Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport First Special Report

Appendix 2


Part I

I refer to your letter of 15 August 2000 and I attach the information that you requested where it is available. Unfortunately we are not yet in a position to provide all the information requested by the Committee for the reasons outlined below.

Preservation of Historic Ships

We are currently awaiting a report on the outcome of Phase II of the National Historic Ships Project (NHSP) which aims to provide vital management information to assist in developing national policy on the preservation of historic ships.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and driven by the National Historic Ships Committee (NHSC), Phase II aims to deliver a Core Collection of Historic Ships of the United Kingdom. The Core Collection lists vessels of pre-eminent significance in terms of maritime heritage, historic association and technological innovation for which efforts need to be made to ensure their survival. The draft list has been the subject of an extensive public consultation exercise which ended in July and the NHSC is now concluding its deliberations and will promulgate a final list later this year. We expect the NHSC to highlight the most pressing problems facing the preservation of historic vessels which will need to inform any statement on Government policy.

We are discussing the implications of Phase II with interested parties including the NHSC, the HLF and the National Maritime Museum which has responsibility for maintaining the National Register of Historic Vessels, and shall respond to the Committee as soon as these discussions have been completed. We expect this to be towards the end of the year but we will keep the Committee informed of progress.

The Multi-Media Revolution, the BBC and other Broadcasting Issues

I am unable to give you a firm indication of the likely timing of the Communications White Paper. I have been informed that the position remains as follows:

    "On 3 February Chris Smith and Stephen Byers announced that a Communications White Paper would be published later this year putting forward proposals for reforming telecommunications and broadcasting regulation to take account of the convergence of the communications industries. That remains the Government's intention."

I will let you know when more details emerge.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Memorandum attached.

Objectives and Performance of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Memorandum attached.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and its Quangos

Memorandum attached.

The Future of Professional Rugby

Memorandum attached.

Public Libraries

Publication of the final public library standards document, together with supplementary information (possibly including further explanation, revised guidance for completing Annual Library Plans which incorporate monitoring procedures and an inspection/intervention protocol), is not now likely until the end of the year. The Department is therefore unable to make its additional response to the Committee until then.

I will keep the Committee informed of progress and let you know if there will be problems in getting the memorandum to you in the week following publication.

You should by now have also received the Government responses on the Committee's Eighth (Marking the Millennium) and Ninth (Report and Accounts of the BBC for 1999-2000) Reports and its interim response on the Seventh Report (Cultural Property: Return and Illicit Trade) for this session.

Please let me know if you require any further information.

30 October 2000

Part II


This memorandum responds to the Committee's request to the Department for a report on progress in taking forward the recommendations in the Committee's First Report of 1998-99, concerning the Heritage Lottery Fund. A progress report has also been prepared by the Fund itself; the Department has seen this in draft and fully endorses it.

The Department welcomes the considerable progress achieved by the Heritage Lottery Fund over the period since the Committee's original Report was published. It notes the very positive developments recorded in the Fund's memorandum, in particular the publication of the Fund's first Strategic Plan, as required under the terms of the National Lottery Act 1998. This has proved a helpful document in making clear the Fund's priorities for the allocation of resources across the broad field encompassed within its funding remit. The Plan also confirms the Fund's positive response to the Policy Directions issued by the Secretary of State in June 1998. The Department further welcomes the Fund's decision to enhance its presence in the English regions by establishing regional committees with a responsibility for deciding grant awards up to a significant level.

The remainder of this memorandum addresses the six recommendations in the Committee's original Report on which the Department has been specifically requested to comment.

    (ii)    Preparation of a comprehensive audit of the heritage sector and its needs should be a high priority but it is a responsibility of all relevant statutory agencies, as well as voluntary bodies and local government, not just the Heritage Lottery Fund.

    (iii)    That the Government should now accept its central role as formulator of a national heritage strategy.

