
The creation of a heritage "good cause"
as one of the beneficiaries of the National Lottery has provided
a welcome, additional dimension to public provision for the heritage.
That provision has gone some way to remedy the legacies of underfunding
and incoherence in public support for the heritage. The Heritage
Lottery Fund has achieved much in its early years. In some ways
its task is becoming more difficult as the full extent of needs
becomes apparent and demand increases.
House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee
Report on The Heritage Lottery Fund, 4 February 1999.
5. RESOURCE AND
5.1 Both HLF and the New Opportunities Fund
have been considerable benefactors to museums, libraries and archives,
and the time is now right to consider the future pattern of Lottery
funding for these increasingly significant services. We appreciate,
of course, that the Select Committee reviewed HLF as recently
as last year and acknowledged its effectiveness. Programmes such
as the Museums & Galleries Access Fund or support for coal
mining museums and coal industry heritage in general have not
only benefited the institutions directly but also provided support
for wider policy priorities. We would hope, therefore, that HLF
will be able to continue its funding activities on behalf of museums
and collections and of documentary heritage.
5.2 Furthermore we believe that there is
scope for extending Lottery funding, to develop non-core (ie non
statutory) elements of the public library service, and also to
meet capital spending needs that it is unrealistic to expect library
authorities to fund directly. Examples of non-core activity suitable
for funding might include development of local studies programmes,
fostering educational links or facilitating the sector's community
role and outreach services. (It would be very helpful if this
spending could be supported by Lottery funding through the development
of joint programmes with the relevant funders.) In addition, it
is not currently possible (and, under the principle of additionality,
may not even be desirable) for HLF to fund purchase of public
library book stocks. However, it could perhaps be invited to promote
its role in funding local studies libraries which hold real heritage
information, rather than just current books about the area.
5.3 In its recent Report on Public Libraries,
the Select Committee recommended that "the Department for
Culture, Media and Sport as a matter of urgency should allocate
funding of libraries to a specific National Lottery fund".
We certainly support the concept of additional funding for the
library service, and would be happy to consider the opportunities
that such a fund might present. Issues for discussion might include
the extension of the People's Network to museums and archives,
the development of the Web-based cultural portal, and the funding
issues raised as libraries extend increasingly beyond their statutory
responsibilities into non-core services, as outlined in section
5.4 Currently, Resource is actively involved
in assisting both NOF and HLF to develop their policy towards
museums, archives and libraries, and this reflects the increasing
need for a far more strategic approach to Lottery funding in general.
For example, the extensive media coverage given to flagship projects
in London, such as the Tate Modern, Somerset House or the Dulwich
Picture Gallery, diverts attention from the fact that many smaller
museums and galleries outside London, often housing designated
collections of national importance, are struggling financially.
Such institutions frequently lose out in the competition for additional
funding too, because they do not have the time or resources to
devote to developing speculative Lottery bids. The DCMS Quality,
Efficiency and Standards team has recently identified a number
of difficulties that smaller institutions face when applying for
Lottery funding. We maintain that much more fairness could be
introduced into the process if a more strategic approach were
5.5 The NOF funding of public library networking
and staff training demonstrates how Lottery money can be used
effectively to deliver a one-off capital investment programme
across the whole country. The need for such a strategic approach
will grow as changing patterns of wider public service delivery
necessitate more general co-ordination between the Lottery funding
bodies, and a more flexible approach to imaginative funding propositions
that do not fall comfortably into any one funder's remit. The
trend towards co-ordination in cultural services will lead to
more hybrid service provision (eg libraries as venues for the
performing arts, museums for formal education, archives for Internet
access). Changes in current Lottery funding rules are likely to
be needed if the innovative funding applications that will result
from such developments are to be accommodated successfully.
6.1 We very much welcome the opportunity
to put these views before you, and would be delighted to supplement
our comments with oral evidence if you thought that would be helpful.