Funding of the arts and heritage

Written evidence submitted by Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA) (arts 85)

The Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA, is a collective voice working to ensure that all children and young people have meaningful access to culture in this difficult economic climate. 

The CLA was created to develop and advocate for a coherent national strategy for cultural learning. We work alongside the main cultural and learning bodies, the relevant government departments and their national agencies, and regional and local partners.

The CLA brings together the education, youth and cultural sectors, including schools, academies, colleges, universities, libraries and museums, and other organisations working in film, heritage, dance, literature, new media arts, theatre, visual arts and music. 

The CLA currently has over 1,500 signatories, including over 1,000 individuals and over 450 organisations. The following organisations are among those that form the CLA: Arts Council England; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation; Clore Duffield Foundation; Creativity, Culture and Education; Foyle Foundation; Museums, Libraries and Archives Council; National Campaign for the Arts; National Skills Academy: Creative and Culture; Paul Hamlyn Foundation; and the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.

The CLA believes that: 

· Cultural learning transforms the lives of young people and the families and communities that surround them.

· Cultural learning inspires civic engagement, raises aspiration and is key to helping neighbourhoods to make positive changes. It equips young people with the skills and experiences to drive forward our creative industries and contribute to our economy.

· Cultural learning takes place within and beyond learning institutions. Schools, colleges and universities, and youth, arts and cultural organisations are critical partners in delivering work at a local level.

· Young people who have the opportunity to learn through and about culture are better equipped to achieve across the curriculum, and to take responsibility for their own learning. Attendance and attitude are both improved by engagement with culture.

Our submission to the Committee’s inquiry is based on the views of teachers and the cultural sector expressed through a widespread national consultation on cultural learning undertaken in 2009, and more recently through our web and social media channels. 

Summary of our response

· The recent and future spending cuts will have significant impact on cultural learning as both Arts Council and local authority subsidy is reduced.

· Cultural organisations are in a position to respond effectively and swiftly to the needs of parents, neighbourhoods and children and young people. They are experts in creating new and innovative solutions and working in partnership.

· New legislation and emerging government priorities are opening up more opportunities for arts organisations to work at the grass-roots level with communities. There are a number of steps that can be taken to help provide excellent cultural learning opportunities in this landscape. These include the development of a national, online, searchable information resource, the development of local cultural learning consortia and the creation of a single national monitoring and evaluation tool.

· Public funding for core education and learning staff within cultural organisations must be maintained, as must the proportion of the subsidy for the arts and heritage which goes to work benefiting children and young people. In other word, the percentage of arts and heritage subsidy for cultural learning should be safe-guarded.

· Arts Council and DCMS funding agreements should include the education and learning activities of the organisation receiving funding. Any new local structures for spending public funding related to children and young people, education and culture must be made accessible to cultural organisations. Arts and cultural organisations and children and young people, should also be involved on decision making bodies.

· Although the national policy guidelines for the distribution of lottery funds are broadly supportive of cultural learning, this priority must be maintained through any review and could be strengthened.

· It is essential that the MLA and UK Film Council functions and programmes relating to cultural learning and the associated resources and expertise in these organisations is valued and transferred to other bodies.

Response to questions 

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. Local authorities are losing champions, advocates and brokers for cultural learning. Officers responsible for cultural and creative practice are leaving their authorities due to pay freezes and their positions are not being filled. There is a fear that this will lead to the loss of the role these officers have performed in advocating to their colleagues in housing, environment, education, planning and other areas, and in enabling those colleagues to understand how culture can be embedded in their programmes. This would mean fewer opportunities for children to participate in culture via the wide breadth of community programmes local authorities offer. Schools, youth providers and voluntary organisations rely on local authority colleagues to broker partnerships with other local cultural providers. These cuts will make it much more difficult for these organisations to identify and work effectively with others.

1.2. The cuts to Building Schools for the Future (BSF) have had a real impact on secondary school plans for cultural learning. Many schools were using the investment to create cultural facilities and spaces for the express benefit of clusters of partner schools, local communities and cultural organisations, and the voluntary and third sector, as well as for their students. These spaces were often planned as specialist facilities, offering opportunities for engagement and skills development for the cultural and creative industries for both adult and young participants. For example, Rainhill High School in St Helens has been told that their £14m BSF programme will not be going ahead. The new mixed community / school use build and remodelling was planned to focus on the arts with an emphasis on performance spaces, as well as the use of mobile technology to facilitate film and animation as part of learning.

1.3. Time and budgets for training and professional development are being significantly reduced in local authorities. This represents a very real threat to networks, membership organisations and providers of training opportunities. For example, Earlyarts, which provides a network and training for creative early years practice, is concerned that their intensive training for professionals from the arts, early years and cultural sectors could be impacted upon, which would mean a reduction in the number of children who will receive benefits from the training and resulting creative and cultural experiences.

1.4. The withdrawal of funding from Find Your Talent has had an impact across the country. This cut means, directly, that children will have less opportunity to participate in the arts over the next two to three years. The CLA has also been told that the cuts to Find Your Talent funding are affecting other programmes. Find Your Talent teams acted as valued local resources, working as hubs across a range of programmes (often only part-funded by Find Your Talent itself). There is also a great deal of concern that the new models of integrated and effective partnership working, which were being tested by Find Your Talent, will now not be captured, and the learning will not benefit the wider sector.

1.5. Cultural organisations are beginning to find that learning budgets are decreasing as a result of cuts to their overall budgets. This is an impact of cuts to both their Arts Council funding and their local authority subsidy. For example, Modern Art Oxford have recently cut 40% of their core learning team which will have a major impact on the number of projects and programmes they are able to deliver.