The Government takes very seriously its overall responsibility for assessing needs and framing strategy across the whole of the heritage. There have been a number of recent developments in this context which it may be helpful to draw to the Committee's attention.

Within the historic environment sector the Government announced in November last year its intention to undertake a comprehensive review of policies relating to the historic environment. Overall responsibility for this exercise rests jointly with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. As the first phase the Departments have invited English Heritage, as the lead agency in this sector, to examine a range of key policy issues and submit a report to Government. The issues which English Heritage has been asked to address include inter alia the physical condition of the historic environment and how it can be maintained and enhanced; the interaction of historic environment policies with policies in other areas, including the natural environment; and the promotion of closer working between bodies, both inside and outside the historic environment sector. As requested by the Departments, English Heritage has consulted widely, both within the sector and more generally, in fulfilling its remit. English Heritage will submit its report to Government at the end of November 2000. This will pave the way for a major Government statement in early 2001 on future policy towards the historic environment.

In the museums and archives sector, the Government earlier this year created a new body—Resource—with UK­wide responsibility for museums, archives and libraries. Resource published its manifesto in July and identified, as one aspect of its leadership role for the three sectors, the determination of strategic needs and priorities, both across the sectors and within specific domains. Resource will pursue this objective both by drawing on statistical evidence, and by commissioning supporting research as necessary.

In the transport field, valuable work has been done by the British Aviation Preservation Council to identify conservation needs of historic aircraft, and to establish funding priorities. In the maritime heritage sector, the HLF has supported similar work by the National Historic Ships Committee, who have carried out a comprehensive survey of pre­1940 historic ships and have sought to identify a "core" of historic vessels most deserving of preservation: the outcome of that work will be published shortly.

The Government's forthcoming Rural White Paper will set the overall strategy for the countryside, in which the heritage plays an integral part. The holistic approach sees landscape as encompassing wildlife, historic and scenic elements, and places value on what is locally important as well as nationally protected. In parallel with the White Paper, the Countryside Agency has prepared a comprehensive audit with indicators of change to measure what is happening in the countryside over time. English Nature has undertaken an audit of the country's Natural Areas and identified the chief threats to and opportunities for nature conservation. Published at a local, regional and national levels, the audit will provide a framework for action to protect and manage biodiversity and geological assets, and to deliver the Biodiversity Action Plan. Additionally, English Nature has produced sustainable development and regional biodiversity indicators for each Region. A further approach—'Lifescape'—is being piloted to take account of socio-economic aspects, which will inform HLF of local community needs and locally sustainable solutions to land management.

    (iv)    A fundamental factor in determining the extent of the positive impact of the Heritage Lottery Fund is the success of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in ensuring that the grant-in-aid for other heritage bodies is not reduced in consequence of the availability of Lottery money. This is a matter about which this Committee will remain vigilant, not least to seek to ensure that the recent experience of the National Heritage Memorial Fund is not repeated and that the belated upward trend in that body's grant-in-aid is maintained in future settlements.

The Government has fulfilled its commitment to restore grant-in-aid for the National Heritage Memorial Fund to £5million in the financial year 2001-02. An announcement confirming the level of grant-in-aid for the next two financial years will be made very shortly.

    (vi)    Once the Heritage Lottery Fund has established a Strategic Plan in the light of consultation, including the conclusions and recommendations of this Committee, it should seek to adhere to that Plan with clarity and consistency over a period of years. Once the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is satisfied that the Strategic Plan reflects the requirements of its Policy Directions and the recommendations of this Report, we recommend that it exercises great restraint in policy changes and amendments to Policy Directions for England until at least 2001.

The Department welcomed the publication of the Heritage Lottery Fund Strategic Plan 1999-2002, and the more recent Strategic Frameworks for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, 2000-02. These plans provide applicants with a clear context in which to develop projects without finding the goal posts have moved. The Heritage Lottery Fund has produced an excellent Strategic Plan which has been taken forward within the framework of Policy Directions issued in 1998. The Government accepts the need for stability and has no plans to change the policy directions during the period of the current strategic plans.

