A number of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) 55 public bodies are set to be merged, abolished or streamlined.

As part of the Government’s drive to cut costs and increase transparency, accountability and efficiency, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt today announced a proposed number of changes, including:

  • abolishing the UK Film Council and establishing a direct and less bureaucratic relationship with the British Film Institute. This would support front-line services while ensuring greater value for money. Government and Lottery support for film will continue;

  • abolishing the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to focus efforts on front-line, essential services and ensure greater value for money. Government support for museums, libraries and archives will continue; and

  • merging UK Sport and Sport England, creating a more effective structure to deliver elite sport success and a wider sports legacy from the 2012 games. 

Some key functions carried out by these bodies would be transferred to other, existing organisations. DCMS will do further work over the summer to finalise the details and timing of these changes. It will also continue to look at its other arm’s length bodies and explore further opportunities to improve accountability and efficiency.

Mr Hunt said: “The Government is committed to increasing the transparency and accountability of its public bodies, while at the same time reducing their number and cost. 

“Many of these bodies were set up a considerable length of time ago, and times and demands have changed. In the light of the current financial situation, and as part of our drive to increase openness and efficiency across Whitehall, it is the right time to look again at the role, size and scope of these organisations.

“The changes I have proposed today would help us deliver fantastic culture, media and sport, while ensuring value for money for the public and transparency about where taxpayers’ money is spent.”

Further proposals include:

  • abolishing the Advisory Council on Libraries and winding up the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel;

  • abolishing the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites;

  • declassifying the Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships and transferring its functions to another body; and

  • declassifying the Theatres Trust so it can act as an independent statutory advisory body.

DCMS is also:

  • looking at its responsibility for heritage and the built environment, and considering the role and remit of English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund;

  • considering the role of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment;

  • discussing with the Church of England the merits of declassifying the Churches Conservation Trust; and

  • considering whether to change the status, role and functions of Visit England and Visit Britain.

In addition, DCMS confirmed today that it intends to merge the National Lottery Commission with the Gambling Commission, subject to further consideration of the business case.

Further information

Notes to Editors

  1. Key activities currently carried out by the UK Film Council will continue, including Lottery funding and work in support of film certification for tax purposes. DCMS will now consider options for transferring those responsibilities to other organisations. As a charity, the British Film Institute (BFI) is not within the scope of this review, but the Government is committed to its long term future. DCMS will now consider how to build a more direct relationship between the BFI and Government.

  2. The merger of the National Lottery Commission and the Gambling Commission was announced by the then Chancellor in the Budget on 24 March 2010.  DCMS is working with both bodies on the merger which will improve efficiency while preserving appropriate and effective regulation of both sectors.

  3. Any necessary legislative changes would be made through the Cabinet Office’s Public Bodies Bill, which is due to be introduced in the autumn. 

  4. Where proposed changes have implications for the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland we will work closely with them to finalise proposals.

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