Agenda and minutes

Culture, Tourism & Sport Board - Wednesday, 20th January, 2021 1.00 pm

Venue: Online via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Emma West  Email: /

No. Item


Welcome, apologies and substitutes, declarations of interest and terms of reference


The Chairman welcomed Members, officers, and guests to the meeting.


Apologies had been received from Cllr Claire Coghill and Cllr Dhanisha Patel.


Cllr David Jeffels and Cllr Karen Rampton attended the meeting as observers.


No declarations of interest had been received.



Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 283 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2020 were agreed as an accurate record.



Public Library Service Accreditation pdf icon PDF 245 KB


The Chairman invited Isobel Hunter, Chief Executive of Libraries Connected, and Lauren Lucas, Adviser, to introduce the report.


Lauren introduced the which outlined the progress made to date on the Public Libraries Service Accreditation project and research findings. Board Members had previously determined that the LGA should sit on the Public Libraries Accreditation Board as an observer, rather than a full member. This was because of concerns raised by Lead Members and other Members of the CTS Board about the potential for library ‘standards’ to conflict with the LGA’s position on the importance of sector-led improvement. Now that the shape of the project is more defined and in keeping with sector-led approaches, the LGA had again been invited to become a full member of the group.


Isobel thanked Lauren for her dedication as an observer on the board and excellent contribution to the discussion representing the LGA’s point of view and local government perspective. She stated that the Public Library Service Accreditation project was funded by Arts Council England and focused on English Public libraries. She explained the first and second phases of the project (consultation phase and design phase), what the phases had and would include and how the scheme might interact with LGA’s improvement contract with Arts Council England, referring specifically to the well-received, effective peer review challenges.


Members made the following comments:


  • How will this happen? Will all authorities bid and request the accreditation, or would it be spot-checked?


  • If we are holding a national standard of accreditation of libraries, it is a very positive step forward. I have found that some authorities prefer quantity over quality, quality is very important.


  • We’re moving into a difficult area for libraries. The Conservative group are fully supportive of this project.


  • Section 5 of the report refers to the monitoring of community need and digital policy. What work is being undertaken to ensure that children with limited access to I.T equipment are supported?


  • With regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, to what extent is this framework being adapted to reflect the changing priorities that libraries have had over the last year?


  • The feedback that one has been getting from professional libraries has been really positive. From my peer challenge experience and being heavily involved in putting forward various peer challenge exercises, what is clear is that this business of qualitive as well as quantitative assessment is very much welcomed and has been well-received. Can I suggest that we explore in depth the way in which the new qualitative assessment, its endorsement and new relationship could bring additionality to our investment into the library services that we currently run?


Isobel responded to the comments made by Members:


  • There are 150 library services in England, one of the critical things to work out is what the incentive is for the scheme. We can learn valuable lessons from the archive and museum schemes and the incentivisation of services, the roll-out would be a phased-approach.



Communications and Public Affairs pdf icon PDF 706 KB

Paper to follow.



The Chairman invited Sonika Sidhu, Principal Policy Adviser, and Hannah Berry, Head of Campaigns and Digital Communications, to introduce the report.


Sonika introduced the report which responded to Members’ requests to further understand the reach and impact of the lobbying and communications work undertaken on behalf of the Board. The report outlined the significant areas of lobbying and communications work undertaken in 2020 to support the sectors response to COVID-19.


Sonika announced that David Holdstock had taken up a secondment role as Head of Communications at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Hannah Berry and Lee Bruce were acting up in his substantive role.


Hannah referred to the positive work that had been undertaken recently within Digital Communications and the impact that working collaboratively with policy colleagues to directly influence funding decisions and announcements had had. In terms of next steps, the Campaigns and Digital Communications team continued to work with colleagues across the organisation to monitor activity and prioritisation of messages.


Members made the following comments:


  • This is an excellent report, it’s great to see the results as well as the output. With reference to the letters that were sent to Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP in 2020 regarding the future survival of leisure services and the recovery plan for the culture and tourism sectors, what have the responses been, if any? We need to start holding government accountable.


  • Whilst it is imperative that we continue to share best practice and information, one of the key roles as a lobbying body is cross-party local government. We need to stress the challenges that we face in local government as decision-makers and we need to deploy who is speaking to ministers. We must lobby harder than we are and use the influences and connections that we’ve got.


  • The report is very impressive with a great range of activities highlighted. However, there should be more information within the report with regards to impact, perhaps there is a need to undertake more work in digital. We need to work through our political channels, perhaps through shadow ministers as well as with ministers to strengthen impact and strengthen the involvement in relation to emotional and mental health and wellbeing.


  • The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as cuts to funding has meant that many providers that deliver services are soon going to be wiped out, if they haven’t already. Local government is a major funder in this country, and we need to highlight the critical difficulties that are happening within our communities and then lobby everyone that we can, especially government.


  • This sector has enormous importance to the future health, wellbeing, and good governance of this country. Leisure, sport and culture is going to be vital to the COVID-19 recovery phase and to tackle some of the mental health issues that are arising both in adults and children.


Both the Chairman and Sonika reassured Members that a meeting would take place in early February between the LGA’s Chairman and CTS Lead  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pdf icon PDF 296 KB

Paper to follow.


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


Ian introduced the report which outlined the LGA’s commitment to further embed equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principles into practice. Key commitments included a selection of key information sources and EDI-related work in the CTS area. Ian added that the LGA had appointed Equalities Champions to each Board, Cllr Julian German had taken on the role on the CTS Board.


