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October 2014 Policy Brief

This brief picks up on policy issues in October


In business and education…

On audience participation


Measuring the Craft Economy

We’re delighted to launch our new report, Measuring the Craft Economy, which gives the fullest picture to date of the value and scale of craft’s contribution to the UK economy.

The findings in this report build on proposals set out in the Crafts Council’s 2013 series of reports Defining and Measuring Craft.  This report measures the contribution of craft not only within craft industries, but also across the creative industries and wider economy.  The craft economy generates nearly £3.4bn for the UK economy, accounting for 0.3% of UK GVA, as the chart below sets out.

The report includes data on micro businesses operating below the VAT/PAYE threshold, which are not yet represented in DCMS estimates, alongside figures on employment, wages and the number of business.

The figures in this report mean there can be no further doubt about the significance of makers and their craft skills to our economy. We will continue to work with DCMS and other bodies to ensure that full estimates of craft’s value are reflected in future Government figures.

Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, said:

“The UK’s Creative Industries are a veritable powerhouse and contribute more than £8 million an hour to the national economy. This report highlights the key role that craft plays in this remarkable success story, and demonstrates the huge range of occupations through which craft skills are contributing to the phenomenal growth of the creative industries.”

Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill: factsheets published

The Business, Innovation and Skills department has published an updated series of factsheets providing detailed information on aspects of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. The ‘access to finance’ factsheets explain the main purpose and benefits of the new legislation and set out some of the intended improvements to payment and finance systems.

Intellectual property recommendations

Mike Weatherley MP, Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister, has published Copyright Education and Awareness a discussion paper.  Recommendations include how to improve the coordination of IP awareness programmes and incorporating IP education in the school curriculum.

Science and Innovation Strategy

The Government will produce a Science and Innovation Strategy to coincide with the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement 2014 on 3 December. The objective of the strategy is to secure economic growth and high quality jobs for the UK through investment in science and innovation.

Asking “What should the scale and scope of the UK Science and Innovation system by 2020 be?”  the strategy will highlight and build on the UK’s strengths in research excellence, higher education institutions and business environment.

Why business should support British arts and culture

Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of Arts Council England, outlines three reasons why business should support arts and culture. Writing in the newspaper City A.M., he draws on the economic output of the creative industries, the needs of cities and the role of ‘Brand Britain’.

Hiive - the new professional networking site

A new professional networking site called Hiive has been launched by Creative Skillset. It’s a digital community of collaborators from the creative industries all across the UK. Hiive allows professionals, employers and educators to tap into the UK’s collective industry insight.

Heritage culture as a driver of economic activity

Androulla Vassiliou, Member of European Commission for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth gave a speech to the September EU Presidency conference on how the heritage sector should move with the times, making heritage more 'people-centred' and turning it into a driver of economic activity. She proposed that heritage sites become centres of knowledge and innovation, focal points of creativity and culture and places of community interaction and social integration. 

Parents back a baccalaureate at 18, technical degrees and better careers advice.

A new survey of parents of teenagers commissioned by the Edge Foundation shows that three quarters of parents want young people to get a 'baccalaureate' style certificate at 18 summing up their achievements in both academic and practical subjects. 70% of parents also support Technical Degrees for people who want to combine academic study and 'hands on' work.

Parents are more supportive of practical learning than they have been in the past and there has been a 10% increase in the number of parents who feel that vocational learning often leads to a good career (47% in 2008 - 56% in 2014).

Primary Futures launches

Primary Futures was launched on 15 October. A partnership between Inspiring the Future (a campaign of the Education and Employers charity) and the National Association of Head Teachers (which represents almost all primary head teachers), the aim is to raise educational standards by widening the horizons and aspirations of primary school children. Primary Futures finds volunteers from all professions who agree to be approached by local schools to talk about their current job and how reading and numeracy helped them to get there.

Ofqual makes changes to vocational qualification regulation

Ofqual, the body which maintains standards and confidence in qualifications, have announced that from 3 November 2014 they will no longer require all qualifications to be accredited before they are regulated. Instead, a new General Condition of Recognition will require awarding organisations to take responsibility for putting qualifications on Ofqual's Register. However, accreditation will still be a requirement for A levels and GCSEs and Ofqual may also re-impose an accreditation requirement for a particular qualification or awarding body as a sanction, or for a new awarding body, for example.

Taking part participation findings

  • The latest Taking Part 2014/15 quarter 1 statistical release from DCMS reveals very slight changes in adult attendance and participation in the arts:
  • Between July 2013 and June 2014, 77.5% of adults had attended or participated in the arts in the previous year, a similar rate to 2005/06 (when the survey began) and 2012/13 (the last full year). The first quarter data for 14/15 shows a drop of 0.5%.
  • 19.9% participated in craft in 12/13, compared to 19.5% in the previous year and 16.9% in 08/09 when the survey started.
  • 54.8% bought art, crafts or books in 12/13, up from 52.3% in 11/12 and from 45.7% in 08/09.

Audience engagement in arts and heritage

James McQuaid, a visitor experience consultant and Clore Fellow Arts, outlines how heritage organisations must radically change their approach to audiences if they are to remain relevant. Writing in the Guardian’s Culture Professionals Network, he describes the traps organisations fall into.

Regional funding differences

A new report from GPS Culture on Arts Council investment, Hard Facts to Swallow, highlights imbalances in funding between London and rest of the country. The report highlights the levels of funding London organisations receive. In response to the report, Arts Council England notes that ‘the authors used postcode analysis to determine where our money is invested in their previous reports and this remains the case here. This analysis doesn’t recognise the impact that many organisations have outside of their postcode. Many National portfolio organisations serve audiences nationally and maintain one administrative address, such as Birmingham Royal Ballet, Artichoke and the RSC.

Creating artists’ workspace in London

The Greater London Authority has published The Artists’ Workspace Study and Creating Artists' Workspace Case Studies. The studies draw on surveys of workspaces and are intended to establish an accurate current picture of affordable studio provision for artists in London.