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. Development of a national, searchable online information resource which allows schools, youth partners, arts organisations, parents and young people to identify and contact each other. This would take some initial central resource, but information about initiatives and organisations would then be managed by the local partners.

2.2. Development of local cultural learning consortia. These would include cultural organisations, Specialist Schools and Academies relating to the arts and culture, FE colleges, local music and arts services, parents and young people.

These consortia could respond to the needs of individual schools, youth and community organisations as they arise and will be able to provide streamlined information and services. They would also be able to pool their resources, such as developing joint bids for programmes, sharing training opportunities. 

2.3. Working with the CLA to create a single set of monitoring and evaluation criteria and a universal evaluation tool which meets the needs of local partners. Arts and cultural organisations spend a great deal of time and resource monitoring and evaluating their work to demonstrate value to a range of targets. By creating a single simple tool information on effectiveness and outcomes could be easily shared and compared and duplication eliminated.

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

3.1. It is essential that core funding for learning teams within arts and cultural organisations is maintained and championed. Cultural organisations are extremely effective in raising funds for their cultural learning work from a range of sources, including schools, local authority children’s services and from trusts and foundations. However, these sources do not cover the core costs of the posts which manage and deliver this work.

3.2. It is essential that support for a board and diverse range of arts and cultural organisations covering cultural forms including theatre, dance, music, film, literature, heritage, new-media and visual arts is maintained in spite of any reduction in subsidy.

3.3. The proportion of current subsidy to organisations for the delivery of opportunities for children and young people in relation to the overall subsidy of arts organisations is currently at broadly the right level – although scrutiny of such expenditure by funders is probably insufficient (e.g. with national museums) – and this level of expenditure should be maintained through any reduction in overall subsidy for the arts.

3.4. Many local authority arts, culture and audience development teams deliver front-line cultural learning activities as well as providing brokerage, advice and support. These functions should be taken into account when decisions about public subsidy are being made, with provision made to maintain this activity.

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

4.1. Arts Council England’s funding agreements with arts organisations often do not cover the work the organisations do with children and young people. Any new system should ensure that this area of work is fully addressed and supported through this mechanism. Funding agreements should also facilitate and encourage collaborative working. 

4.2. Cultural organisations have previously worked through local authority children’s service infrastructures to access commissioning funding for their work with children and young people and families. As new local delivery systems emerge, following changes in policy, it is essential that schools, community organisations, local authorities and bodies such as Local Enterprise Partnerships are able to directly fund and partner cultural organisations for the delivery of services and outcomes for children and young people. Cultural organisations are key grass-roots providers and can deliver effective, sustainable and competitive learning and social programmes. They should also be a part of the decision-making process for funding at local and national level.

4.3. The Arts Council’s Grants for the Arts programme has been a good mechanism for the distribution of lottery funding, although the application process is still a lengthy task for small organisations. However, Grants for the Arts does not currently cover activity that benefits individual schools, something which should be considered if the subsidy for any other activity in this area is reduced.

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

5.1. The CLA welcomes the Government’s plans to return the National Lottery to its original good causes of art, sport, heritage and the voluntary sector.

5.2. The abolition of UK Film Council will mean that the lottery funding previously distributed by this body will be transferred elsewhere. It is essential that priorities relating to children and young people are maintained during this transfer.

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

6.1. The CLA is pleased to see the inclusion of a clause stating ‘the need to inspire children and young people, awakening their interest and involvement in the arts’ within the Lottery guidelines of Arts Council, Heritage Lottery Fund and Sport England. We feel that this could be strengthened within the guidelines of the Big Lottery Fund.

6.2. We would also like to see the following priorities included as a result of any review: 

· The need for the training and development of cultural and education professionals in the delivery of a cultural entitlement to children and young people.

· The need to involve children and young people in the development of projects related to activity with, for and by them.

· The need to evaluate programmes simply and effectively to gather learning and information which can be shared with others.

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 (MLA).

7.1. Both the MLA and the UK Film Council deliver excellent programmes related to cultural learning. For example, the MLA’s Strategic Commissioning programme supports young people to campaign on local issues that affect their communities, and supports work placements in cultural institutions. It also provides vital joint training opportunities for teachers and cultural professionals. The UK Film Council has been an instrumental partner in funding the 21st Century Film Literacy Strategy, which supports a network of key providers of film education, offers training and development and creates educational resources. It is essential that these functions and programmes relating to cultural learning and the associated resources and expertise are valued and transferred to other organisations.

7.2. The MLA has been instrumental in joining up a range of cross-cultural services to provide efficiencies and streamline front-line cultural learning services. For example, the Working With Children’s Services strand of the London Cultural Improvement Programme hosted by the MLA has been developing new models of supporting local partners to share practice and support each other in the delivery of common priorities. Programmes of this nature should be maintained in order to support communities and cultural organisations as they transition to a new policy and delivery landscape.

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

8.1. Arts and cultural organisations are extremely successful in attracting funding from both business and philanthropists to their learning programmes for children and families, to match public funds. This success is underpinned by core learning team staff who are able to work with communities and schools to pull programmes together and fund raise successfully. Businesses and philanthropists have not been in a position to fund these key long-term positions and it is therefore critical that public subsidy continues to be used as a way of partnering and levering this private investment. Philanthropists wish to see core funding covering key posts.

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

9.1. Any additional tax incentives to encourage cultural giving would be a good thing. Private support should be encouraged, facilitated (through tax incentives) and celebrated.

September 2010