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


Written evidence submitted by Partnership for Urban South Hampshire Quality Place Delivery Panel (arts 58)

1.  SUMMARY

  1.1  Local Government is the principal public sector investor in Culture and Heritage in South Hampshire.

  1.2  A strong Culture and Heritage sector provides a cost effective way to secure economic development, health, learning, community cohesion and place shaping outcomes.

  1.3  Loss of funding will both directly damage local cultural infrastructure and the local cultural ecology. Additionally significant risks exist that the impact of small cuts could be magnified by the unwinding of leveraged funding packages, reduced capacity to evidence the contribution of culture to local policy priorities, and lack of the necessary resilience in the sector to allow it to respond to new policy agenda.

  1.4  Funding of Culture and Heritage should be regarded as an investment which delivers clear policy outcomes which reflect local priorities.

  1.5  National funding should be cognisant of the localism agenda, and sufficiently flexible to be pooled with other funding streams so as to facilitate the use of culture to achieve local policy outcomes.

  1.6  A new relationship between lottery funders and Local Government should be established which recognises the leadership role of Local Government. Funding streams could be developed to facilitate transition to a more self reliant cultural sector and consideration should also be given to the use of loans, as well as grant funding.

  1.7  At a local level arms length bodies should learn to work together more closely, share resources and provide single points of contact.

  1.8  Philanthropists and private sponsorship can play an important role, but care must be taken to ensure that benefits flow to local organisations, as well as the well known national institutions.

2.  INTRODUCTION

  2.1  The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) is made up of 11 Local Authorities: Hampshire County Council, the Cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, the four urban Districts of Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport and Havant (whose boundaries totally fall within the PUSH area), and four further districts (New Forest, Test Valley, Winchester City and East Hampshire) through which the PUSH boundary cuts.

  2.2  The drivers for collaboration are economic development and the management of housing growth. In 2006, PUSH was selected by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) to become one of 29 growth points. PUSH was also identified in the regional economic strategy as a Diamond for Growth. In 2008 PUSH became the first sub region in the South East to sign a Multi Area Agreement.

  2.3  PUSH has, from inception, recognised the importance of quality of place (including culture, sport, and stewardship of the historic environment), as a means of securing future prosperity. In 2008 PUSH was adopted by the Living Places partnership of cultural agencies (http://www.living-places.org.uk/) as a priority place and has since developed a reputation for developing innovative approaches to place shaping.

  2.4  In 2008 the Quality Place Delivery Panel was established as part of the formal PUSH governance structure. The Panel is chaired by Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson (Leader of Portsmouth City Council), and reports directly into the Joint Committee which steers the work of the Partnership.

  2.5  The priorities of the Quality Place Delivery Panel are identified in their business plan and include:

    2.5.1 Promoting the identity of South Hampshire, and building the reputation of the area as an excellent place to live, work, and invest.

    2.5.2 Promoting cultural and sporting engagement and participation.

    2.5.3 Supporting the development of the cultural and creative economy.

    2.5.4 Promoting tourism and the visitor economy.

    2.5.5 Ensuring South Hampshire is a world class place to live in terms of Design in the Built Environment, and Stewardship of the Historic Environment.

  The PUSH Quality Place Delivery Panel welcomed the opportunity to respond to the Select Committee's Call for Evidence. Our responses to the questions are as follows:

3.   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?

  3.1  Local Government is the main public sector investor in cultural provision in South Hampshire. This investment has resulted in the development and sustenance of a physical infrastructure of arts centres and venues, as well as libraries and museums, which ensures that all South Hampshire residents have access to a diverse range of cultural provision. Local Government has also taken the lead in investing in arts and cultural development work which has incubated and facilitated the growth of a diverse range of artists festivals events and cultural organisations, all of which have contributed the rich cultural ecology in the area.

  3.2  In the past decade Local Government has played a crucial role by either funding, or facilitating the delivery of a range of capital projects. These projects include:

    3.2.1 Library modernisations, such as the development of the Discovery Centres in Winchester and Gosport, which have demonstrably increased library usage.

    3.2.2 Cultural infrastructure developments, such as the development of the Point Arts Centre and Creation centre in Eastleigh, and the regeneration of the Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf in Portsmouth.

