Greenwich Council

Agenda item

Culture and Creative Industries and Community Well-being - Progress against key priorities

To update Members on the progress made against the key priorities for the Cabinet Members portfolio, as well as in relation to other key and significant projects within the scope of the portfolio.

Minutes:

The panel was The panel was addressed by the Cabinet Member for Culture, Creative industries and community Well-Being who gave an introduction into the purpose of the report. She confirmed that the priorities set by Cabinet was driven mainly by the Cultural Quarter and the Fairness Commission, the aims of which were to identify key issues in Housing, Education, Employment, Health and Finance. She stated that local community groups, members of the voluntary sector and the general public were consulted in an engagement process that included 5 workshops with experts in one or more of the themes. She added that the commissioners were excited to work with the Royal Borough of Greenwich having worked on different fairness commissions in the past and were positive about the borough as a whole.

 

In response to Panel Member’s questions on inequality and fairness issues, relating to the protected groups in the Borough, the Assistant Director of Community and Culture Services confirmed that the key issues where discussed and debated in the commissioner led panels which included experts in their respective fields. She gave the example of Baroness Lawrence who was an equalities activist and confirmed that the fairness commission report goes into detail on this topic. She confirmed she would provide Members with a copy.

Action: AD CCS

 

The Assistant Director confirmed that there were 61 recommendations on the Fairness Commission report which had been approved by Cabinet. She stated that some of the recommendations had been implemented and there was a need for further spend to action some of the others when identified. With regards to the financing she stated that some resources and investment were already in place while the rest would need to be financed by lobbying central government and initiating new partnerships. She also confirmed that would be a working party led by Councillor Lekau which would be developing an action plan that would feed into the Anti-Poverty Strategy and expected this to be completed by 2020 with the delivery of some recommendations starting as soon as possible.

 

The Panel noted that there were currently a number of voluntary groups in the Borough who are making strong contributions to the community but struggling financially. They stated that these organisations should receive more support and investment as part of the Fairness Commission and Anti-Poverty Strategy.

 

In response to questions on the Woolwich Creative District the Assistant Director confirmed that the since the project was agreed at the March Cabinet the focus had been on the procurement process leading to the appointment of a design team. She stated that there had been an extensive feasibility study which took the project to the Royal Institute of British Architects(RIBA) stages 1&2. She confirmed that the next stage was to appoint a full design team for which there were 96 expressions of interest which were reviewed by the project team involving members of the Capital Projects Team, Consultants, The Director of Communities & Environment and herself. Further that 8 of the companies had been shortlisted using a full tender brief that covered everything from design to cost and when the appointment is finalised this will take the project to RIBA stages 3&4.

 

In response to Panel Member questions on the public consultations carried out the Assistant Director confirmed they were initiated at the Great Get Together and the Greenwich Dockland International Festival events where the public were shown the buildings that had been acquired and examples of what they could be used for. She added that the public were asked to give initial feedback, make comments and asked to complete surveys online. She commented that this project and consultation was used to support the Destination Management Plan and Tourism Agenda.

 

The Panel requested a copy of the questionnaire and outcomes of the consultations for the Woolwich Creative District.

Action: AD CCS

 

With regards to the design of the district the Assistant Director stated that the design team will carry out further engagement with cultural groups, the general public and other partners including the Arts Council England, to discuss any issues and concerns about the final plans. She added that there was a project team managing the development, focusing on the build and financing and that there would be a phased hand over period leading to the establishment of a Trust that will manage the site. She added that the Trust would ensure that the Council’s aims are met in that the district benefits the local residents and that young people have access to arts and employment opportunities. She confirmed that there will be 2 elected councillors on the board . Service Level Agreements with resident companies  will  include local engagement and participation.

 

In response to questions from the Panel the Assistant Director stated that there will be varied lease arrangements depending on service delivery, the value of community engagement and that the final decision on levels of rent will be made by the appointed Trust. She also confirmed that the cost of the project cannot go over the budget agreed through the tender process.

 

The panel stated that they support the Woolwich Creative District initiative but needed reassurances that members of the local community would not be alienated. They stated that there is a need to have community figures on the board.

 

The Chair concluded that the committee needed to be robust in scrutinising this project in future meetings and requested a site visit.

