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This project aims to improve outcomes for children and young people through improving the commissioning of cultural services.
Cultural organisations have made significant contributions which impact on
children and young people’s lives, their well-being and achievements. The
commissioning climate in public service delivery poses new
opportunities but also challenges to cultural organisations.
The public service reform agenda is now entering a new phase with an even greater focus on demonstrating impact and value for money in a declining resource base. The culture sector has made some progress but the research shows that it remains on the fringes of this opportunity for a range of reasons. Looking forward, a trajectory of further gradual incremental change could see the cultural sector actually moving backwards and perhaps what is now required is “step change” that sees this opportunity grasped with both hands.
This research, with twelve Directors of Children and Young People’s Services or their representatives across four regions, indicates that cultural services are absent from the strategic commissioning process in those areas. Whilst there is some excellent joint working, partnerships, grants and ‘spot purchasing’ of particular services or projects, cultural services are not routinely involved as key players in the mainstream structures or processes of commissioning.