  3.3  Further development is proposed in the next decade which includes:

    3.3.1 a new Arts Complex in Southampton;

    3.3.2 The Sea City Museum in Southampton;

    3.3.3 the Mary Rose Visitor Centre in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard; and

    3.3.4 the New Theatre Royal development in Portsmouth.

  Havant Borough Council and Gosport Borough Councils are also considering proposals for investment in the cultural infrastructure.

  3.4  The outcomes from local government expenditure include:

    3.4.1 The growth of a rich and diverse cultural offer—which is accessible and engages most residents, frequently making use of buildings which are supported by Local Government.

    3.4.2 Enhanced life chances for young people—The Find Your Talent, Creative Partnership, and Renaissance programmes have had significant impact on learning opportunities in and out of school. Park School in Havant has used specialist arts college status and creativity in the curriculum, to become one of the most successful schools in terms of the value added league tables in the country.

    3.4.3 The development of a strong creative economy—Support for creative industry development ,delivered in partnership with local universities, has contributed to the growth of a sector which employs nearly 30 000 people in South Hampshire, and has doubled in size in the past 10 years.

    3.4.4 Strong and cohesive communities—Mela's, events, and festivals initiated through seed corn public investment have increased community capacity and confidence, contributed to the building of trust between communities, and increased public levels of confidence in Civic Society.

    3.4.5 Enhanced perception of Quality of Place—The cultural offer, stewardship of the historic and natural environment, and the vibrant visitor economy, are increasingly recognised as being key to factors in reinforcing South Hampshire's reputation as a Great Place to Live Work and Invest.

  3.5  National investment is channelled in three ways:

    3.5.1 Direct Funding—English Heritage and organisations responsible for funding National Museums, including Museums with connections to the Armed Services, directly fund, manage, and promote access to some of the regions Heritage.

    3.5.2 Arms length organisations, such as Arts Council England and the Museums Library and Archive Council (MLA), support regularly funded organisations and museum service enhancement. These organisations have also historically supported local government by providing authoritative advice and guidance. Predominantly this funding is focused on securing high quality artistic outcomes, and stewardship of collections. However Creativity Culture and Education (CCE) has been core to the funding of cultural education initiatives in the area.

    3.5.3 Lottery Funders, including the Arts Council, and Heritage Lottery Fund, have played a significant role in supporting local government to secure cultural infrastructure development, and provided revenue funding to some organisations serving the area. The Olympic Legacy Trust as part funder of the Creative Campuses initiative has also facilitated collaboration between universities within the region on issues relating to culture and creativity.

  3.6  Real risk exists that relatively small reductions in funding will cause significant damage for the following reasons:

    3.6.1 Loss of Support for Infrastructure—The vibrant cultural ecology of the area has grown partly as result of Local Government support for venues, and cultural development work. A reduction of this support, if not mitigated by other actions, is likely to have a direct impact on the range and diversity of the cultural offer and levels of cultural participations.

    3.6.2 The potential unwinding of leveraged funding packages—Cultural projects frequently depend on complex partnership funding packages. Funding channelled through the Arms Length Agencies is frequently linked to a pyramid of leveraged Local Authority, economic development, and education funding. The loss of one element of funding can lead to the loss of the entire project as other funders may struggle to fill the gap.

    3.6.3 Loss of support in making the case for culture—Over the past decade the contribution that culture and heritage can make in helping a locality to cost effectively secure economic, health, education, and place shaping outcomes has become well documented and evidenced. However reduced investment in supporting evidence gathering might result in the loss of the Taking Part, and Active People, surveys, or local advocacy work undertaken by the arms length agencies and Local Government Development and Improvement, could mean that it will become increasingly hard to make the case for cultural investment as well as providing evidence of outcomes at a local level.

    3.6.4 Lack of readiness—Within the sector many people welcome the challenge of a transition to a more entrepreneurial and self reliant cultural sector. However the speed of transition will inevitably cause some very successful organisations to disappear. Much of the cultural Third Sector failed to engage in the capacity building initiatives, such as Future Builders and Change Up, which helped to equip welfare and environmental organisations to respond to the new policy environment. Investment may therefore be needed to equip the sector to respond to the challenge of attracting earned income, philanthropic support, and private sponsorship.

