Funding of the arts and heritage - Culture, Media and Sport Committee Contents


Written evidence submitted by Liverpool City Council (arts 54a)

LIVERPOOL CITY COUNCIL: CULTURE LIVERPOOL 3 SEPTEMBER 2010

Executive Summary

  Liverpool's regeneration continues to be shaped and improved by our uniquely strong cultural offer. We have a rich programme of events, community activities, performances and exhibitions through the city's exceptional venues and festivals. Liverpool City Council (LCC) works closely with the cultural sector and currently provides annual funding of £4.2 million through our Arts & Culture Investment Programme (ACIP). The City provides a major events programme that involves our cultural sector and brings exponential benefits. Furthermore LCC is engaged with the independent arts networks that represent the sector such as LARC (Liverpool Arts Regeneration) and COoL (Cultural Organisations of Liverpool) and provides non-financial support through partnership working, facilitation and joint work to enhance delivery of cultural services. This has brought tangible and significant economic and social benefits and contributed to the repositioning of the city as an international tourist destination. We propose that:

    — Culture is not an "add on"—it's an integral part of our society, but needs support and nurture to fully realise its inherent value.

    — The CASE Study has already demonstrated the economic and social significance of cultural activity (tourism, economy, employment, training, education, community cohesion, sense of place and identity, wellbeing).

  In times of economic recession and reduced spending power, cultural providers can help individuals and communities cope and improve quality of life in non monetary ways. LCC is concerned for the fragility of the cultural sector and the delicate balance of funding that is reliant upon public subsidy, and how this will impact on the regeneration of the city:

  1.  Parts of the sector operate close to their financial and organisational margins and are vulnerable to cuts in funding.

    Current scenarios and contingent plans will broadly allow changes to be managed and structured. However, further reduction in funding will impede ability to change and will lead to regression of the sector and will reduce the value and impact of their activities.

    Stronger strategic guidance and support is required to give the cultural sector the opportunity to respond to the (as yet) under defined requirements of national government and to enable them to refocus their activity to meet strategic aims using available resources.

  2.  Culture should be embedded at the core of the remit of the emerging LEPs, who should be responsible for communicating, coordinating, engaging and developing the cultural sector to meet new agendas of the Big Society. We need to embed culture firmly to fully realise the benefits to quality of life.

  3.  We need "buy in" at the highest levels of national and local government to the multiplying value of culture to education, health and economy, and to be able to support the cultural sector to ensure the cultural contribution to the regeneration of our city continues unabated.

  4.  We need more official emphasis and endorsement of the value of culture to Quality of Life and to ensure that there are socially accessible routes to these benefits. We need to ensure that resources are focussed in the areas of most need and that strategic regional support is maintained.

    Cities are already well equipped to be able to make decisions regarding the requirements and allocation of cultural resource. We require less complex and burdensome administration, and greater autonomy to strategically focus our programmes of work.

  5.  The cultural sector still has potential to deliver stronger quality of life benefits at a neighbourhood level. Value and impact can be developed using coordinated approaches to match funding for neighbourhood & grass roots projects, to encourage cross authority (or joint agency working) and to maximise the use of available assets such as historic buildings.

  6.  Policies need to strongly reflect that statutory and funded bodies understand and consistently espouse the value of culture to Quality of Life.

    Funding policies should be reviewed (along with non cultural policies) in order to provide cultural progression routes through school, employment opportunities, social activity, and built environment. Lottery funding needs to benefit those who buy lottery tickets.

  7.  Provision needs to be made for support from experienced and qualified sources for both the Museum and Film sectors, to maintain and improve their successes.

  8.  It is not realistic to consider private sector funding as a substitute for public sector subsidy. The "culture of cultural support" is not yet embedded, and requires more development, incentive and advocacy. It is unlikely to proportionally benefit the smaller end of the sector.

  9.  The current economic climate will not encourage patronage without further incentives. The mechanisms for developing patronage are not as well developed as those for sponsorship. There is a challenge in meeting the desired results in certain areas of work, and in particular geographical locations.

1.  What impact recent, and future, spending cuts from central and local government will have on the arts and heritage at a national and local level?

  1.1  Current funding cuts and uncertainty over future funding are having a detrimental effect to the morale of cultural organisations and are affecting their ability to plan. Whilst the seriousness of the economic situation and the need to reduce public debt is understood, the cultural sector is generally pessimistic about the immediate future, and their ability to maintain effectiveness at reduced funding levels. There are fears that the progress made will be reversed and that rapid change will be forced upon them.

