The Government of New Labour (1997-2010) was committed to ensuring greater coordination between government departments and between tiers of governance to ensure effective delivery of policy. This related both to cultural matters and to cross-cutting issues such as social exclusion (e.g. areas of poverty and deprivation, disaffected young people, ethnic minority groups). Thus, there was the emergence of a more integrated system (in England at least), which enabled central government policy priorities to be pursued more directly at local and regional level. However, this unravelled following the abolition of the Regional Cultural Consortia that were set up in England to develop integrated cultural strategies and ensure that culture has a strong voice in regional development, and the decision by the New Coalition Government elected in 2010 to abolish the Regional Development Agencies and the Regional Government Offices.
Nevertheless, in recent years there appears to have been greater recognition of the necessity for more collaboration between Government departments, local authorities, sector-specific bodies, cultural agencies and the need to develop cross-governmental strategies involving health, education, communities, crime prevention, etc. This is being driven by different factors such as greater acknowledgement by the Arts Councils of potential fruitful linkages between culture and other areas and an appreciation that partnerships with arts/cultural ‘actors’ can extend the impact of cultural projects. The importance of ‘joined-up’ approaches is also increasingly recognized by politicians, not least because of the considerable pressure on public funds in areas such as health, education and local communities. This has been especially evident in relation to wellbeing, e.g. the All-Parliamentary Group report Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing of 2017 recommended that the Secretaries of State of DCMS, Health, Education and Communities & Local Government should develop a cross-governmental strategy to support the delivery of health and wellbeing through arts and culture (see chapter 2.7.). The following year a cross-governmental strategy on loneliness was launched that factors in social prescribing by the medical profession of arts and culture to address the issue and the DCMS brief is to include tackling the problem through its areas of responsibility (see chapter 2.7.)
A programme to establish systematic engagement between creative organisations and academics has been piloted. Building on an initiative developed in London, the Cultural Capital Exchange has led a pilot programme to establish a national network of partnerships between creative organisations and higher education institutions to share best practice and lessons learnt from projects.
Arts Council Wales has a partnership with the broadcaster BBC Cymru Wales and the Welsh language TV channel S4C, which has enabled new opportunities to develop and promote creative talent. One initiative, Horizons-Gerwelion, jointly funded by ACW and BBC Cymru Wales, sought to grow new musical talent by providing a platform for contemporary music at live broadcast events across Wales in 2014/15.
Collaborative research between the Arts Councils in England and Republic of Ireland, Creative England, the European Centre for Creative Economy in Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany, the European Cultural Foundation and the European Creative Business Network in the Netherlands examined the ‘spill over’ effects of culture and the creative industries. The focus of the study was an analysis of surveys, case studies and literature from 17 European countries that revealed the broader impact cultural projects subsequently had on places, society and the economy. By also reviewing the methodologies employed in the impact studies, the analysis, by Tom Fleming Creative Consultants, sought to produce an evidence base with guidance for future research.
The project Living Places involved ACE, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, English Heritage and Sport England. Working with local authorities and developers, it aims to ensure all communities, particularly those facing housing-led growth and regeneration, have access to good quality cultural and sporting opportunities as a fundamental part of community provision (see chapter 2.7.).