CSR briefing with DCAL
Edgar Jardine, Deputy Secretary, was joined by Deborah Brown, Director of Corporate Services and Michael O’Dowd, Head of Finance Branch. Michael O’Dowd presented an overview of the current situation faced by the Department. Edgar Jardine then outlined DCAL’s role within the wider government agenda. Edgar highlighted how DCAL has significant inputs into the economy through cultural tourism and creative industries, education through STEM initiatives and Creative Learning Centres, health through sport and social inclusion and equality through Shared Future and community cohesion. Edgar concluded his presentation by outlining some funding to the voluntary and community sector;
- Sports Council: spend of £9m in current budget and £22m in capital budget (09/10)
- Arts Council: spend of £15m in current budget and £13m in capital budget (09/10)
- Language Body: spend of £6m in current budget (09/10)
Deborah Brown from the Department then outlined some of the spending proposals and savings allocations from the Department. Deborah said the Department assumed that over the four years it would have a flat cash settlement with a number of further adjustments at a local level that would reduce this and this would result in a budget of;
Opening baseline of £109.57m
- 2011/12, a reduction of £5.2m
- 2012/13, a reduction of £4.23m (£9.43m cum)
- 2013/14, a reduction of £4.72m (£14.15m cum)
- 2014/15, a reduction of £4.72m (£18.87 cum)
The presentation concluded by saying that funding for the voluntary and community sector would be inevitably affected, but the Department is open to hear how funding can be protected.
Seamus McAleavey opened the event to questions. One of the first questions from the floor was on employment within the creative industries sector. Edgar Jardine highlighted how there are 36,000 jobs based round this sector and how there is huge potential to develop further if there is investment. A comment was made though that the sector falls under the radar of Invest NI.
The audience engaged with the panel and a number of discussions arose on successes funded through the Department like W5 which is funded by DCAL but can be seen as a educational resource. Sports NI was highlighted as an organisation that plays a big role in getting people healthy.
When discussing funding UK wide Edgar Jardine talked about how funding for the arts in Northern Ireland is below the UK average. Scotland was also highlighted as a good example after the Scottish Government agreed to protect arts funding.
As the discussion moved on some examples were given where the voluntary and community sector could help for example, instead of closing libraries, arts organisations could run local arts groups from the buildings.
On Section 75, the panel all agreed that section 75 groups are at the forefront of their thinking and any assessment will include the impact on Section 75 groups.
In conclusion Seamus thanked the Department representatives for their presentation, a copy of which is available for download, below.