SUBMISSION FROM SKILLSET SCOTLAND – 11 APRIL 2008 Creative Scotland Bill About Skillset 1. Skillset is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for Creative Media. Jointly funded by industry and government, our job is to support the UK creative media industries so that they have the right people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time, so that they remain economically and creatively competitive. 2. Our aim is to help improve the productivity of our industry. We do this by influencing and leading on the development and delivery of skills, training and education policy; and through opening up the industries to the UK’s pool of diverse talent. 3. We are responsible for the audio visual and publishing industries: • • • • • • • Television Film Radio Animation Interactive Media Photo Imaging Facilities • • • • • • Books Journals (incl. electronic journal publishing Newspapers Directories and Databases News Agencies Electronic Information Services 4. Our work is guided by senior employers and unions from our industries, that make up our Board and invest in us. We also have a license from government to address the skills and productivity needs of our industries, which allows us to access government and public agency funding and influence policy. 5. We are a UK-wide strategic organisation employing approximately 100 staff with offices in London, Cardiff, Glasgow, Belfast, Bristol, Birmingham, Eastleigh, Nottingham, Manchester and Leeds. 6. Skillset recognises that the creative media industries both serve, and draw, on the talents and skills of a diverse population. The diversity consists of visible and non-visible differences. It is the harnessing of these differences, which results in a globally successful, creative and productive industry. As the SSC, Skillset is pro-active in setting and sustaining quality standards of training and development in such a way as to value these differences in the attainment of personal and corporate goals. General principles 7. Skillset is broadly supportive of the general principles of the Creative Scotland Bill. 8. Skillset has consistently supported the view that a single unified body, established to support the broadest spectrum of the creative industries in Scotland, will bring added value to levels of public support and intervention available to this sector in Scotland. Skillset believes that Creative Scotland has the potential to fulfil the need to bring cohesion to a diverse range of industries and creative and cultural activities, and will potentially simplify the institutional landscape that creative practitioners and enterprises must engage with to secure public-sector support. 9. As an organisation supported by Government policy at both a UK and Scottish level (Skills for Scotland – A lifelong skills strategy, Sept 2007), and with a clearly defined sectoral “footprint”, Skillset would welcome from the Scottish Government a clarification of its definition of the arts, culture and creative industries sectors in order that the scope of Creative Scotland’s remit is clearly and unambiguously defined, and that synergies between Skillset’s areas of responsibility and Creative Scotland’s would be clearly evident. 10. In relation to this, we are concerned at the repeated use of the phrase “arts and culture” throughout the bill, which we feel excludes by definition many of the sectors within our footprint which are resolutely commercial in nature and are better served by the term Creative Media Industries. It is valuable therefore to highlight that the name “Creative Scotland” rather than “Cultural Scotland” has been chosen for the new body in order that it is established to serve equally the widest possible range of creative, artistic and cultural activities, endeavours and industries. General Functions of Creative Scotland 11. Skillset broadly supports the functions as defined in section 2 of the bill subsection (1) in paragraphs (a) to (d). We would make the following specific observations on these sections: Paragraph (a) Skillset observes that this makes provision for Creative Scotland to promote “art for art’s sake”. While Skillset’s remit covers more commercial sections of the creative industries, we recognise that developing a wider appreciation of creativity at earlier stages will lead to individuals being better equipped in the longer term to interact more positively and proactively with all aspects of the creative media industries. Paragraph (b) Skillset supports the need for Creative Scotland to nurture the highest standards of achievement in the arts, culture and creative industries in Scotland. However, we would like to see clearer reference made to the role that skills play in reaching the highest possible standards of achievement. Paragraph (c) Skillset supports the aspiration articulated in this section to not just widen appreciation of the arts and culture, but also to enhance the impact in terms of unlocking creative and entrepreneurial potential. Skillset views any activity that allows individuals to experience and develop creativity and identify opportunities for future development and economic exploitation of creative content as a positive measure to grow the creative media industries in Scotland, and ensuring people have the right mix of skills to achieve this is a vital component of any development strategy. Paragraph (d) Skillset has a particular interest in this section of the bill, as it appears most closely to provide opportunities to address the skills issues across the creative media industries. In particular, on reading the explanatory notes at paragraph 12, we note that this section presents the best opportunity to engage with those sectors most traditionally viewed as the “creative industries” as defined by DCMS and we would seek the committee’s clarification that this interpretation is shared by the Scottish Government. We would further highlight that the application of creative skills as articulated in this section of the bill cannot be separated from the development and enhancement of skills for the creative industries. We therefore trust that this legislation will support the need for Creative Scotland to positively engage with Skillset – in line with the policy position set out for SSCs in Skills for Scotland: A Lifelong Skills Strategy – and indeed provide access to such resources as are required to deliver meaningful interventions in line with the skills development strategy and action plans developed by Skillset. 12. In respect of subsection (2) Skillset supports the need for greater diversity; and in subsection (3) welcomes provision for Creative Scotland to support external organisations where they might complement the wider aspirations of Creative Scotland itself. Advisory Functions 13. Skillset supports the advisory functions set out in section 3, subsections (1) and (2). Creative Scotland’s position as a strategic body is vital in terms of having access to the broadest range of the latest information and intelligence on the creative industries in Scotland. It is this currency of information which will be invaluable to the Scottish Government in terms of future policy responses and interventions to grow the sector. 14. We note in respect of subsection (3), that the explanatory notes (at paragraph 17) make reference to Creative Scotland potentially delivering training to creative practitioners. While we appreciate that this is a speculative example of the kind of intervention that may be delivered under this subsection of the bill, we believe that the fully delegated model we have operated with Scottish Screen to date is a more practical and mutually productive way of addressing the skills issues facing the creative media industries. 15. We also believe that this approach to investment in skills development is more closely aligned with Scottish Government policy on skills development which places SSCs at the heart of delivering a skills agenda that is genuinely employer-led and which connects with other vital stakeholders’ in the skills and lifelong learning landscape in Scotland. Questions: How helpful do you find the policy memorandum and financial memorandum accompanying the bill? 16. The Policy Memorandum provides a useful, and digestible explanation of the purpose of the bill, together with a helpful summary of the alternative approaches that were considered following the publication of the report of the Cultural Commission. 17. It is further helpful in terms of clarifying that Creative Scotland will be largely independent from interference by Scottish Ministers, and is anticipated to be a very much more strategic body than either of its antecedents, and is being established to provide clear leadership to the creative industries in Scotland. 18. What is missing is a clear indication that the Government expects any emerging creative policy to work alongside existing policies in important areas that might also support the development of the creative industries such as the Government’s policy on skills and lifelong learning (though there are no doubt other examples). 19. In positioning Creative Scotland as a strategic body, Skillset would hope that our own field of expertise, together with our position in the policy landscape in Scotland and across the UK is respected and supported by the new body. Do you have any comments on the consultation the Government carried out prior to the introduction of the bill? 20. Skillset is satisfied that it had sufficient opportunity to provide comment and input at the appropriate points of the bill’s development leading up to its current stage.
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