  1.2  Liverpool is currently anticipating the arrival of the new Museum of Liverpool in 2011 which will be a major tourist attraction, we are concerned about the impact upon National Museums Liverpool (NML), and urge maintenance of support to this successful & effective organisation that brings education, engagement and visitors to the city. In the absence of a clear national vision, plan and progression route for funding of culture, there is difficulty in putting together contingency and emergent planning to ensure that the cultural sector remains relevant and has impact. The cultural sector needs better guidance, some certainty of the level of funding available, and more information about what outcomes are required. In Liverpool the sector has grown in recent years due to the European Capital of Culture in 2008 and is in the process of consolidating. It contributes enormously to the aims and objectives of the city. The Mersey Partnership have identified that tourism has the potential to grow by another £100 million and create a further 2000 jobs in the region. Culture is an essential component in ensuring that this potential is met.

  1.3  However it is also a fragile sector that could be considered as under funded. Many of Liverpool's small and medium organisations operate to tight financial margins, based on frugal management and judicious fundraising. They are a success in this respect but are vulnerable to funding cuts. Top slicing 15% or 25% will render some organisations ineffective, as this is where they are able to produce artistic programme and real impact. We have assessed our organisations and are confident of their abilities but also aware of their financial precariousness. However there is still work to be done towards optimisation of the sector and improvement of partnerships and efficient use of resources. There is a need for planning time and structured change to be "incentivised" along with a clear vision and pathway to future norms and expectations for cultural delivery. Additionally, Liverpool has an array of complex heritage assets that require sustained public investment, otherwise risk losing viability.

  1.4  Parts of the sector operate close to their financial and organisational margins and are vulnerable to cuts in funding.

  1.5  Current scenarios and contingent plans will broadly allow changes to be managed and structured. Further reduction in funding will impede ability to change and will lead to regression of the sector and will reduce the value and impact of their activities.

  1.6  Stronger strategic guidance and support is required to give the cultural sector the opportunity to respond to the (as yet) under defined requirements of national government and to be able to refocus their activities to meet new strategic aims using available resources.

2.  What arts organisations can do to work more closely together in order to reduce duplication of effort and to make economies of scale

  2.1  Liverpool is well networked with major organisations clustering within Liverpool Arts Regeneration Consortium (LARC) and small medium organisations in COoL (Cultural Organisations of Liverpool). The Merseyside Local Authority Arts Officers Group (MAOG) are working with Liverpool organisation "Arts in Regeneration" to look at best practice in Arts & Health and Wellbeing across the City Region in order to identify efficiencies, proposal and develop best practice frameworks. These organisations are already building cooperation and coordination of resources to be more effective: (see footnote and LARC response[68].) LCC is reviewing how it supports the cultural sector and is moving closer towards:

  2.1  Facilitation:

    — A clearer strategic focus for activities and better communication.

    — Brokering of partnerships and projects.

    — Better tools for commissioning.

    — Training for organisational development.

  2.2  Advocacy and Support:

    — Providing a structured support programme ("Fit for the Future") through joint working with support agencies such as LCVS, Merseyside ACME, All About Audiences and Arts Council England.

    — Support for enterprise such as signposting to fundraising opportunities.

    — Coordination of Business support.

    — Networking with business sector (for example through A&B, BIA, ACME, Business Link.)

    — Developing supportive toolkits including websites and communication forums.

  2.3  Clear communications:

    — Marketing and Tourism advice.

    — Better Web presence.

  2.4  Better Administration:

    — We will review and simplify our monitoring procedures to reduce administrative burdens.

    — We will consider alternative monitoring methods that enhance relevance evidence and advocacy for culture.

    — We will review and streamline the terms and conditions of our grant offers.

  2.5  We need culture to be considered on a statutory basis by emerging Local Enterprise Partnerships, and for recognition that culture is an essential component of contributing to the involvement of our communities in "Big Society." Cultural Organisations are ideally placed to change mindsets, engage new participants, build enthusiasm, engender volunteers, share &build skills; all the hallmarks for the building of social capital. They require structured resources and incentives to be able to do this, through clear vision and guidance towards outcomes that are sustainable. Embedding of cultural components in health, education and community frameworks will have the double effect of creating new markets for cultural activity, and improving quality of life without direct linkage to economic growth.

