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August/September 2014 Policy Brief

This brief picks up on policy issues in both August and September


In arts, culture, and creative industries:

Arts Council England publishes an evidence review on equality and diversity
Farrell Review calls for more arts involvement in the built environment
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics considers the relationship between wellbeing and arts and cultural policy
Arts Development UK surveys Local Authority arts investment
DCMS publishes blog on the Crafts Council’s innovation programme
Labour launched its Arts Alliance

In careers, education and skills:

Welsh National Plan for Creative Learning is announced
Apprenticeships are increasingly popular as alternatives to university
Head teachers have put forward proposals for new league tables
The National Careers Council recommends changes to careers advice provision
A progress report on the response to the Wolf review of vocational education is published
UKCES releases a suite of five new reports on the labour market and skills
OECD publishes data on educational mobility

In business:

Harvard Business Review looks at how technologies impact trade in handmade goods
NESTA looks at the impact of mentoring on creative businesses
NESTA maps the UK collaborative economy
The RSA reports a growth in self-employment
A new manifesto for self-employment is launched

Equality and diversity within the arts and cultural sector in England

Consilium Research and Consultancy was commissioned by Arts Council England to undertake a wide-ranging review of current and past evidence about equality and diversity within the arts and cultural sector in England. The findings show that two of the most important factors influencing whether somebody attends or participates in arts and cultural activities are educational attainment and socio-economic background.

Farrell Review calls for more arts involvement in architecture and the built environment

The Government commissioned Farrell Review recommends that:

"Arts Council England and the Crafts Council could research and reinforce the role of artists and the arts in contributing to the planning, design and animation of our public realm and architecture. The arts and artists are well placed to creatively engage individuals and communities and give voice to their sense of place, their concerns, and their aspirations for the areas they live, work and play in."

Arts Professional have written an article on this recommendation and included the response from the Crafts Council which points to how our research evidence supports the recommendation.

Wellbeing and arts and culture

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics has published its first report, Wellbeing in four policy areas’. Its findings include evidence that experiencing arts and culture impacts on key drivers of wellbeing, such as health. The report recommends that DCMS, and the arts sector more generally, should use wellbeing analysis to help make the case for arts and cultural spending.

Local authority arts funding

Arts Development UK’s latest Local Authority Arts Investment Survey Report reveals that while the local authority sector has stayed relatively stable over the past two years, spending on the arts is falling. 136 of 375 local authorities in England and Wales are now without a dedicated arts officer or arts service. However, collaborative working is improving and more local authorities are receiving funding from alternative sources, such as European funding, business sector grants and philanthropy.

Crafts Council innovation programme on DCMS blog

A guest blog on the DCMS site by Annie Warburton, the Crafts Council Creative Programmes Director, explains how our Innovation Programme will drive collaborative innovation and creativity.

Launch of Labour Arts Alliance

Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman MP launched Labour Arts Alliance at the Labour Party’s conference in Manchester last week. It makes the case for the arts by:

  • developing a national network of people in the arts and creative industries
  • facilitating the sharing of objectives and best practice
  • devising a strategy for the growth of the sector
  • contributing policy ideas for the 2015 manifesto and beyond

Welsh National Plan for Creative Learning

Welsh Culture Minister John Griffiths has released a statement on the development of the Welsh National Plan for Creative Learning.  Estyn, the education and training inspectorate for Wales, will conduct a best practice review of the arts in schools at key stages 2, 3 and 4.

Apprenticeships 'increasingly attractive to middle-classes'

The Daily Telegraph reports the comments of Skills Minister, Nick Boles, that rising numbers of middle-class teenagers are considering on-the-job training courses because university is no longer seen as the only way to “get ahead” in life.

League tables

The BBC reports that head teachers in England have put forward plans to publish their own school league tables this autumn. These would be separate from the official performance data published by the government, which is currently used to generate school rankings. Head teachers want to include more information about schools than exam results, such as music and sport. Such a proposal might enable participation in creative subjects to be reflected more effectively.

The proposals for alternative league tables, to be published on a free website, are being put forward by the Association of School and College Leaders, the National Association of Head Teachers and the United Learning group, which runs academies and independent schools.

National Careers Council recommends more action to support careers provision

Taking action: Achieving a culture change in careers provision, a new report from the government advisory body the National Careers Council, recommends that national and local infra-structures need to help strengthen young people’s and adults’ understanding of  the world beyond schooling.

Not enough action has been taken towards achieving a genuinely relevant all-age careers system, with better support needed for parents and teachers.

Progress report on implementing the Wolf report on vocational education

Professor Alison Wolf’s 2011 review of vocational education made recommendations to improve vocational education for 14- to 19-year-olds. The government published its formal response to the Wolf review in May 2011. This progress report provides an update against the recommendations.

New UKCES skills reports

UKCES has recently published a suite of five interesting reports entitled, ‘The labour market story’ - an overviewskills for the futureskills use at workthe state of UK skills and the UK following recession. The reports show that future skills demand will be shaped by technical change, trade liberalisation and demographic change. They also underline the importance of an adequate supply of skills for innovation.

Education at a Glance 2014; new OECD figures

Access to education continues to expand worldwide but the socio-economic divisions between tertiary-educated adults and the rest of society are growing, according to new figures from the OECD. Education at a Glance 2014 says that educational mobility has started to slow down in the industrialised world. The number of people with lower qualifications than their parents is 9% among 55-64 year-olds to 12% among 35-44 year-olds and 16% among 25-34 year-olds.

How the internet saved handmade goods

A guest blog on the Harvard Business Reviews reports on how the trade in handmade goods is happening because of innovative disruptive technologies, not in spite of them.

Impact of mentoring: How creative businesses have benefited

A new report from Nesta looks at the impact of mentoring on a group of creative businesses participating in the Nesta’s Creative Business Mentor Network. The Creative Business Mentor Network was set up to provide mentors for creative firms with growth ambitions and to encourage the take-up of volunteer mentoring right across the creative sector. Findings showed a net additional increase in turnover across the 25 participating businesses of £1.3m directly attributable to mentoring.

Nesta maps UK collaborative economy

Twenty five per cent of the UK took part in the collaborative economy in the last year, by exchanging goods or services online, according to new research published by Nesta and the Collaborative Lab. The collaborative economy is defined as using digital technologies to connect groups of people to make better use of goods, services and skills. The report reviews the state of the UK’s collaborate economy, profiling those that participate in it and the ways in which they do so.

New RSA report on self-employment

The number of people in part-time self-employment has increased by almost 65 per cent since 2000, compared to a 20 per cent growth in full-time self-employment according to the RSA report Breaking the Mould. The report analyses the characteristics of people selling on Etsy, many of whom exemplify a new breed of part-time entrepreneur. It recommends that a new tier of business support is created for part-time business owners.

New manifesto in support of self-employed people

Britain’s Secret Weapon: Unleashing Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed in the New Economy is a manifesto from the association for Independent Professionals and the Self Employed. The manifesto calls on all political parties to support the 4.5m people in Britain whom they have identified as self-employed.

In addition, a recent survey by Step, GTI Media and the NUS of 900 students about recent recruitment trends has summarised the views and opinions of students and smaller businesses across the UK in this infographic. 77% of undergraduates thought they would receive responsibility earlier and grow more if working for a small business.