This essay will define UK Local Authorities and arts and entertainment, looking at current activity from 2, Local Authorities; Sheffield City Council and Waltham Forest Council. The essay will also discuss reasons why Local Authorities participate in arts and entertainment provision. I have chosen Sheffield and Waltham Forest as I have lived in both areas.During 2007-2008, Arts Council England will be spending 1.6 billion of public money (up to 1.
8 billion in 2010-2011, HM Treasury, 2007)) from Government and the National Lottery on supporting the art development in England. This money is available to all arts and entertainment companies, although many do not apply due to the time consuming, usually difficult process in applying for funding.Only 26% of companies actually receive any benefit at all as when applying the event must satisfy certain criteria which is usually set to them by Local Government, who base their policy on Arts Council England policies and agenda for 2006-08; who in turn base their policies on the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS, policies shown below), and finally Central Government.- Taking part in the arts- Children and young people- The creative economy- Vibrant communities- Internationalism- Celebrating diversity(Arts Council, 2006)As you will notice later in this essay, specific Local Authorities policies are very similar to those that are listed above.
There are a total of 410 Local Authorities of England and Wales which “employs over 2 million people and it is estimated that each Local Authority carries out over 700 different functions.” (Local Government Association, 2006). UK Local Authorities primary objective is “endeavor to achieve the best outcomes for the local community having regard to the long term and cumulative effects of decisions.” In seeking to achieve its primary objective, a Council must have regard to the following facilitating objectives:(a) Promote the social, economic and environmental viability and sustainability of the municipal district;(b) Ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively and services are provided in accordance with the Best Value Principles to best meet the needs of the local community;(c) Improve the overall quality of life of people in the local community;(d) Promote appropriate business and employment opportunities;(e) Ensure that services and facilities provided by the Council are accessible and equitable;(f) Ensure the equitable imposition of rates and charges;(g) Ensure transparency and accountability in Council decision-making.(Local Government Charter, 1989).There is no current legislation for providing provision for the arts, although as this essay demonstrates, by making funding available can help satisfy the above objectives.The majority of Local Councils have an Arts Development team, which is responsible for coordinating grant funding, activities, projects and events across the county.
The programme is managed in conjunction with a range of partners including Arts Council England and the district councils. Brownlee (2007) states, “Alongside Arts Council England, Local Council is the most significant investor in the arts in this country”.Arts Council England works with Local Authorities, as support is essential to gaining funding and in many cases the delivery of arts provision. The partnership focuses upon three areas;1. Strategic engagement that supports mutual aims with targeted resources in priority places2.
Ongoing support for networking, guidance on funding, information provision etc for all authorities in the region3. Activity targeted at improvement in the context of the Local Government performance management framework(Brownlee, 2007, p. 1)Brownlee (2007) records that funding is not the only provision local authorities provide. The Arts Council England (2003) have developed 4 priorities on which they will work with Local Government in the coming years. By providing support and working closely with the arts can;1. Boost a creative economy2. Promote healthy communities3. Create a sense of community in local neighbourhoods4.
Engage young people.Arts and Entertainment, is described by the Economic Census (1997) as including a “wide range of establishments that operate facilities or provide services to meet varied cultural, entertainment, and recreational interests of their patrons”. Arts and Entertainment falls within the Creative Industry Sector, which is the fastest growing source of new jobs in 2006.This industry sector accounts for 7.9% of the UK’s GDP (gross domestic product – a way of measuring the national economy). Examples of companies that are in the arts and entertainment industry are; local amateur dramatic societies, museums and galleries.
There are different classifications for arts and entertainment, with libraries and formal arts teaching being included by some Local Authorities and not others.Waltham Forest Local Council (2006, p. 4) believes that “the arts make all the difference to how we feel, and the quality of our lives; taking part can improve physical health as well as mental well-being”. For this very reason, Waltham Forest Council have adopted a number of strategies to improve local arts and entertainment provisions.
With the use of primary research allows them to “find out what customers want from cultural services” (2006, p. 6). The techniques used were wide range including surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, public meetings and face-to-face interviews.
Detailed analysed information foresaw a number of problems:- One of the top concerns for children and young people is the lack of amenities.- There is a need to involve disabled people in existing events and activities and within existing arts organisations rather than providing disabled specific activities.- Not enough use is made of Morris’ cultural heritage as a resource in arts and citizenship education.- Improvements should be made at the Changing Room Gallery, the borough’s gallery used for exhibitions by local artists.- There is a need for additional exhibition space at other borough venues.
– There is an untapped resource in the number, diversity and quality of local visual artists.- Expanded exhibition opportunities could be afforded by temporary installations in buildings and open spaces.- The attraction of artists of national and international repute to exhibit in the borough was felt to be essential to raising the general profile of visual artists in the borough.- The cost of hire where community arts organisations had limited funding had prevented the development of a sustained programme.
– There was a lack of signage to help visitors find venues.- The provision of technical support in the form of in house Public address system and adequate lighting is essential for influencing organisations to use the facility as a venue for their activities.- The need for a cinema in the borough providing opportunities for art house and new filmmakers screenings.- Access to existing or new resources for supporting local film making at subsidised rates.
– Highlight the borough’s film making heritage including that of Alfred Hitchcock.Waltham Forest Council (2006, p.6)Waltham Forest Council have taken these views and survey results into consideration when developing their key objectives (which are in line with Arts Council, DCMS and Central Government policy):- Develop the creative skills of young people- Make a positive contribution to social cohesion and celebrating cultural diversity- Increase the opportunities for participation of disabled and senior citizens- Develop the capacity and quality of voluntary sector arts providers- Increase awareness of local cultural heritage through creative practiceFrom these objective outcomes, a number of key actions were detailed for the next 3 years; 2006-2009. Types of support that Waltham Forest Offered were;- Funded exhibitions- Ensure a high Council-wide presence at all key events- Work in partnership with Mela committee to secure external funding and sponsorship for cultural industries- Ensure an appropriate allocation of funds go to the disables, senior citizens and young people- Build an open air licensed theatre performance space- Provide training in arts and events management to 20 individuals annually- Deliver advice and fundraising assistance to 60 community and arts organisations annually