Agenda item

Culture Review: What it is, Impact in terms of Place / Economy and Engaging with Young People


The Chair welcomed County Councillor Peter Buckley, Cabinet Member for Communities and Cultural Services, County Councillor Ash Sutcliffe, Lead Member for Cultural Services and Skills, Andy Walker, Head of Service Business Growth, Steve Lloyd, Head of Cultural Services, and Heather Fox, Cultural Development Manager, to the meeting.


A presentation was provided on REMADE: Cultural Investment Strategy for Lancashire and covered how the strategy would facilitate the remaking and recognition of culture to deliver Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s vision for Lancashire through its main priority areas, desired outcomes, and economic growth dimension.


A report and presentation were also provided to the committee detailing the role of culture and its impact and presented the draft Cultural Strategy Services Strategy 2024 – 28 which expanded on these themes. The report highlighted the reviews to the existing strategy and a refresh to inform the direction of the service for the next four years to deliver better outcomes for the people of Lancashire.


The committee thanked the officers for the detailed report and presentations, copies of which are attached to the minutes.


Comments and queries raised from the committee were as follows:


·  The committee requested more detail surrounding the profiles of the eighteen existing National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) within Lancashire, and how the county council has previously been successful in attracting funding, so that the number of NPOs continue to grow at a successful rate, and further support could be given to organisations approaching the end of their four-year funding cycle. The members were informed how the portfolio status gave organisations more security than one off funding applications and work was being done to improve organisational development and delivery to increase organisations interested in bidding, including collaborative training between NPOs to enable groups to reach higher levels of national funding.


·  The committee requested further insight into the relationship between the location of NPOs within Lancashire and where funding was coming from.


·  The committee raised the issue of many local cultural assets and events occurring within the county which were often not picked up at a wider level, it was felt it was important to tap into local knowledge of cultural events, and councillors could support this by sharing local knowledge.


·  A concern was raised regarding individual organisations not having the upfront capital to pay for consultancy surrounding sponsorship opportunities that in turn could drastically increase their outreach and fundraising. It was therefore queried whether the council could provide a package support to help cover the cost of events and leverage sponsorships in.


·  The committee queried the role of the third sector when engaging with local communities, cultural diversity and fostering inclusion. As a result, it was encouraged that funding strategies poured effort into bottom-up engagement with communities and building the capacity of voluntary and third-sector organisations to facilitate wider outreach across Lancashire. In response to the queries, members were informed that while it was a work in progress, efforts were ongoing to reach grassroot-level activities and uncover organisations in localities.


·  The committee discussed the need for connectivity within the county, utilising culture to share diversity. It was highlighted that various areas across Lancashire may not have the knowledge and experience of different cultures and their celebrations and therefore requested that work should be done to raise the community's awareness of diversity profiles within the county. It was highlighted that the Lancashire 2050 Framework and the proposals within the CCA Authority under the Cultural and Tourism section encapsulated these concerns around pan Lancashire working. it was noted that the Cultural, Physical and Activities Network (CPAN) was also in place across the districts trying to bring everything together. 


·  The relationship between cultural events and the retail and hospitality industries was discussed and the committee recommended that, because of their significant economic output, a directory of festivals across the county should be publicised.


·  The committee queried over the specific example of Preston Guild Hall and its recent closure. Concerns were raised over losing citizen and tourist footfall to larger cities like Manchester and Liverpool, and the overall decline of culture in the area. In response to the concerns, members were advised that while the officers worked with Preston City Council closely, it was ultimately under their jurisdiction.


The Chair thanked the Cabinet Member and officers for answering the committee's questions.


Resolved: That the following recommendations be shared with the Cabinet Member for Communities and Cultural Services and where possible, be used to inform the draft Cultural Services Strategy for 2024 - 2028:


  i.  Consideration be given to how the county council can further support, grow, and work with our National Portfolio Organisation holders that exist in Lancashire to attract even more funding including a breakdown of the rubric contained in the ACE Create IT Strategy Document.


  ii.  A piece of work to take place to understand the footprint of where NPO organisations are located within Lancashire and whether they are eligible for National Lottery Heritage Funding, National Lottery Community Funds and Sports England at a district level. 


  iii.  Examination of individual District Local Plans / Core Strategy documents produced by districts to better understand their cultural strategies.


  iv.  Information to be provided on the role of advocacy organisations the county council works with such as Arts Lancashire, Digital Lancashire, Lancashire Cultural Network and Visit Lancashire.


  v.  Development of a Directory of Festivals in Lancashire to be considered and regard be given to how significant events and festivals are shared wider in Lancashire. Consideration be given to a package of support to be provided for events where sponsorship can be leveraged in. 


  vi.  Consideration be given to the role of culture as part of the Corporate Cohesion Strategy and Workforce Equalities Strategy update which is due to be presented to the committee in May 24.


  vii.  Refer the report provided to the committee to Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee for them to review the report in terms of the updates provided on Education and Skills.


 viii.  Officers to revisit a series of reports produced and commissioned since 2012 including The Work Foundation on The Creative Economy in Lancashire and the LCC Scrutiny Task Group Report – Towards a Stronger Sense of Place.


  ix.  A further report to come back to the committee in November 2024 to update the committee on how work is progressing.


Supporting documents: