Headlines: June 9th, 1999

Preparations are now underway to establish new Regional Cultural Consortiums to champion the role and importance of culture and the creative industries in the English regions. The Consortiums will assist the improved delivery of regional cultural services and draw up a regional cultural strategy feeding into the work of the Regional Development Agency and other organisations in the region. They will also have a role in developing the Lottery distributors’ strategies.

The new Consortiums will encourage a joined-up approach to cultural activities throughout the country. Members of the new bodies will be drawn from local authorities, the creative industries and regional agencies, and will encompass the arts, museums, tourism, the built heritage, archives, libraries, sport, film and architecture. It will be open to each consortium to invite people from other sectors to become members in order to reflect the make-up of its region.

The search is on to find the first Chairs for each Consortium and individuals and organisations are invited to put forward names for their local Chair. The Local Government Association claims that councillors are best placed to lead the new bodies as local government is the only sector to run a full range of culture, leisure and tourism services. The Association has expressed disappointment that less than a third of the places on each Board may be from local government.