DCAL Budget Meeting - Key Asks

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Following a consultation meeting with officials from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure we have collated the six key asks expressed at the meeting, alongside tips from the Department on what to include in consultation responses.

Six key asks

Contracts that have already been given out for specific lengths of time should be honoured by the Department. This is viewed as committed expenditure by organisations in receipt of it and people have been employed on contracts on the basis of this funding continued.

Focusing on grant funding for reduced funding has a disproportionate impact on the voluntary and community sector. Further, passing the same level of cut through all levels of DCAL, and their arms-length bodies makes no judgement of or reflection on the impact of programmes that will be affected by reduced funding. In the same manner simply not further funding projects that are coming to an end anyway does not take account of their value or impact.

Directing activities towards those that generate income is not always or often an option for arts and sporting organisations as putting a price on participation runs contrary to the stated aims of DCAL in promoting equality and targeting social exclusion.

Arts and sporting organisations and events play a much bigger role other than that which exists within the DCAL remit, for example the big businesses the Executive are seeking to attract to Northern Ireland via a reduction in corporation tax will not invest in areas that are cultural wastelands lacking in cultural and sporting activities and events.

Pound for pound the arts sector in Northern Ireland creates more jobs than Enterprise, Trade and Investment, yet it receives just 13p per person per week in funding whilst the DETI budget receives a 5% increase to its budget.

The Department should look internally at where it can make efficiencies, particularly ensuring work is not doubled up. For example, with waterways.

Key points from the Department

The Department stated they were particularly keen to receive responses which:

  • Gave an understanding of impact of a reduction in funding to an organisation and their programmes/projects – both on the organisation and service users
  • In particular response should focus on the ability to tackle promoting equality and tackling social inclusion (PETSI). Consultation needs to hear impact stories of how arts and leisure are fundamental to this work.
  • Highlight the value of activity in responses
  • Don’t just respond to DCAL, rather inform other Departments of how arts and leisure help fulfil their commitments too.

DCAL officials will take responses analyse them, recurring themes and important issues will be fed back through to the Executive via the Minister during discussions when finalising the draft budget in January.

The deadline for responses to the draft budget for 2015-16 is 29th December.

You can access further details on the DCAL draft budget here.

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