Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence




  1.  Regional Cultural Consortiums were established by the Government in the eight English regions outside London in late 1999 and early 2000. In the context of the Consortiums, the term "culture" is used as shorthand for the whole range of artistic, creative, leisure and recreational aspects of life, including the arts, creative industries, archives, libraries, museums, historic environment, sport and tourism. The aims of the Consortiums are to:

    —  champion the whole spectrum of cultural and creative interests in each region, including sport and tourism;

    —  forge links across this spectrum; and

    —  create a common vision expressed in a cultural strategy for each region.


  2.  The Chairs of the Consortiums were appointed by the Secretary of State and are prominent members of their local and regional community. The members of the Consortiums are drawn from across the cultural and creative sectors. The regional agencies for archives, arts, heritage, libraries, museums, sport and tourism and the Regional Development Agencies each nominate a representative to each Consortium. Other interests are invited to join the Consortiums by the chairs and may include representatives from film, broadcasting, architecture and design, countryside, recreation and education. In addition, between one quarter and one third of the membership of each Consortium is drawn from local government.


  3.  During 2001 all eight Consortiums published their regional cultural strategies. These strategies are specific to each region and reflect the diversity of cultural life. They identify priorities and objectives at a regional level and include action plans to implement the strategies and achieve the objectives.

  4.  The Consortiums have engaged widely with regional agencies, local authorities, Regional Development Agencies, Regional Chambers and other regional partners, raising the profile of culture by building on existing links and creating new ones. They have used these links to ensure that the role of culture is reflected in a range of other regional strategies and that the contribution of culture and creativity to other agendas, such as economic development, regeneration, social inclusion and education and training is recognised. Working with their partners, they have taken forward a range of initiatives including sponsoring research into the cultural and creative sectors and the collection of relevant data and statistics, developing measures to support the creative industries and businesses in the cultural and tourism sectors, and disseminating information about sources of funding for individuals and organisations in the cultural and creative sectors.


  5.  The Consortiums were allocated start-up costs in 1999-01 and benefited from a three year funding programme from Spending Review 2000 provision. Details are set out in the table below:



  6.  In addition to this core funding from DCMS all of the Consortiums have secured additional funds from their regional partners for specific tasks, programmes or activities.

  7.  Over the first three years, the funding available to the Consortiums has been used mainly to fund the work associated with the development of the regional cultural strategies. However, with the support of regional partners, most of the Consortiums have now employed, or are in the process of recruiting, their own staff to manage Consortium business and support the task of taking forward the implementation of the strategies. The Department recognises that the limited funding available to the Consortiums is one factor which inhibits their ability to drive forward the cultural agenda in the region.


  8.  In November 2001 the Department announced that it was bringing forward a stock-taking review of the Consortiums, which had been planned for mid-2002, so that their future could be considered in the context of the discussions taking place about elected regional government in England. A wide range of individuals and regional and national organisations were invited to comment on the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the Consortiums and on the relevance of their current structures to the cultural needs of the English regions. The conclusions of the review will be announced shortly.

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Prepared 26 March 2002