    (viii)    In view of the importance which we attach to social and economic benefits and the past under-funding of coalfield areas, we recommend that the Heritage Lottery Fund treat the Coalfields initiative as a high priority among the potential new initiatives listed in its draft Strategic Plan.

While it is clearly a matter for the Heritage Lottery Fund Trustees to set priorities for new initiatives, based on their own research and understanding of need, the Government has been active in taking forward its own response. In collaboration with the Lottery distributing bodies, the Department commissioned a research study on Coalfields and the Lottery, which was published in June 2000. An action group of DCMS representatives, Lottery distributors and coalfields agencies was established to take forward the report's recommendations. Attention has so far focused on auditing need in coalfield areas, together with looking at successful approaches to targeting, greater flexibility in partnership funding, closer integration of different funding streams, and the active encouragement of applications. The group will also keep in touch with distributors' plans to take forward the recommendations of the recent QUEST report on simplifying the application process.

    (xxxi)    Final decisions on grants should remain a matter for Trustees (or Country or Regional Committees as appropriate). However, it is important that the Government should seek to ensure that future appointments of Trustees provide an appropriate balance of regional, national and sectoral interests. Future appointments should aim to make Trustees more representative of the United Kingdom as a whole, as well as reflecting the merit of individual Trustees. Although what is claimed to be a more open system of appointment has been introduced, beneficial results of this change are not yet apparent. As the terms of existing Trustees expire, we expect to see substantial change.

The Government is committed to broadening the diversity of people represented on the Board of NHMF, as with all its other public bodies. Appointments to the NHMF Board require a high level of expertise or specialist knowledge, and the Board itself must show sectoral balance. The representation of women on the Board at 35 per cent is in line with the current DCMS target, and every effort will be made to ensure that the Board meets the longer term target of equal representation by 2004. We have endeavoured to recruit Trustees with regional standing, and four out of five new members in 2000 have regional roots (including one each from Scotland and Northern Ireland). These appointments have reduced the average age of Trustees by nearly five years. In September 1999, advertisements were placed for Trustees, attracting 194 replies, and more recently the forthcoming vacancy for NHMF Chairman was advertised nationally. NHMF is currently recruiting members for new Regional Committees for nine English Regions—seeking five members for each—through a process of public advertising. Opening up decision making on applications for grants up to £1 million to Committee members will provide an opportunity for much wider participation by local people. In the longer term the Department is striving to widen representation on the Board, particularly of minority ethnic and disabled people.

Part III


    (i)    We are deeply concerned that, in policy statements by the Department and in public statements by Ministers, tourism is subordinated in favour of more glamorous and trivial matters. We recommend that the Department's economic objective should be to foster the tourism, creative and sports industries. The Department's Annual Report should provide specific information on how its sponsorship results in enhanced economic performance year-on-year in each of its sectors. Clearly, the economic objective that we recommend must have repercussions not only upon the work of the Department, but also upon its title. We consider the latter issue later in the Report.

The new tourism strategy mentioned in the Government response was published in February 1999 as Tomorrow's Tourism. The strategy has three overall objectives —

    —    to provide the right framework for tourism to flourish;

    —    to develop and spread quality; and

    —    to encourage the wise growth of tourism.

Progress in implementing the strategy was considered at the Government's first Tourism Summit on 1 March 2000. The Secretary of State chaired a meeting of Ministers from eight Government Departments which agreed over 30 actions to support the tourism industry. These actions will be followed up at a second Summit in March 2001. The Secretary of State also chairs twice-yearly meetings of the Tourism Forum, which was reconstituted by the English Tourism Council as a body of over 90 representatives of the tourism industry. The Forum considers and advises on the industry's progress in implementing Tomorrow's Tourism and reports to the annual Tourism Summit.