  2.6  Culture should be embedded at the core of the remit of the emerging LEPs, who should be responsible for communicating, coordinating, engaging and developing the cultural sector to meet new agendas of the Big Society. We need to embed culture firmly to fully realise the benefits to quality of life.

  3.  What level of public subsidy for the arts and heritage is necessary and sustainable;

  3.1  It is not possible to attribute an ideal amount to each organisation in percentage terms, as the nature of organisations varies widely. Allocation amounts are not the only issue but how the resources are allocated. In Liverpool LCCs grant funding scheme of £4.2 million generates match funding of over £20million, involves thousands of people in events and workshops, and brings millions of visitors. There is still potential for to build on the successes of these initiatives and build community involvement, enhanced visitor attractions and a better offer to our communities. The LCC Cultural Champions is an initiative that aims to bring the interface between the public, the cultural sector and the local authority together and early indications are of improved advocacy and engagement at a local level; (see http://liverpoolculturalchampions.wordpress.com/about/.)

  3.2  Liverpool is also developing a Heritage Investment Framework that will improve the dynamics of the City Councils relationship with English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

  3.3  However certain activities, particularly those with social development or artistic quality at their core do not always have an immediate economic return and require specific and focussed financial support to realise their long term benefits in both economic and social terms. These activities are often time limited (eg Creative Partnerships/Find Your Talent) and are not given time to engender real social change. Geographical areas receive support, and then lose momentum as the initiatives end and the funding moves to other problem agendas. There should be a long term strategy for the embedding of cultural infrastructure into public services, (education, health, environment), for the development of initiatives that bring long term benefits, creating new audiences for culture and involving more people. We need to change mindsets so that culture is embedded in our services, and that it's contribution to quality of life is fully recognised.

  3.4  The expectations in terms of outputs and outcomes could be simplified and standard models of evaluation should be promoted that are simple to use and explain cultural impact. Use of internet and electronic communications can help enable this and provide credible data.

  3.5  We need to ensure that an understanding that quality cultural provision is essential to education, built environment, community & youth work and health improvement. Local Enterprise Partnerships will be ideally place to ensure the development of effective and positive collaborations that can have real impact.

  3.6  In terms of heritage, there are real costs associated with heritage designations (defined by Government) in addition to the costs of good stewardship and this should be balanced with some degree of state funding.

  3.7  We need "buy in" at the highest levels of national and local government to recognise the multiplying value of culture to education, health and economy, and to be able to support the cultural sector to ensure the cultural contribution to the regeneration of our city continues unabated.

4.  Whether the current system, and structure, of funding distribution is the right one

  4.1  The system has a general clarity, but maintains a distance between arts/culture infrastructure, third sector (community services), and private sector. Partnerships are therefore driven by pro—active initiatives that have to be strategically aligned through sometimes complex multi agency arrangements and funding schemes. The complexity of these arrangements can lead to duplication or dilution of impact.

  For example, a time limited project in one neighbourhood, with no strategic arrangements for progression by participants or community. At the same time a similar project, funded by a different agency in a nearby area, begins, duplicating development costs.

  4.2  Communication is an issue, and the tools or incentives for this should be developed so that assessment of Lottery funded projects includes current and proposed projects being visible to strategic partners and to neighbourhood stakeholders prior to assessment of new proposals.

  4.3  Arts Council England's Grants for the Arts is a clear process that has become well understood by the arts sector. It does require a certain amount of understanding and prior knowledge, and Local Authority Arts Officers provide essential support to the development of successful bids, providing local knowledge and strategic input and should be encouraged. ACEs efforts to involve Local Authorities in the decision making processes of GFA, (and RFO assessments) are beneficial to both partners in developing a joint approach to arts infrastructure. However a similar but wider joint approach to Lottery funded Sports/Heritage/Community projects would benefit assessment of resource allocation. Cities are already well equipped to be able to make decisions regarding the requirements and allocation of cultural resource. We require less complex and burdensome administration, and greater autonomy to strategically focus our programmes of work.

  4.4  Improvement could also be made in public perceptions of the benefits of the cultural arts to health, well being of individuals, and to social outcomes generally. Common models of evaluation and tools for measurement require standardisation. Measuring audience numbers does not give a full picture as evidenced by the CASE study.

  4.5  We need more official emphasis and endorsement of the value of culture to Quality of Life and to ensure that there are socially accessible routes to these benefits. We need to ensure that resources are focussed in the areas of most need and that strategic regional support is maintained.