                                                                                            Action - SCO

 

In response to questions from the Panel relating to the Performing Arts Hub the Assistant Director confirmed that the funding came from the priority investment programme of which £5m was allocated to Borough Halls. She also confirmed that Royal Borough of Greenwich had entered into an agreement with  Sell a Door Theatre Company, who were carrying out feasibility into redeveloping the site with the intention of making a a significant capital contribution..

 

The panel agreed that £400,000 spent to repair the Greenwich Theatre was a worthwhile investment as it is the only theatre in South East London and served the community well.

 

In response to questions on The Tall Ships 2017 Festival the Assistant Director commented on the difficulties faced in securing sponsorship. The reasons for which included the event not being well-established with a recognisable brandand many of the major sponsors already committing to other events. She confirmed the 9% of the cost of the event was paid for through sponsorship which almost met the target of 10%. She also added there was a lot of data collected between 2014-17 which should make it easier to secure sponsorships in the future.

 

The Panel asked for clarification on the attendance figures of the Tall Ships Festival.

Action: AD CCS

 

With regards to the voluntary sector the Cabinet Member agreed with the Panel that community centres were being used to deliver the council’s front line agenda on areas such as health and well-being and community cohesion. She stated that some were less accessible than others however still provided a valued service. She added that the social cost of the closure of f these centres would have a knock on effect on other areas of the Council.

 

The panel asked for clarification on the size of the Centre/Halls and what they offer in the voluntary Sector.

Action: AD CCS

 

In response to questions on the Voluntary and Community Support Strategy the Assistant Director confirmed that it was still a draft document and would be finalised for the September Cabinet Meeting. She advised the Panel Members to submit any comments they have on the Strategy to her by September.

 

In relation to Visit Greenwich and the Destination Management plan the Assistant Director confirmed that as part of the Cultural Destination Fund a new strategy was being implemented to make Woolwich a destination in its own right within 3 years. She stated that Visit Greenwich was also aiming to increase the dispersal of visitors across the Borough from areas like the O2 and Greenwich to Eltham, Abbey Wood and Woolwich. She added that a number of activities were currently being introduced including bus tours and mentioned the new visitor maps which promote the rest of the borough.

 

The Chair thanked the Cabinet Member and the Assistant Director.

 

Resolved –

The Panel noted the progress made against the key priorities for the Culture, Creative Industries and Community Well-being portfolio.

addressed by the Cabinet Member for Culture, Creative industries and community Well-Being who gave an introduction into the purpose of the report. She confirmed that the priorities set by Cabinet was driven mainly by the Cultural Quarter and the Fairness Commission, the aims of which were to identify key issues in Housing, Education, Employment, Health and Finance. She stated that local community groups, members of the voluntary sector and the general public were consulted in an engagement process that included 5 workshops with experts in one or more of the themes. She added that the commissioners were excited to work with the Royal Borough of Greenwich having worked on different fairness commissions in the past and were positive about the borough as a whole.

 

In response to Panel Member’s questions on inequality and fairness issues, relating to the protected groups in the Borough, the Assistant Director of Community and Culture Services confirmed that the key issues where discussed and debated in the commissioner led panels which included experts in their respective fields. She gave the example of Baroness Lawrence who was an equalities activist and confirmed that the fairness commission report goes into detail on this topic. She confirmed she would provide Members with a copy.

Action: AD CCS

 

The Assistant Director confirmed that there were 61 recommendations on the Fairness Commission report which had been approved by Cabinet. She stated that some of the recommendations had been implemented and there was a need for further spend to action some of the others when identified. With regards to the financing she stated that some resources and investment were already in place while the rest would need to be financed by lobbying central government and initiating new partnerships. She also confirmed that would be a working party led by Councillor Lekau which would be developing an action plan that would feed into the Anti-Poverty Strategy and expected this to be completed by 2020 with the delivery of some recommendations starting as soon as possible.

 

The Panel noted that there were currently a number of voluntary groups in the Borough who are making strong contributions to the community but struggling financially. They stated that these organisations should receive more support and investment as part of the Fairness Commission and Anti-Poverty Strategy.

