Agenda and minutes

Culture, Tourism & Sport Board - Wednesday, 9th December, 2020 1.00 pm

Venue: Smith Square 1&2, Ground Floor, 18 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HZ. View directions

Contact: Thomas French  020 7664 3041 / Email:

No. Item


Welcome, apologies and declarations of interest


The Chair welcomed members to the meeting.


Apologies were received from Cllr Jacqueline Burnett.


There were no declarations of interest.



Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 256 KB


·       Cllr German stated that, in his view, the minutes did not reflect the urgency that was expressed at the meeting about the crisis in the leisure industry. It was agreed that Cllrs German, Hollis and Nicholson would amend the wording to reflect this.

·       Cllr German also raised his concerns about the impact of the Government’s proposed planning reforms on cultural buildings. Members agreed that a letter should be drafted by way of a formal submission to MHCLG from the Board.



·       Subject to the comments above, the minutes of the meeting held on 23 September 2020 were agreed.


·       Cllrs German, Hollis and Nicholson to reword minutes of the previous meeting to reflect urgency of leisure industry discussion.

·       Officers to draft letter to MHCLG on planning reforms.



Cultural Cities Enquiry

Paul Bristow, Arts Council England, and Chris Murray, Core Cities, to attend


The Chair invited Paul Bristow, Chair of Arts Council England (ACE), and Will Mapplebeck, Core Cities, to introduce their report.


Paul reminded members of the initial independent expert Enquiry into realising the potential of culture in cities which had reported in 2019 and explained that, in the light of Covid-19, it had been decided to reconvene the Enquiry to take an urgent look at how investment in culture could contribute to the recovery effort. This second Enquiry focussed both on the immediate challenges for the sector and also longer-term recovery prospects. It also took a wider geographical perspective. Will added that the Enquiry Board included a broad range of experts in the sector and the CTS Board was represented by Cllrs Coghill and German. He had met with the Minister, Caroline Dinenage MP, to discuss the report and further parliamentary engagement was planned.


Paul briefly outlined the main recommendations from the report:

1.     Greater integration of, and support for, Cultural Compacts;

2.     Fiscal reform to stimulate cultural enterprises;

3.     Transforming employment opportunities in the sector including adjusting the Apprenticeship Levy rules;

4.     Incentivising new business models;

5.     Providing small-scale capital funding to repurpose local facilities;

6.     Ensuring planning reforms support culture-led recovery.

Following the introduction, members raised the following points:

·       Concern was expressed that the report was too urban-centric and that the needs of rural and coastal communities were not being addressed. The cultural compact model was not considered to be so suitable for rural areas. As a member of the Enquiry Board, Cllr German said that this report did aim to look at the needs of the wider ‘place’, not just cities, and suggested that the report title be changed to reflect this.

·       How would towns and cities be prioritised for investment in new cultural compacts given the proposed 100 limit? At what level would the compacts operate and could other measures – e.g. ticket subsidies - be more widely spread?

·       Lobbying Government for the next Spending Review needs to begin now. The cultural sector has the potential to help drive recovery and levelling up as well as employment opportunities, particularly for younger people. The LGA needs to help demonstrate this to Government.

·       Members felt it was important that the report didn’t now gather dust and that it is circulated as widely as possible. £80 million investment over 4 years was not considered to be sufficient to address all the issues and so it would need to be demonstrated clearly how areas had benefitted from it in order to argue for additional funding.

·       Had any progress been made in forming a network of cultural compacts?

·       It was suggested that the Board needed to make a decision on next steps for taking forward a Tourism Levy.

Paul and Will gave the following responses:

·       The report’s findings applied to all areas, not just urban ones, although the majority of the country’s cultural assets are located in urban areas. The benefits of these need to be shared across wider areas  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


£100 million for public leisure pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Kevin Mills, Sport England, and James Wurr, Department for Culture, Media & Sport, to attend.


The meeting entered confidential session.


The Chair invited Kevin Mills, Director of Capital Investment at Sport England, and James Wurr, Head of Sports Participation at DCMS to introduce the report.


James explained that the Government had announced in October an allocation of £100m of ring-fenced funding to support public sector leisure services hit by the Covid pandemic. This funding was lower than Sport England and partners had identified as being necessary to sustain the sector longer term, but should help to keep core services open and save jobs. 2,265 centres had been identified as provided by outsourced providers and were expected to be eligible for the fund. More work will be done over the coming months to make the case to the Treasury for further funding.


Kevin outlined the details of the fund and the bidding process that had been worked up with DCMS and MHCLG. This was now awaiting sign-off from the Treasury which had unfortunately delayed the process. This would now be challenging to complete prior to Christmas and Sport England were preparing to extend the deadline for bids in a way that wouldn’t disadvantage those local authorities in most urgent need of funding.


Following the presentation, members raised the following points:

·       Concern was expressed about the delay to the bidding process and the potential damage this could do at a time when councils were going through their budget setting processes. Greater certainty was needed very soon.

·       Whilst members welcomed the £100m funding, they queried whether it would be enough to secure the longer-term future of the public leisure sector.

·       Would the money go directly to the councils that provide the service rather than a higher tier?

·       Would factors such as deprivation and health be used in the allocation of funding? There are particular financial pressures around some centres in the heart of BAME communities.

·       What type of costs could the funding be used to cover?

·       Concern was expressed that hard-pressed local authority staff would have to draw up funding bids over the Christmas period and deadlines could potentially be missed. Were local authorities aware that this bidding process would soon be launched so they could start doing preparatory work now?