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

  4.1  Significant opportunities exist to promote new ways of working which will yield economies:

    4.1.1 Rationalisation of Provision—Significant evidence has emerged that, in spatial planning terms, fewer but better venues, museums and libraries would enhance service to residents. Several facilities have over lapping catchments and are underutilised or are not fit for purpose. Savings in the medium term could also be achieved by co-locating existing provision with schools or other public services.

    4.1.2 Sharing of Support Services—Where several venues are located in the same town, or city, opportunities exist to share backroom services, eg Box Office, Financial Management, Human Resources, and Recruitment. Opportunities may also exist to develop joint management and governance arrangements for networks of facilities. For example in Basingstoke the Trusts managing the Anvil and Haymarket Theatre have merged. Discussions are taking place in Portsmouth regarding the development of closer working relationships between the New Theatre Royal, The Kings Theatre, and the Guildhall.

    4.1.3 The Development of a collaborative rather than competitive culture—Cultural organisations and Cultural Service Departments can achieve considerable savings by looking for opportunities to collaborate rather than compete. Portsmouth, Southampton, Hampshire, and Winchester, are currently discussing the benefits of working together on museum service development. Collaborative working across arts venues could lead to greater diversity of offer and less duplication of programme. A collective approach by several organisations, working in partnership, is also more likely to attract lottery, philanthropic, or private support, than individual fragmented organisations.

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

  5.1  Local Authorities increasingly view arts funding as an investment which helps them to achieve community strategy outcomes. In South Hampshire investment in Find Your Talent, and Creative Partnerships, has enriched the learning experiences of young people, increased life chances and reduced anti social behaviour. Investment in Libraries and Discovery Centres has increased broadband access. Mela's, and festivals, have reinforced the sense that South Hampshire is made up of a network of strong, integrated, cohesive communities. Investment in the Cultural Sector has also helped reinforce a sense of place and identity. In the future Local Government will increasingly need evidence that investment in culture and heritage will deliver community strategy related outcomes, and this investment will be at least as cost effective as alternative approaches to delivering the same type of outcomes.

  5.2  National funding of Culture and Heritage appears to be increasingly focused on culture for cultures sake. The funding of artists and regularly funded organisations is predominantly related to the quality of artistic output. National funding of museums is largely focused on organisations who are custodians of nationally important collections.

  5.3  The growing tension between the objectives of local and national funders can force cultural organisations to make choices which jeopardise their business model. In an environment when total subsidy will inevitably have to be reduced this tug of war between funders is as dangerous as the reduction of funding itself. Funders therefore need to be given more flexibility in order to agree the best way, at a local level, of using the limited resources to deliver both local and national outcomes.

6.   Which current system and structure of funding distribution is the right one?

  6.1  Much of the national debate regarding funding for the arts appears to have been focused on national funding channels. Outside London, Local Government is the largest public sector investor in culture. This is very much the case in South Hampshire. However over recent years there has been a significant reduction in capacity within Local Authorities to work with arts organisations. Local Authority budgets are increasingly being pooled with those of other public agencies, in order to deliver community strategy outcomes, through arrangements such as Local Area Agreements, Multi Area Agreements and Total Place. The Coalition Government's commitment to Localism suggests this trend may continue. It is therefore imperative that national funding for culture should be delegated to the local level and should be flexible in order to support the delivery of clear policy outcomes.

  6.2  Without incentives from national funders it is likely that local politicians will see arts and culture as an area where they get a poor return for investment in terms of corporate priority outcomes. However if national bodies such as Arts Council England, and English Heritage, can help Local Authorities to achieve both policy outcomes and activate a multiplier of lottery, private sector, and philanthropic funding, the returns will be maximised.

7.   What impact do recent changes to the distribution of lottery funding have on the arts and heritage organisations, and do the policy guidelines from the national Lottery Funding bodies need to be reviewed?

  7.1  Over the 16 years since launch the lottery has changed the cultural landscape. PUSH welcomes proposals to restore lottery funding to the original good causes which included arts and heritage.