 

In response to questions on the Woolwich Creative District the Assistant Director confirmed that the since the project was agreed at the March Cabinet the focus had been on the procurement process leading to the appointment of a design team. She stated that there had been an extensive feasibility study which took the project to the Royal Institute of British Architects(RIBA) stages 1&2. She confirmed that the next stage was to appoint a full design team for which there were 96 expressions of interest which were reviewed by the project team involving members of the Capital Projects Team, Consultants, The Director of Communities & Environment and herself. Further that 8 of the companies had been shortlisted using a full tender brief that covered everything from design to cost and when the appointment is finalised this will take the project to RIBA stages 3&4.

 

In response to Panel Member questions on the public consultations carried out the Assistant Director confirmed they were initiated at the Great Get Together and the Greenwich Dockland International Festival events where the public were shown the buildings that had been acquired and examples of what they could be used for. She added that the public were asked to give initial feedback, make comments and asked to complete surveys online. She commented that this project and consultation was used to support the Destination Management Plan and Tourism Agenda.

 

The Panel requested a copy of the questionnaire and outcomes of the consultations for the Woolwich Creative District.

Action: AD CCS

 

With regards to the design of the district the Assistant Director stated that the design team will carry out further engagement with cultural groups, the general public and other partners including the Arts Council England, to discuss any issues and concerns about the final plans. She added that there was a project team managing the development, focusing on the build and financing and that there would be a phased hand over period leading to the establishment of a Trust that will manage the site. She added that the Trust would ensure that the Council’s aims are met in that the district benefits the local residents and that young people have access to arts and employment opportunities. She confirmed that there will be 2 elected councillors on the board . Service Level Agreements with resident companies  will  include local engagement and participation.

 

In response to questions from the Panel the Assistant Director stated that there will be varied lease arrangements depending on service delivery, the value of community engagement and that the final decision on levels of rent will be made by the appointed Trust. She also confirmed that the cost of the project cannot go over the budget agreed through the tender process.

 

The panel stated that they support the Woolwich Creative District initiative but needed reassurances that members of the local community would not be alienated. They stated that there is a need to have community figures on the board.

 

The Chair concluded that the committee needed to be robust in scrutinising this project in future meetings and requested a site visit.

                                                                                            Action - SCO

 

In response to questions from the Panel relating to the Performing Arts Hub the Assistant Director confirmed that the funding came from the priority investment programme of which £5m was allocated to Borough Halls. She also confirmed that Royal Borough of Greenwich had entered into an agreement with  Sell a Door Theatre Company, who were carrying out feasibility into redeveloping the site with the intention of making a a significant capital contribution..

 

The panel agreed that £400,000 spent to repair the Greenwich Theatre was a worthwhile investment as it is the only theatre in South East London and served the community well.

 

In response to questions on The Tall Ships 2017 Festival the Assistant Director commented on the difficulties faced in securing sponsorship. The reasons for which included the event not being well-established with a recognisable brandand many of the major sponsors already committing to other events. She confirmed the 9% of the cost of the event was paid for through sponsorship which almost met the target of 10%. She also added there was a lot of data collected between 2014-17 which should make it easier to secure sponsorships in the future.

 

The Panel asked for clarification on the attendance figures of the Tall Ships Festival.

Action: AD CCS

 

With regards to the voluntary sector the Cabinet Member agreed with the Panel that community centres were being used to deliver the council’s front line agenda on areas such as health and well-being and community cohesion. She stated that some were less accessible than others however still provided a valued service. She added that the social cost of the closure of f these centres would have a knock on effect on other areas of the Council.

 

The panel asked for clarification on the size of the Centre/Halls and what they offer in the voluntary Sector.

Action: AD CCS

 

In response to questions on the Voluntary and Community Support Strategy the Assistant Director confirmed that it was still a draft document and would be finalised for the September Cabinet Meeting. She advised the Panel Members to submit any comments they have on the Strategy to her by September.

 

In relation to Visit Greenwich and the Destination Management plan the Assistant Director confirmed that as part of the Cultural Destination Fund a new strategy was being implemented to make Woolwich a destination in its own right within 3 years. She stated that Visit Greenwich was also aiming to increase the dispersal of visitors across the Borough from areas like the O2 and Greenwich to Eltham, Abbey Wood and Woolwich. She added that a number of activities were currently being introduced including bus tours and mentioned the new visitor maps which promote the rest of the borough.

 

The Chair thanked the Cabinet Member and the Assistant Director.

 

Resolved –

The Panel noted the progress made against the key priorities for the Culture, Creative Industries and Community Well-being portfolio.

 

Supporting documents: