Weak culture body needs more muscle
A lack of funding and resources are seriously undermining the London Cultural Consortium’s (LCC) potential to influence and promote arts, heritage and sports in the capital, a London Assembly report says today1.
So far, the LCC has proved to be merely a ‘talking shop’, making little progress with its objectives, the report reveals.
The Assembly’s Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee believes the consortium would be more effective if it was independent of the Mayor’s Office with appropriate staffing, support and resources to carry out its work.
The body, which is chaired by former Culture Secretary Lord Chris Smith, has a membership that includes the South Bank Centre, Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, National Portrait Gallery, poet Ben Okri and Sport England.
It brings together the arts, sports, heritage, tourism and creative industries to promote and influence cultural events and generate funding. However, unlike all other regional consortiums, which receive £215,000 a year from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, London’s body receives no Government funding.
The review says being an adjunct of the Mayor’s office is reducing the LCC’s effectiveness in overseeing Ken Livingstone’s Culture Strategy, and is also limiting its potential to be an independent voice for the capital’s cultural sector.
Consortium members told the Committee that the body is vital for sharing information but even they admitted its full potential had yet to be realised. They said it could do more to attract funding to the creative sector and reach out to organisations outside its own membership.
The Royal Academy of Arts said, “We are not aware of the consortium, or what has been achieved in the first year”. A number of other contributors to the Committee’s review, including the Barbican Arts Centre and British Museum, agreed. They also thought the LCC should have a higher profile.
To improve, the Committee believes the consortium must properly pursue actions raised during its meetings, conduct research to fill gaps identified by its members and publish useful advice or guidelines to assist those groups it is supposed to influence.
Dee Doocey, Chair of the Committee, said: “London is unrivalled as a world cultural capital. But a disparate range of public bodies governs the culture scene and we do not always promote activities well. The London Cultural Consortium needs adequate resources, more independence and greater clarity to achieve these objectives. We don’t need heavy-handed bureaucracy but we do need better co-ordination and promotion in this area.“