In September 2000 DCMS co-ordinated and published the Government's response to the report by the Better Regulation Task Force on Tackling the impact of increasing regulation—a case study of hotels and restaurants. The response underlined the Government's determination to improve the regulatory environment for hotels and restaurants and for tourism and business in general.

The Department's Annual Report now contains selected indicators of tourism's economic performance, e.g., in working towards PSA targets.

    (ii)    We do not doubt the enthusiasm of Mr Banks on relations with the Department for Education and Employment. Nevertheless, simply noting the influence of the Department for Education and Employment is not enough. There ought to be co-ordination between Departments in which the knowledge and experience of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in sporting matters is fed into decisions by the Department for Education and Employment.

December 1999 saw the secondment to DCMS and Department for Education and Employment of Sue Campbell, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, as adviser on physical education and school sport with a remit to improve communications between DCMS and the DfEE. As a result, relations between the Departments have improved enormously with much closer liaison between officials and a number of joint projects—the School Sports Co-ordinator programme and Spaces for Sport and Arts being two examples. DCMS and DfEE worked closely on the drafting of the Government's sport strategy, A Sporting Future For All, published in April 1999, the launch of which was attended by the Secretary of State for Education and Employment as well as the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. To co-ordinate the new money both from the Exchequer and the National Lottery which is to be targeted at school sport, DCMS and DfEE are setting up a strategic alliance of the organisations with an interest—Sport England, the Youth Sport Trust, the New Opportunities Fund and the two Departments. The first meeting of this Alliance will take place in November 2000.

    (iv)    We note the Department's commitment to enhance its influence within Whitehall and to highlight the economic and cultural importance of the sectors which it sponsors. However, a commitment is not an achievement and unfortunately the Department has not enhanced its influence in the way it says it would like to do. The Secretary of State should now make it his highest priority to advance the Department both within Cabinet and by taking a much tougher attitude in his negotiations with the Treasury which has certainly not been achieved and may not even have been attempted. There is considerable potential benefit to the sectors which the Department sponsors from being at the heart of one Department's objectives rather than at the periphery of several. Nevertheless, we are concerned that "creative Britain" provides an inadequate label for what should be the Department's focus. In our most recent Report we judged that the intertwining of technological and cultural factors in the media and information technology sectors justified the establishment of a separate Department of Communications. Concentration on "creativity" also leads to a perceived undervaluing of tourism. The switch from a symbolic to a descriptive title for the Department, while understandable, has led to the omission of tourism from the title. Although the Department has only recently been re-named, we believe that a new name should be found for it which combines euphony with a more comprehensive description of its responsibilities. Since we are awaiting a response to our recommendation in our most recent Report that parts of the responsibility of the Department should be transferred to a new Department of Communications, we do not regard it as appropriate in this Report to suggest a new name for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. However, depending upon the Government's response to that recommendation, we recommend that this Committee should be consulted prior to any decision being made about a new name.

The Department has developed its links with the DTI on communications matters. DTI and DCMS Ministers are jointly working on a Communications White Paper to cover the converging telecommunications and broadcasting industries. They are supported by a team of officials drawn from both Departments. The White Paper is planned for later this year.

    (xiii)    Valuation of non-operational heritage assets and consequential charging might create the impression that assets held in trust for the nation were seen as potentially disposable. We regard the notion of valuing non-operational heritage assets as simply absurd. While we accept that the definition of a non-operational heritage asset might need to be tightly drawn, we can see no justification for the valuation of such assets and consequent notional capital charging following the introduction of Resource Accounting. Such a methodology, if adopted, could weaken still further the financial resources of the Department and the bodies which it funds or sponsors.

The Treasury's Resource Accounting Manual, which the Department complies with, recognises that there may be instances where valuation of non-operational heritage assets may not be practicable or appropriate because:

  • the cost of obtaining the valuation is not warranted in terms of the benefits valuation would deliver; and

  • it is impossible to obtain a sufficiently reliable valuation.