The Chairman invited Cllr Julian German, as the Board’s Equalities Champion, to speak.


Cllr German stated that there were three key EDI-related areas in which the Board could add value:


1.           Sharing best practice

2.           Leadership

3.           Through commissions (e.g.: Arts Council England, Sport England)


Members made the following comments:


  • There is a vastly unequal representation across this sector in leadership, participants, access, and ability to participate in debate on issues which cut across our agenda. There have been a lot of battles recently regarding statues and reinterpretation of some of our English heritage, it’s important that we look to modernise, without erasing history. With reference to Robert Jenrick’s recent article related to British statues, it is vital that we address issues of this nature properly and involve everybody in such conversations going forward.


  • I fully endorse this and support Cllr German’s 3-point EDI plan, it is a very helpful and straight-forward direction of travel.


  • It would be useful for future EDI reports to focus more closely on the diversity.


  • We need to work together as a Board to identify specific groups within our communities that our services need to connect with and reach out to.


The Chairman suggested that officers raise concerns with the LGA’s media team, and planning and cohesion colleagues, in preparation for lobbying work around the statues-related legislation.




Members noted the report.




Officers to raise concerns with media team, and planning and cohesion colleagues, in preparation for lobbying work around the legislation.


Officers to include an ‘Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion’ section in all future board reports.



A Shared Vision for the future of Public Leisure Services pdf icon PDF 276 KB


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


Samantha introduced the report which outlined the work being undertaken in partnership with the Association for Public Sector Excellent (APSE) and the Culture and Leisure Officers Association (CLOA) to develop a shared vision for what the future of public leisure services could look like.


The Chairman stated that Public Leisure Services were at significant risk as cuts to local government funding continued. He emphasised the importance of informal activity and sport such as walking through gardens, fields, seaside promenades etc.


Members made the following comments:


  • It would be good to incorporate community cohesion into the report because all of these facilities do enable communities to get together and interact with one another.


  • In relation to the financial impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on leisure providers, could we perhaps get some figures so that people understand the enormity that the cuts have had to local government?


  • We need to continue to lobby on the funding for the here and now for these services as well as look to the future.


  • Leisure services percolate down into the health and wellbeing of the nation and this is something that should be a priority. We need to focus more closely on health and wellbeing, and informal activities that can encourage people to walk, get exercise, lengthen their lives, and improve their quality of life.


Samantha responded to the comments made by Members:


  • In relation to lobbying government and the timescales, we’re in the process of finalising the survey which is due to go out shortly after the LGA’s Reimagining Public Leisure Services conference. The survey will inform further stakeholder engagement activities. We anticipate having some preliminary findings in the next couple of months. We are also working with our Parliamentary Affairs team on the House of Lords Committee enquiry regarding the National Sport and Recreation plan.




Members noted the report.




Officers to submit a further update to the next Board meeting.



Tourism Levy pdf icon PDF 134 KB


The Chairman invited Ian Leete to introduce the report.


Ian stated that Board members had requested an update on work to secure the power for local government to introduce a local tourism levy. The decision to introduce a tourism levy was an executive decision, made in 2017. The discussions which had taken place at CTS Board meetings since the decision was taken had focused on what the narrative and the selling point was for the levy.


Members made the following comments:



  • It is important that we continue to think about what else we can be doing as Members and as a Board to support the tourism industry. We should be lobbying government for more support financially for the industry as a whole and focusing on recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed and the impact that the pandemic has had on businesses.


  • In relation to VAT, we should do all that we can as a Board to persuade government to either low the present rate or continue the present rate of 5%.


  • In terms of UK tourism and British people going to holidays within the UK, greeting them with an additional levy this coming summer is not a sensible idea in terms of economic recovery.


  • We continue to have an underfunded tourism sector and unfortunately do not have the public money that we need and the flexibility to put money where it’s needed.


  • As the COVID-19 pandemic passes, we must support economies and businesses because there are a lot of different facets to tourism, and if we aren’t careful, we could drive people away and lose people who will migrate to holiday destinations outside of the country. We need to give businesses the chance to survive.




It was agreed unanimously by Members of the Board that the introduction of a local tourism levy should be put on hold until COVID-19 and EU Exit-related uncertainties became clearer.



Evaluation of Leadership Essentials pdf icon PDF 233 KB


The Chairman invited Lauren Lucas and Samantha Ramanah to introduce the report.


Lauren introduced the report which outlined the actions that the Culture, Tourism and Sport Team were undertaking to evaluate Leadership Essentials aspects. Samantha provided an update in relation to Sport England.


Members made the following comments:


  • A mixed delivery model blending online and face to face is a good way forward for the future. The value of face-to-face interactions as well as space and time for informal discussions and reflections is valuable.




Members noted the report.



LGA Culture and Tourism Conference 2021 pdf icon PDF 227 KB


The Chairman invited Lauren Lucas to introduce the report.


Lauren introduced the report and provided an update on planning of the Culture and Tourism conference 2021. The Board had previously agreed that in light of the restrictions associated with COVID-19, the event would take place in the form of online webinars over the course of three days. The topic would be the role of culture, tourism and sport in supporting a national recovery. The 1, 2 and 3 March 2021 had been identified for the events. Board members were invited to note initial plans for the webinars and confirmed speakers and to hold the proposed dates in their diaries.


The Chairman agreed to chair the tourism webinar and Cllr Peter Golds agreed to chair the sport webinar.


Lauren confirmed that Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, was no longer able to attend the webinars but would send a pre-recorded message to be played in her absence.




Members noted the report.



Any other business