National Consultations and Policy Update

Culture is Digital Strategy to Unlock Potential of Culture Sector

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has published a report setting out a framework for how culture and technology can work together to increase participation and boost the capability of cultural organisations.

The publication of the report represents the first time Government has looked at how the culture and digital sectors can work together to maximise the creative potential of technology and help bring cultural organisations of every size into the digital age. Museums, galleries, theatres and heritage organisations will be given access to cutting-edge technology and digital skills training to help them reach new and diverse audiences.

Culture is Digital showcases innovative projects in the creative sector, highlighting ground-breaking collaborations between cultural and digital pioneers. At its core are 12 policy commitments, which are supported by three policy priorities, namely: digital infrastructure for culture; innovation; and collaboration and partnerships, in order to drive a Digital Culture Future Strategy and exploit international opportunities.

Some of the 12 policy commitments outlined in the report are as follows:

  • Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund will invest more than £2 million to build the digital capacity of their sectors
  • The National Gallery will create an Innovation Lab to examine how museums and cultural organisations can use immersive media, such as virtual and augmented reality, to enhance visitors’ experiences
  • The Royal Opera House will create an Audience Lab, which will work with diverse talent to create content using emerging technologies and develop cross-sector collaborations

The report is the first of its kind and is a call to action to practitioners and organisations across the cultural and tech sectors. Commenting on the report, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock said:

‘Our Culture Is Digital report sets out how culture and technology can collaborate, learn from one another and keep innovating. By embracing new technologies and attracting more diverse audiences, we will continue to cement our status as a creative powerhouse in the digital age.’ Click here to read more.

Government Consults on Revised National Planning Policy Framework

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is consulting on the draft text of a revised National Planning Policy Framework and on new policy proposals. The Framework was first introduced in 2012. It brought together around 1,000 pages of planning policy and guidance into a single document. Critically, and in line with the Government’s housing ambitions, it established a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’.

The draft new National Planning Policy Framework builds on the first Framework and subject to this consultation, the Government intends to publish a final Framework before the summer.

It will focus on the following areas:

  • Greater responsibility – Local authorities will have a new housing delivery test focused on driving up the numbers of homes actually delivered in their area, rather than numbers planned for. Developers will also be held to account for delivering the commitments, including affordable housing and the infrastructure needed to support communities.
  • Maximising the use of land – More freedom will be given to local authorities to make the most of existing brownfield land to build homes that maximise density. Redundant land will be encouraged such as underutilised retail or industrial space for homes, with more flexibilities given to extend upwards on existing blocks of flats and houses as well as shops and offices.
  • Maintaining strong protections for the environment – Ensuring developments result in a net gain to the environment where possible and increases the protection given to ancient woodland so they are not lost for future generations.
  • Ensuring the right homes are built – Delivering more affordable homes that meet the housing needs of everyone wherever they are in their life, including sites dedicated for first time buyers, build to rent homes with family friendly tenancies, guaranteed affordable homes for key workers and adapted homes for older people.
  • Higher quality and design – Introducing new quality standards so well designed new homes are built in places people are proud to live in and live next door to.
  • More transparent planning process – Local authorities will be encouraged to work together and continue to close the gap between planning permissions granted and homes built. A new standardised approach to assessing housing need will be introduced with new measures to make the system of developer contributions clearer, simpler and more robust, so developers understand what’s expected of them and will be in no doubt that councils will hold them to their commitments.

The consultation is open to everyone with the Government keen to hear from a wide range of interested parties from across the public and private sectors, as well as from the general public. Comments on any potential impacts under the Public Sector Equality Duty are also welcomed.

Housing Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:

“An entire generation is being locked out of a broken housing market as prices and rents race ahead of supply. Reforming the planning system is the crucial next step to building the homes the country needs.

“This government is determined to fix the broken housing market and restore the dream of home ownership for a new generation. There is no silver bullet to this problem but we’re re-writing the rules on planning so we can take action on all fronts.

“In moving to a more integrated society, the focus for everyone, whether a developer or a neighbourhood group, must be to come together to build the homes our communities deserve.”

The deadline for responses is 10 May 2018. Click here for more information.

Government Seeks Views on Draft Domestic Abuse Bill and £20m in Funding

The Prime Minister, Home Secretary and the Justice Secretary have launched a consultation on domestic abuse, seeking new laws and stronger powers to protect and support survivors as well as how to allocate some of the £20 million funding for domestic abuse services that was announced a year ago.

Charities and organisations working on the frontline are encouraged to take part in the consultation and ‘feed in their expertise’.

The Government is also seeking views on the following funding:

  • £8 million to support children who witness domestic abuse and help with their recovery through locally commissioned projects.
  • £2 million to support female offenders who have been victims, as over 60% have indicated they have experienced domestic abuse.
  • £2 million to extend a healthcare pathfinder pilot across further hospital trusts and help direct domestic abuse victims to the full range of services they need.

In addition, the Government has indicated its commitment to developing a sustainable funding model for refuge and is reviewing the way in which refuges and supported housing are delivered.

Commenting as she launched the consultation on International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“We know that domestic abuse affects those from all walks of life. Victims can be young and old, male and female, and I hope as many people as possible will come forward to give us their views and share their experiences, as we seek to put an end to this abhorrent crime for good.”

Chief Executive of Refuge, the national domestic violence charity, Sandra Horley said:

“It is very welcome news that the government has announced its commitment to sustainable refuge funding alongside the launch of the consultation.”

The consultation can be found on the Ministry of Justice website. There is a short version and a longer version.

The consultation runs from 8 March to 31 May 2018. Click here for more information.

Government Consults on Civil Society Strategy

Civil society has changed significantly in recent years, with growing numbers of profit making businesses set up primarily to do good, adding to the efforts of traditional not-for-profit charities, community groups and youth organisations. At the same time, businesses are increasingly looking to do more to make a positive contribution to society. The boundaries between sectors are blurring and new actors and social movements are emerging.

The Government believes the potential for cross sector partnerships, collaborations and collective problem solving has never been stronger. The planned Civil Society Strategy will help shape the Government’s work with and for civil society in England over the next ten years and beyond. It is intended to support policy across government, in its efforts to tackle loneliness, build integrated communities and drive social mobility.

This Call for Evidence is intended to make sure that civil society is at the heart of government efforts to create a better and fairer society. The Government is seeking to preserve and strengthen the best of civil society and create new partnerships that harness the knowledge, skills and experiences, as well as innovative approaches across sectors to improve and enrich lives.

Views are sought in the following areas:

  • Supporting people – including young people – to play an active role in building a stronger society.
  • Unlocking the full potential of the private and public sectors to support social good.
  • Helping improve communities to make them better places to live and work in.
  • Building stronger public services.

The Government acknowledges that despite being ambitious about what can be achieved now and in the longer term, it must also be realistic about continuing financial and legislative challenges and pressures. Therefore, bold ideas are welcomed but within the context of these pressures.

The closing date for responses is 22 May 2018 (9am). Click here for more information.

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