North East Culture Partnership invited to inform Select Committee

25 April 2014

The North East Culture Partnership (NECP) will give evidence on Tuesday (29 April) as part of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee's review into the work of Arts Council England (ACE).

Following a written submission by the NECP, its co-chairs Councillor David Budd, Member for Culture, Middlesbrough Council and John Mowbray, Immediate Past President, North East Chamber of Commerce will provide a view on ACE's scope, scale and remit. They will also be invited to comment on the economic and artistic criteria that underpin funding decisions, the geographical distribution of funding and the justification for the current weighting of this towards London.

They will seek to highlight a number of key issues and proposals made in the NECP response, including:

  • New Arts Council England structure and government funding cuts have left the region a long way from decision making on funding (ACE main offices in Manchester and London).
  • We would like to work with ACE and develop new thinking about how lottery can be rebalanced and to use our local mandate to inform funding decisions.
  • We would like to see devolved funds and engagement with regional expertise.
  • We want to see the whole of England benefit from ‘national' London based organisations.
  • We believe in artistic innovation and creative risk - and reject the idea that subsidy per attendance should shape decision making.
  • We want to work together with ACE to increase their investment and impact in the regions.

Cllr David Budd, Co-chair, NECP, said: "The North East Culture Partnership is passionate about the role that arts and heritage play in the life of the region and its economy.  We are taking on strategic brokerage, partnership and leadership roles and believe that more regionally devolved Arts Lottery funds and decision making would create significantly more impact for communities in the North East.

"Our submission to the committee has been selected from 250 nationally, which is a positive reflection on the issues, concerns and ideas we have raised and we aim to present a constructive case to the committee."

NECP's full response, which was endorsed by all local authorities, universities and the North East Chamber of Commerce can be viewed at DCMS Committee Inquiry

For further information contact:
Culture Partnership Manager: Matthew Jarratt on 07807 409990 or matthew.jarratt@northeastcouncils.gov.uk

Note to editors:
The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee featuring NECP evidence begins at 11.30am on Tuesday 29 April in Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminster.

North East Culture Partnership: Background and achievements 
The North East Culture Partnership (NECP) enables the region's cultural organisations to work strategically with local authorities and business to develop the cultural agenda for the North East. Our partnership is ambitious about what culture can bring to communities and how it can create distinctiveness. In a time of change and economic challenge the NECP is campaigning for new funding and more regional influence over funding decisions as an important part of the region's development.

Our Board of 24 includes elected members from each North East local authority as well as leaders from universities, arts and heritage organisations and business. NECP is supported within Association of North East Councils.

North East Culture Partnership is:

  • Developing 15 year vision for culture in the North East.
  • Providing advocacy for culture with LEPs and strategic brokerage around EU funding.
  • Working with NE business to develop 100 artists residencies.
  • Linking festival offer through a new festivals website.
  • Coordinating five universities support for creative SMEs.

In many ways NECP is taking on the strategy and development role left by Arts Council following their 50% staff reduction in 2013 and their move away from having regional governance to a North Area council.

NECP is working at a time of unprecedented local authority cuts which has seen a drastic reduction in the number of arts and heritage officers as well as challenging cuts to venues, events and libraries. Despite this the 12 local authorities, five universities and business sector continue to recognise the value of culture and the positive contribution it makes to the North East economy and communities.