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Margaret Hodge outlines measures to streamline cultural 'delivery' in the regions

Margaret Hodge outlines measures to streamline cultural 'delivery' in the regions

DEPARTMENT FOR CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT News Release (068/2008) issued by The Government News Network on 2 July 2008

Culture Minister Margaret Hodge today announced plans to strengthen DCMS engagement in regional policy through a new, simplified and improved way of working.

For the first time, 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 to jointly deliver a core set of shared priorities across the culture and sport agenda.

These priorities include:
* Regional Strategies;
* Local Area Agreements;
* Local Government commitment to culture and sport;
* Place Shaping; and
* LOCOG liaison on 2012 and the Cultural Olympiad.

This alliance, working with partners in local authorities, the Regional Development Agencies, and other partner organisations, will agree top priorities and create joint plans of action for the culture and sport agendas for their region. These new arrangements will still enable the four agencies to continue with their existing and continuing sector specific responsibilities, but will also introduce a way of using contributions from all regional partners in a more targeted and effective way.

The plans announced today are the result of a review into the Department's regional infrastructure, led by Margaret Hodge. They will come into effect over the next 12 months and replace the Department's eight Non Departmental Public Bodies, the Regional Cultural Consortiums. This will deliver long-term savings that will be reinvested directly into culture and sport provision.

Culture Minister Margaret Hodge said:

"We have come a long way in strengthening the case for the role of culture and sport at the heart of a region, its economy and its aspirations. That's thanks in no small part to the work of our cultural consortia and their Boards over the last nine years.

But the regional landscape is shifting. With the new Local Area Agreements imminent 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."

Notes to editors

1. The DCMS regional infrastructure review has been led by the Minister for Culture, Margaret Hodge, and supported by a working group of key stakeholders. The working group included representatives of the Department's non Departmental Bodies with a significant presence in the English regions outside London: Arts Council England, Sport England, The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, English Heritage, The Big Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, UK Film Council and Regional Cultural Consortiums. It also included members from the Local Government Association, Regional Development Agencies and the Regional Government Office network. The review was conducted through a series of meetings between autumn 2007 and spring 2008.

2. The Review had the following objectives, to:
* achieve significant cost savings and efficiencies in terms of what needs to be done regionally and by sharing back office functions and premises.
* bring about better coordination to eliminate duplication and improve the effectiveness of input into regional strategies and LAAs.
* re-examine the need for a coordinating body while not undermining the ability of individual NDPBs to carry out their national responsibilities.

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