Reform for the DCMS’s arm’s length bodies, and support for a move towards more sustainable business models, are at the heart of the DCMS’s new Business Plan for the four years 2011–2015. Whilst making a commitment to continuing public funding for the arts and culture, the plan emphasises the Government’s desire for to see cultural institutions “adapt their business models, liberating them to raise and spend money as they see fit”. Strengthening cultural organisations and supporting innovation, diversity and creative excellence in the arts are stated as Coalition priorities, and the achievement of this will be evaluated by measuring the “proportion of adults and children who regularly participate in cultural activities and/or proportion of adults and children satisfied with their last cultural experience”. Few arts activities are specifically mentioned as being goals for the DCMS, but the plan aims to “make access to music education fairer so that all children can choose to learn to play a musical instrument” and “cut red tape to encourage the performance of more live music”.
More significant measures are being pursued in the museums sector: central Government support for “museums that should be the responsibility of local communities” will end when options have been identified for relinquishing control and sponsorship of each non-national museum currently funded by DCMS. The DCMS is also seeking to agree a framework with national museums for creating charitable trusts to encourage and manage museum donations and private income.
Action plans, and milestones in their implementation, are documented in the Business Plan and the DCMS will publish a report each month on its progress in meeting these. Also. as part of its information strategy, the DCMS will publish data on the number and costs of its permanent staff; pay rates for Senior Civil Servants earning over £150,000; details of expense claims and meetings with lobbyists; the energy consumption of its offices; all items of expenditure over £500; all new tender documents for contracts over £10,000; and all new contracts, including all new ICT contracts. As part of their new funding agreements, arts organisations will be required to publish information to enable the public to track value for money: data will be released on Arts Council England funding per attendance at a regularly funded arts organisation.