  7.2  It would be helpful if lottery funding criteria reinforced the use of Arts and Culture to support local policy priorities. A new relationship between Lottery funders and Local Government may therefore be required. Lottery streams need to be developed which support the localism agenda, reinforcing legitimacy of local government to lead and coordinate investment at a local level so as to secure community strategy priorities. Lottery programmes of this sort would rely on local government to work strategically with stakeholders in order to broker and deliver projects which met both national and local policy outcomes.

  7.3  Lottery funders might also encourage "Invest to Save" approaches. Noting that the new ways of working, described in our response to question 2, which have the potential to yield significant savings but will only be adopted if funding is found to cover transition and set up costs.

  7.4  Merit might also exist in establishing funding streams which build the capacity of not for profit cultural organisations. This will enable these organisations to respond to the opportunities arising from the Big Society agenda, and equip organisations to become more self sufficient and better able to attract private sponsorship and philanthropic funds.

  7.5  Lottery funders might also consider the benefits of establishing loan, as well as grant, programmes. Many new capital programmes, or business transformation projects, are likely, if funded, to yield large savings which could be recycled within the sector. If investment occurred, grants would not be needed as the projects would, in the long term, have potential to be self financing. Trustees are however unable to take out commercial loans without facing unacceptable levels of personal risk. A lottery funded loan scheme could mean that a trustee would not have to put their house at risk risk in order to deliver a worthwhile project. The funder would also have high level of control over the project while it was being delivered.

  7.6  Since the early days of the lottery several lessons have been learnt. We would therefore not favour a return to a purely applicant led approach, as this would lead to over demand and wasted spend on failed applications.

8.   The Impact of recent changes to DCMS arms length bodies—in particular the abolition of the UK Film Council and The Museum Library and Archive Council.

  8.1  The MLA, Arts Council England, and English Heritage are members of the Living Place Partnership and contribute to the funding of the Quality Place work within South Hampshire.

  8.2  Screen South, the regional Screen Agency, works closely with the South East Cultural Partnership. It also works with SEEDA and South East Media Network in supporting the development of creative industries within the region.

  8.3  The reduction in regional capacity across the arms length organisations has made it far more difficult for local government to have a relationship with these bodies. The lack of a single point of contact, who can speak on behalf of the fragmented range of bodies, means that it is hard to secure buy-in and consensus on the way in which arts, culture, heritage and creative industry policy can be developed in a locality.

  8.4  Scope exists at a local level for the sharing of expertise across the arms length organisations so that they can collectively develop a closer relationship with Local Government. The arms length bodies need to make more progress in delivering the partnership working, and resource sharing agenda, envisaged as an outcome of the DCMS review of regional cultural infrastructure in 2008.

9.   Can businesses and philanthropists play a long-term role in funding arts at a national level? What is the role of Government in encouraging private donations?

  9.1  The private sector and philanthropists have always played a significant role in funding and promoting the arts. However well known arts organisations and cultural institutions, with established brands often centred on London, are likely to represent the most attractive investment propositions to the private sector.

  9.2  Significant risk exists that a focus on philanthropists, and private sponsorship, will tend to reinforce the existing bias towards major national companies thus further impoverishing arts and cultural development in the regions. Furthermore the focus of many private sector organisations on high art, and high profile artists, could make it harder to sustain arts organisations which are rooted in the community and working to enhance life chances.

  9.3  It should be noted that many arts foundations, eg the Creative Foundation in Folkestone, or the Hamlyn Trust, have a successful record in promoting innovation, in terms of regeneration and cultural learning. They have therefore pioneered new approaches to cultural led regeneration, creative education, and the use of the arts to support health promotion. It is noted that this work is often most successful when Trusts collaborate with universities to ensure credible evaluation and dissemination of findings.

  9.4  Increased private sector sponsorship and engagement in the arts would undoubtedly be welcome. Organisations such as Arts & Business have historically played a very significant role in helping arts organisations develop relationships with the private sector and in attracting sponsorship. This work could be further extended and some catalytic funding may well be desirable.

September 2010





 
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