Regional Workshop held for Local Authority Cultural Managers

10 July 2006

Over 50 senior Local Authority cultural managers attended a very successful workshop on 4th July at the JJB Stadium in Wigan. The event was organised by Government Office North West, in conjunction with the 3 DCMS core-funded Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) in the region – MLA North West, Sport England North West and Arts Council England, North West, together with Culture North West and English Heritage.

Regional Commentaries - The new Regional Commentaries process was discussed, with presentations from Roger Stratton-Smith (DCMS) and Brian King (IDeA).

Regional Commentaries are, initially, for single tier or County Councils. They aim to encourage closer working between the Local Authorities, the Regional Agencies, Government Offices and, through those, improving links with national government.

For Local Authority Cultural Services, they represent an opportunity to:

  • Build better relationships with Regional Agencies and Government Office, and between cultural agencies within their area
  • Increase understanding of their local views, successes and challenges
  • Pilot new self-assessment techniques
  • Raise the profile of Culture within the Local Authority

The process, in brief, is that cultural services are encouraged to assess their own performance, using the Regional Commentaries Benchmark. This can be supplemented by other self-assessment tools, particularly:

Regional Agencies also provide their views and the final Benchmark document is then agreed by all parties and submitted to DCMS

Local Area Agreements - Local Area Agreements set out the priorities for a local area agreed between central government and a local area (the local authority and Local Strategic Partnership) and other key partners at the local level.

Experience with the Authorities who have undertaken the process in Rounds 1 and 2 indicates that museums, libraries and archives can find it difficult to raise their profile. The event was targeted at those Authorities currently negotiating their Agreements in the current Round 3:

Bury Cheshire Cumbria
Halton Liverpool Rochdale
Salford Sefton Tameside
Trafford Warrington

The issues, and opportunities, were thoroughly discussed, giving the NDPBs a better steer on the kinds of support around evidence and advocacy they could usefully provide.

For a general statement on the role of museums, libraries and archives in Local Area Agreements, see the attached document, The role of museums, libraries and archives in Local Area Agreements.

Related Links:

For further details on Local Area Agreements, see 

For further details on the initiative, and copies of the Guidance and Benchmark documents, see the IDeA web site at: 
Related Documents:

How MLA North West will work with Local Authorities
MLANWandLocalAuthorities.pdf (24 KB)  

The role of museums, libraries and archives in Local Area Agreements
LAAsCommunitiesneedMLAs.pdf (40 KB)  

For further information, please contact Chris Chadwick, Head of Development
T: 01925625 053

Alan Boughey, Libraries Development Officer
T: 01925-625063

MLA North West
Ground Floor, The Malt Building, Wilderspool Park, Greenalls Avenue, Warrington WA4 6HL
Tel: 01925 625050 | Fax: 01925 243453