As a consequence, the following categories of non-operational heritage assets need not be valued:

  • museum and gallery and other collections, including national archives; and

  • archaeological sites, burial mounds, ruins, monuments and statues.

The only exception is additions to collections where the collection itself is not capitalised. This follows a recent clarification of the public sector accounting treatment of additions to collections by the Financial Reporting Advisory Board to the Treasury in the light of the revised Charities Statement of Recommended Practice.

Non-operational heritage assets which are not valued do not attract a capital charge. Additions to collections where the main collection is not capitalised will be charged at a nil rate. Capital charges will however apply to operational heritage assets. Discussions continue between the Department and the Treasury on this principle.

Part IV


    (v)    We recommend that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport inform all senior officials in the Department that he and other Ministers attach the highest priority to making appointments to quangos both as rapidly as fair procedures permit and in a way which ensures that quangos are more representative of the nation as a whole. We further recommend that Ministers act accordingly.

Since the Report the Department has taken a number of steps to underline the importance of making appointments to quangos as rapidly and fairly as possible, and in a way that promotes the participation of under-represented groups in public life. A meeting between Ministers and Chairs of quangos was held in May to discuss these and other public appointments issues. A guide on the role of Chairs of DCMS bodies in the appointments process was published in April.

The 2000-03 Equal Opportunities Plan was published in May. This is updated every year and includes progress towards targets on representation of women and people from ethnic minorities. Revised targets have been set, including for the first time a target for representation of people with disabilities.

Departmental guidance on appointments procedures was revised in March. This re-emphasises the importance of balancing timeliness and courtesy. In the case of advisory NDPBs we are applying the modified procedures set out in guidance from the Commissioner for Public Appointments, and are participating in working groups set up by the Commissioner to discuss extending the modified procedures to smaller executive NDPBs.

    (x)    We consider that more should be done to promote links between the tourism quangos and other sectors for which the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible, such as the arts, heritage and sport. We recommend that measurable progress in developing such links form part of future Funding Agreements for the English Tourism Council and the British Tourist Authority.

Following the Secretary of State's review last year of the BTA's performance against the targets in the three-year funding agreement, revised targets were set for the period from 2000-01 to 2001-02. A key target for the BTA is to support cross-DCMS initiatives that contribute to the development of inbound tourism to Britain. These include partnerships between sport and tourism, as well as cultural tourism. Specific milestones for the BTA under this target include the launch of a sporting venues map and the integration of the London Film Festival within its Movie Map web-site. Another key BTA target is to develop effective partnerships with relevant British organisations and support cross-DCMS and cross-Government initiatives that contribute to the development of inbound tourism. Specific milestones here include a review of progress towards achieving a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mayor for London and the development of a formal Milestones Agreement with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. The BTA has been making good progress in all of these areas.

A key target in ETC's current Funding Agreement is to support and monitor the effectiveness of Regional Tourist Boards in collaborating with Regional Development Agencies, Regional Cultural Consortiums and other regional DCMS bodies. The ETC has been developing communications with other DCMS NDPBs, for example English Heritage and the English Sports Council, and intends to continue this process. We will consider the appropriateness of including something about this in the new Funding Agreement.

    (xi)    We recommend that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport undertake and publish a thorough analysis of the benefits which could arise from additional investment in the English Tourism Council, linked to performance indicators and measures of outcome, well in advance of the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

Following DCMS' Spending Review 2000 settlement, the ETC will be allocated an additional £2m in 2002/03 and £2.5m in 2003/04 to assist it to deliver its strategic remit. This increase is likely to cover both central programmes, particularly to improve quality in English tourism and provide market intelligence, and key regional initiatives. In accordance with the framework recommended in the QUEST report on "A New Approach to Funding Agreements", ETC's current 3-year Funding Agreement is currently being reviewed with the aim of including key performance indicators to show to what degree outcomes have been delivered.