  4.6  Cities are already well equipped to be able to make decisions regarding the requirements and allocation of cultural resource. We require less complex and burdensome administration, and greater autonomy to strategically focus our programmes of work. This will provide the individual & distinctive city characteristics that will provide both local and national strength to our cultural offer.

5.  What impact recent changes to the distribution of National Lottery funds will have on arts and heritage organisations

  5.1   This change is intended to bring more funding directly to arts and heritage organisations. However, reductions to Big Lottery Funding will impact on community focused or based organisations who do not have organisational infrastructure and specialist staff to develop their business. It may become more difficult for grass roots organisations who rely on support agencies to initiate projects and sustain themselves without the advice, experience and expertise of professionalised services who rely on Big Lottery funding.

  5.2  This may also impact on the Equality profiles of organisations and audiences/participants, as deprived areas will suffer a lack of the right skills to access funding and management. Provision for the (non cultural) artistic support of SME cultural organisations requires further consideration. During 2010 Liverpool City Council and Liverpool Primary Care Trust have jointly funded 46 small "Grass Roots" organisations to delivery a wide programme of activities that promote and engage people in Health & Well Being. Many of these organisations rely on other sources of funding being available and this creates value for projects and for the local authority's investment in them. Cultural organisations can fill the gaps in "professionalisation" of community involvement, but need frameworks and incentives to provide these services. There are a myriad of services currently available but structured progression routes are required to enhance the impact of this and ensure reach at a neighbourhood level.

  5.3  This could be rolled out by Local Enterprise Partnerships, for example, with initiatives dependent upon community partnership and uptake in geographical areas who are currently not engaged. Greater participation working and coordination between funders and delivery organisations is required to create real impact. Greater joint working across Local Authority boundaries should be encouraged and incentives given to do this.

  5.4  Supporting the use of heritage assets by charitable developers (ie the third sector) is also a method of optimising resources, by providing a home for organisations, and keeping the historic fabric of the city in productive use,

  5.5  The cultural sector still has potential to deliver stronger Quality of Life benefits at a neighbourhood level. Value and impact can be developed using coordinated approaches to match funding for neighbourhood & grass roots projects, to encourage cross authority (or joint agency working) and to maximise the use of available assets such as historic buildings.

6.  Whether the policy guidelines for National Lottery funding need to be reviewed

  6.1  The policy guidelines are specific in their support for "public good", "the arts", "the national heritage" etc. However this is a backfill approach that seeks to redress imbalances in provision and uptake. Clear messages are not given in the policy of the benefits of the cultural provision, and of the long term desirable outcomes. Agencies dilute and create mixed and complex messages that some communities find difficulty in interpreting (for example "artistic quality" is subjective based on life experience of the arts). A consequence of this is disenfranchisement and little impact on lifestyle choices. The gap between "pub and football" and "theatre and art gallery" needs to be populated with a bombardment of positivity around family and school education, youth work, health improvement and environmental changes that engender appreciation of better and healthier lifestyle choices through normalisation of cultural social activities. Lottery funding needs to benefit those who buy lottery tickets.

  6.2  Liverpool has attempted to address this with a joint approach between the City Council and PCT in the 2010 Year of Health and Well Being. Initiatives such as this need time for the success to be assessed but initial findings are positive with cultural audiences and participants being given new perspectives through attractive and diverse activities.

  6.3  There is a need to develop holistic cultural approaches that embed the value of culture to quality of life throughout people's lives, so that cultural is not an alien object that needs explaining through expensive and fragmented "backfill" projects. (see footnote [69] and LARC response).

  6.4  Policies need to strongly reflect that statutory and funded bodies understand and consistently espouse the value of culture to Quality of Life.

  6.5  Funding policies should be reviewed (along with non cultural policies) in order to provide cultural progression routes through school, employment opportunities, social activity, and built environment. Lottery funding needs to benefit those who buy lottery tickets.

7.  The impact of recent changes to DCMS arm's-length bodies—in particular the abolition of the UK Film Council and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

  7.1  Whilst LCC does not receive direct funding from MLA we recognise the improvements in standards that MLA have brought to Museums, and that a strategic regional context is vital, and that this should be resourced.

