Headlines: July 3rd, 2008

Changes have been made in the way the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, will work in the regions. The measures were announced by the Culture Minister, Margaret Hodge, who said they would strengthen
engagement in regional policy through a simplified and improved way of working.

Under the proposals the Department’s four key agencies in the regions, Arts Council England, Sport England, English Heritage and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, will have a duty to work together. They will deliver a core, shared priorities in both culture and sport. The priorities will include Regional Strategies, Local Area Agreements, Place Shaping, liaison over the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, which will run alongside the London games, and Local Government commitment to culture and sport. The new alliance of Government agencies will work with local councils and the Regional Development Agencies as well as other partners, to agree regional priorities and
plans of action.

The DCMS said the new arrangements would still allow the agencies to continue their existing sector specific responsibilities but would introduce ways to use contributions from all regional partners in an effective way. The plans are the result of a review of the Department’s regional infrastructure and they will come into effect over the next 12 months. The arrangements will replace DCMS’s current Regional Cultural Consortiums, a step which is expected to deliver long-term savings, making more money availabe for reinvestment in culture and sport provision.

Margaret Hodge said the regional landscape was shifting with Local Area Agreements and Integrated Regional Strategies on the horizon. “We need to put delivery at the heart of the debate at this critical time. We can only do that by coupling advocacy with action, speaking with a stronger more unified voice across our sectors and giving a better service to Local Government and Regional Development Agency partners,” she said.