    (xii)    We recommend that the Department for Culture Media and Sport establish a Heritage Forum to develop a new heritage strategy. This body should be established in close cooperation with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions to ensure that integrated consideration is given to the relationship of heritage policy to urban and rural regeneration and to environmental sustainability. We would expect the Heritage Forum to contribute to the early establishment of objectives for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport which make explicit reference to the conservation of cultural assets inherited from the past.

    (xiii)    The formulation of clearly identified goals for the Government in the heritage field and a statement of the role of English Heritage in meeting those goals should form part of the outcome of the work of the Heritage Forum the establishment of which we have recommended.

On 18 November 1999, the Government announced that it would undertake a review of policies relating to the historic environment. Overall responsibility for this review rests jointly with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, but as a first phase, the Departments have commissioned English Heritage (EH) to address a number of specific policy issues and submit a report. The detailed terms of reference and timetable for EH's report were set out in letters from the Minister for the Arts to the Chairman of EH dated 31 January 2000 and 17 May 2000. Copies of both letters were deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and made available to the Chairman of the Committee.

In accordance with a request by Government, EH has consulted exhaustively in preparing its report, which it will submit at the end of November. The Government has indicated that EH is free to make recommendations as to how heritage policy might develop over the longer term (i.e., 10-20 years ahead) provided that the report also formulates a clear strategy and action programme for the more immediate future which can go ahead within the existing policy and legislative framework. Following completion of the review the Government will aim to publish a policy statement by the end of March 2001.

    (xiv)    We recommend that, in advance of the next Comprehensive Spending Review, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and English Heritage undertake a joint study on the factors affecting the effectiveness of the maintenance of Grade I and Grade II* listed buildings and of the enforcement of listed building regulations, with particular reference to buildings at risk, to inform future funding and target setting.

The Buildings at Risk Register continues to be a valuable tool in identifying the most vulnerable of England's built heritage and in ensuring that available funding is targeted towards where it is most urgently needed. Removal of "at risk" buildings from the register now forms part of the three-year funding agreement between DCMS and EH, and EH's effectiveness in this area is closely monitored throughout the year. Approximately 7 per cent of buildings have been removed from the 1999 Buildings at Risk Register as a consequence of this strategy.

    (xv)    We recommend that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport consider the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a National Cultural Consortium and set out its view on the proposal in its reply to this Report.

A New Cultural Framework, the document which detailed the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review for DCMS, contained a proposal for a National Forum, which would bring together the Department's sponsored bodies at national level. The Forum is a mechanism for informing all participants of policy developments, exchanging ideas and best practice, and encouraging cooperative working.

The first meeting of the Forum was held in September 1999 to discuss the development of regional structures and a DCMS regional agenda. Two further meetings have since taken place to discuss access and excellence and visitor attractions. Those attending have included chairmen and chief executives of DCMS-sponsored bodies, representatives from the Regional Cultural Consortiums, the Local Government Association as well as other organisations such as Arts & Business and the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions. Participants have welcomed the development of the Forum and in light of its success so far, we have agreed to host three meetings per year from 2001 onwards.

Part IV


    (i)    We recommend that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education and Employment look carefully at the 'Chalk and Talk' schemes to see if this good practice can be replicated in other sports.

As we indicated in our response to the Committee's Report, the DfEE has used the Saracens Community Programme, of which Chalk and Talk is a part, as an example of best practice in using sport as a means to raise educational standards. The DfEE's Playing for Success scheme—where football clubs offer study support provision to local schoolchildren—is based on this premise. Earlier this year, it was announced that Playing for Success would be extended to a number of other sports, including rugby league and union, and cricket. DfEE also has fifteen Innovation Pilots, where the Department and LEA offer 80 per cent of project funding (rather than 50 per cent in the Playing for Success model) in hockey, basketball, gymnastics and athletics clubs, as well as some multi-sport projects.

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