  7.2  Liverpool City Council does house the Liverpool Film Unit and their work has ensured that film has become an important contributor to the city (and region's) economy. If support funding is not made available to film & digital content makers, there will be an effect on the amount of productions being made in Liverpool, both indigenous and itinerant, who are reliant upon this. Several large-scale UKFC supported productions have come to Liverpool in recent years bringing substantial economic benefits. If the funding is not realigned to encourage UK film production there will be a detrimental effect. Tax initiatives in the UK have recently encouraged production studios to relocate to the UK (for example Marvel are filming Captain America in Liverpool). These incentives and appropriate infrastructure should be resourced to ensure that major productions continue to bring economic benefits.

  7.3  The messages coming out from government about the Digital & Creative Sector are really encouraging: it is a growth industry, has export potential and a beacon of hope for the UK economy etc. Support through National Lottery funding and film tax credits is essential. Currently UKFC lottery funding (RIFE) is administered in this region via Vision+Media. In addition V+M are a key strategic partner in developing Liverpool's particular strengths in the Digital & Creative Sector with a number of key actions within the Liverpool Cultural Strategy. This agency's future is at risk as a result of the UKFC and RDA abolishment. Their absence would create a vacuum and alternative strategies will need to be put in place to ensure that our vibrant and dynamic film industry will be sustained and our filmmakers supported at every level. Key to this would be continued access to markets, skills and finance.

  7.4  Provision needs to be made for support from experienced and qualified sources for both the Museum and Film sectors, to maintain and improve their spectacular successes.

8.  Whether businesses and philanthropists can play a long-term role in funding arts at a national and local level

  8.1  Business support through sponsorship, mentoring schemes, board and skills placements already contribute significantly to the cultural sector. They also receive the benefits of public awareness and support skills development through the above. Business should be encouraged to embed culture into the lives of their employees, to encourage well being, corporate social responsibility and as to consider thi s as recognition of their success. However it is difficult for small organisations to demonstrate value to sponsors, particularly for specialist projects that do not have wide public exposure. (For example a small group of artist working with a community group, is unlikely to attract significant private sector resource.)

  8.2  The mechanisms for sponsorship proposals and involving business are well developed, but do require agency support (in Liverpool through Business in the Arts: North West and Arts & Business). This area of work is also extremely competitive and its development is resource heavy (upon organisations.) Support should be maintained and encouraged through funding of match schemes, and placing duties upon big organisations undertaking major programmes to consider investment in the cultural sector to encourage public benefit.

  8.3  It is not realistic to consider private sector funding as a substitute for public sector subsidy. The "culture of cultural support" is not yet embedded, and requires more development, incentive and advocacy. It is unlikely to proportionally benefit the smaller end of the sector.

9.  Whether there need to be more Government incentives to encourage private donations

  9.1  The principles of philanthropic support are not widely formalised, and organisations such as Arts & Business are at the forefront of developing this kind of initiative. Whilst this offers potential for some, it is unlikely that philanthropy will be able to replace loss of public sector resource. American models are well established culturally and cannot be readily replicated, particularly outside London, where concentrations of wealthy individuals are fewer.

  9.2  Government led incentives for private donations and philanthropy should focus on support for organisations wishing to undertake advocacy, and encouraging lower end uptake and mass participation (such as similar schemes to ACE's Own Art).

  9.3  The current economic climate will not encourage patronage without further incentives. The mechanisms for developing patronage are not as well developed as those for sponsorship. There is a challenge in meeting the desired results in certain areas of work, and in particular geographical locations.






68   LARC (From the Liverpool Way) : It's about making the most of Liverpool's remarkable cultural assets, and the major cultural organisations delivering to their individual and collective strengths, including outstanding international programmes and linking these to local communities and visitors to the city in a strong, collaborative partnership with the city council and others. It is about creating a movement for arts and culture not just monuments, about new ways of connecting creative producers, institutions, and creators to communities and social networks. It unlocks, opens up and makes visible the potential and talent in these communities and brings great art to Liverpool in a way that draws out and builds on our talent. Back

69   In Harmony Changing communities through music Inspired by Venezuela's El Sistema2, "In Harmony" is a community development project using music to bring positive change to the lives of very young children in the most deprived areas of England, delivering benefits across the wider community. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic successfully bid to become one of three national pilots for In Harmony England between now and March 2011, funded by the Department for Education. http://www.liverpoolphil.com/193/in-harmony/changing-communities-through-music.html. Back


 
previous page contents next page


© Parliamentary copyright 2011
Prepared 30 April 2011