James and Kevin gave the following responses:

·       Realistically, it was looking as though the deadline would have to be extended into January. However, assessment panels that had already been set up for early in the new year would not be moved, in order to help councils who were desperately in need of funding.

·       DCMS were realistic that the £100m would not be sufficient to secure the sector longer-term. It was vital that all stakeholders continued to lobby Government about the scale of the problem.

·       The money would be paid out directly to the councils that provide the service.

·       The money could be used for operational costs incurred between 1 December 2020 and 31 March 2021.

·       The bidding criteria was designed to achieve an equitable distribution of funding across the country to aid the national recovery. It would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Spending Review 2020 pdf icon PDF 226 KB


The Chair invited Ian Leete, Senior Adviser, to introduce the report.


Ian invited members to comment on the culture, tourism and sport aspects of the Government’s recent Spending Review and whether there was anything that emerged which the LGA should be lobbying on.


Members expressed concern about aspects of the size and distribution of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and in particular, asked for the LGA to lobby for the money to come to local authorities rather than Local Enterprise Partnerships.



·       Culture, Tourism & Sport Board noted the report.




LGA Culture and Tourism Conference 2021 pdf icon PDF 227 KB


The Chair invited Lauren Lucas, Adviser, to introduce the report.


Lauren reported that the online conference would take place from 1-3rd March with one day dedicated to each part of the CTS portfolio. The overall theme would be the contribution of CTS to the national recovery and the outline agenda for each of the days was laid out in the report. Invites to ministers would be issued following the Board’s sign off of the programme. The award ceremony for Hearts for the Arts would also be held during the conference week.


Members raised the following points:

·       The specific badging of each separate day was supported.

·       The importance of having diverse, gender-balanced panels was emphasised as well as offering a diverse range of case studies.

·       Cllr Black offered to invite the Greater Manchester Mayor to address one of the sessions.

·       It was agreed that Cllrs German, Coghill and Gold should each chair one of the 3 days.



·       Culture, Tourism & Sport Board agreed the proposed format and content for the conference.




Parliamentary engagement and media pdf icon PDF 150 KB


The Chair invited Laura Johnson, Public Affairs Support Officer, to introduce the report.


Laura briefly updated members on the LGA’s lobbying and communications work on culture, tourism and sport since the previous Board meeting. She flagged up the Chair’s forthcoming appearance to give evidence before the House of Lords Committee on the National Plan for Sport and Recreation.


Members pointed out that at the last Board meeting it had been agreed to include information on reach and impact of the LGA’s work, but that this was not in the current report.


It was agreed that officers should give consideration to what the most useful information would be for members to receive and to present this to the next Board meeting in January, to which David Holdstock, the LGA’s Head of Communications, would be invited.



·       Culture, Tourism & Sport Board noted the update.



Improvement update pdf icon PDF 289 KB


The Chair invited Maria Collinge, Project Support Officer, to introduce the report.


Maria outlined the improvement activity delivered by the LGA through the Sport England and Arts Council England funding awards up until March 2021. A full report would be brought to the next meeting of the Board.


Maria invited members views on two particular issues:

·       Early conversations were taking place with Sport England about a leadership training programme for elected members. Were there any particular issues and skills that members would like to see included?

·       Ideas about how the under-representation of BAME communities in leadership positions in the sport and culture sectors could be addressed through the LGA’s programmes.


Members requested further information about the outcomes delivered through the LGA’s leadership programmes. Maria agreed to speak to members offline about this.



·       Culture, Tourism & Sport Board noted the report.



Outside Bodies

Verbal update


Ian Leete, Senior Adviser, invited members to provide feedback from any outside body meetings they had attended since the previous Board meeting.


·       The Chair thanked Cllr Jeffels for circulating his report from the Coastal Special Interest Group meeting.

·       The Chair reported that he had attended a meeting of the Tourism Alliance.

·       Cllr Henry reported that the London Marathon Charitable Trust had recently restructured its relationship with London Marathon Events Ltd.

·       Cllr German reported that he had been appointed by the political group offices as the Board’s Equalities Advocate.

·       Ian reported that DEFRA were keen to have an LGA representative on the National Landscapes Review panel. Cllr Nicholson volunteered to take on the role.



·       Culture, Tourism & Sport Board noted the outside body updates and agreed that Cllr Nicholson be appointed as the LGA representative on the National Landscapes Review panel.



Leisure Under Lockdown pdf icon PDF 195 KB


The Chair invited Ian Leete, Senior Adviser, to introduce the report.


Ian presented the LGA’s Leisure in Lockdown report for the Board’s information.



·       Culture, Tourism & Sport Board noted the report.



·       Officers to circulate to members by e-mail the short ‘Culture and Leisure Services Under Lockdown’ video.



Financial Impact of Covid-19 on Park Services pdf icon PDF 299 KB


The Chair invited Samantha Ramanah, Adviser, to introduce the report.


Samantha highlighted the set of 6 case studies, funded by the LGA and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which demonstrated the serious financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on council park services. On the positive side, they illustrated the innovative collaboration and use of data that councils have employed to tackle inequality in their areas. The case studies would be used to continue to lobby Government for extra support for park services.


Members welcomed the case studies which helped to demonstrate just how important local parks have been to residents during the pandemic.



·       Culture, Tourism & Sport Board noted the report and case studies.



·       Officers to circulate to members by e-mail the Parks Fit for the Future video.



Any other business


·       Cllr Black asked if the LGA could lobby Government about allowing councils to open local art galleries and museums under Covid restrictions as she considered they were not as high a risk as some other facilities that had been allowed to open. Ian Leete said that the LGA has a place on the DCMS Museums Working Group and officers would raise this issue again. The Chair offered to raise the issue with the Minister.