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Local Authorities: Culture

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has issued to local authorities on the production of local cultural strategies; and whether such strategies are submitted to her Department. (200298)

Councils are no longer required to produce or submit free-standing local cultural strategies. Instead they are expected to subsume planning for the longer-term cultural priorities for their area within their broader Sustainable Community Strategy. This approach is in line with a wider process of devolving greater freedoms to councils—in part by reducing the number of statutory plans they were required to produce.

Guidance on how best to achieve this expectation was issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in June 2004 entitled “Leading the good life: guidance on integrating cultural and community strategies”.

Guidance on Sustainable Community Strategies was first issued in 2000. This has since been updated in draft form as part of a broader package of guidance also covering, for example, Local Strategic Partnerships and Local Area Agreements. This guidance, entitled “Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities”, was issued in draft on 30 November 2007. Following a public consultation on this guidance which closed on 12 February we will be issuing the final guidance this summer. This guidance states that

‘The purpose of a Sustainable Community Strategy is to set the overall strategic direction and long-term vision for the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of a local area’

(see paragraph 3.1). Sustainable Community Strategies continue to be required to be produced by local councils but are not submitted to the Government.