What is it?

‘Cultural commissioning’ is just that – the commissioning of arts and cultural services. In recent years a lot of work has been done to open up and make the commissioning process more accessible to community organisations and to allow arts and culture to be interwoven into service provision.

One resource for organisations in the cultural and sports sectors is the LGA’s ‘Engaging in commissioning: A practical resource pack for the culture and sport sector’.

Who’s doing it?

Kent: Bringing arts and culture into health and wellbeing services
In Kent the local clinical commissioning group and county council collaboratively reviewed their commissioning frameworks to engage arts and culture organisations in health and wellbeing services. This covered a range of services including a community-based mental health initiative worth £4m, early help and preventative services worth £8m and, most substantially, Kent’s £50m waste management service.

In the latter, the arts and cultural sector were engaged along with traditional providers to offer ideas relating to increasing public understanding of waste’s environmental impact and to generating community action. By mid-2016 the New Economics Foundation (NEF) reported a steep increase in the number of arts and cultural organisations engaged by the programme. Other local authorities should keep an eye on the progress of the cultural commissioning programme for any learning relating to the role that local arts and culture organisations can play in service delivery.

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