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Join us and have your say!

Sector Policy
Reference Group

The Sector Policy Reference Group will be a core component of the programme’s overall governance structure; this group will create open opportunities for individuals and organisations from across the creative and cultural sectors.

We’re delighted to invite you to join a new Sector Policy Reference Group for our open policy development programme on the future of local cultural decision making.


With clear cross-party commitments at the UK Government and devolved administration levels to devolve more decision-making powers to local authorities, as well as new socio-economic challenges and opportunities facing the sectors, we believe that now is an important moment for stakeholders to come together for a structured dialogue to develop new policy positions for consideration by decision makers.


Our starting point for this work is that the devolution of powers to local government is a process, that every place starts from a different stage on the journey and that the significant regional disparities we see when it comes to the creative and cultural sectors need to be addressed more carefully than they have so far.


Between October 2023 and September 2024, local authorities, creative and cultural sector representative bodies and researchers from leading universities across the UK will be convened to explore how increased local powers might affect the creative and cultural life of different kinds of communities. The programme will ultimately result in a series of evidence-led policy positions that will be openly shared with the creative and cultural sectors and decision makers.


You can find out more about the programme at the programme hub here:


We know how expansive and multi-faceted the UK’s creative and cultural ecosystem really is. That is why we will be doing what we can within the limitations of the programme to take an inclusive approach, seeking out less formalised partnerships and engagements with organisations of all shapes and sizes to make sure we are sensitive to a variety of perspectives.


To achieve this, we are convening a Sector Policy Reference Group as a core component of the programme’s overall governance structure; this group will open up opportunities for individuals and organisations from across the creative and cultural sectors who may not be in a position to contribute financially as a full partner, but who nonetheless might like to engage with the policy dialogues, in a light touch and resource sensitive way.


We have laid out below a few FAQs that might help you decide if this is something you’d like to join. If you are interested in being part of the group, please email with ‘Policy Reference Group - [insert your organisation name here]’ in the RE window and a member of the team will get back to you with more details.



Who can join the Policy Reference Group?


The Policy Reference Group is open to individuals and organisations operating across the creative and cultural sectors (e.g. DCMS sub-sectors). You might, for example, be an individual creative practitioner, a network/consortium of cultural sector practitioners or organisations, or a flagship creative business. Equally, you could be a grant giving organisation, arms length body or other funder wishing to gather insights into how increased local decision making might impact the creative and cultural ecosystem of different types of places. You might have a local, regional, national or international remit. Our aim is to bring together a diverse range of individuals and organisations with very different perspectives to bring to the table.


What will the Policy Reference Group do?


The group will act as a ‘critical friend’ at key moments in the wider policy development programme. For example, the group might be consulted on key research activities to sense-check emerging findings, or be asked for views on draft policy positions before they are published. In addition, the group will be invited to participate in open ‘knowledge exchange’ activity at which leading researchers and thought leaders working across relevant policy areas will share up to date knowledge and research. Members of the group may also want to send us case-studies to spotlight in our research activities, as well as help us disseminate programme outcomes with key decision makers in their own areas and sub-sectors. 


How will the Policy Reference Group be convened?


As lead partner and programme secretariat, Culture Commons will facilitate the engagement with the members of the Policy Reference Group. Much of the engagement will take place digitally, but we envisage that we will hold a number of group sessions and will ensure these are suitably scheduled in advance. Engagement will be conducted under Chatham House rules; perspectives may be quoted, but not attributed to an individual parter without express permission in advance of any publication. Any group Sessions will be staggered at a variety of times of days and days of the week to maximise engagement opportunities and be conducted online using standard teleconferencing programmes. It is anticipated that the in-person sessions taking a ‘drop-in’ approach, enabling members to be at the most relevant sessions covering themes they can meaningfully contribute to. 



How will the Policy Reference Group be inclusive?


We openly acknowledge the challenges associated with a self-selecting partnership approaches determined by those who can contribute financially to make it happen. We also acknowledge that different parts of the creative and cultural ecosystem are facing different pressures at the moment. In sum, we will need to work deliberately to include sector and workforce voices within these conversations - including freelance, self-employed and atypical workers, micro and small organisations, and communities that are all too often excluded from policy dialogues of this kind. We are working with partners in the early stages of the programmes to bottom out any additional measures, in addition to this group.


Why join the Sector Support Policy Reference Group?


We believe joining the group is an opportunity for interested individuals and organisations to participate in a national level policy debate, helping to shape ideas, discussions and solutions to support all sub-sectors taking an ecosystem approach. We hope it represents an exciting opportunity to share evidence and experiences while engaging with policy development in a light touch and resource sensitive manner.


Who are Culture Commons?


We are a not-for-profit and independent policy co-design and advocacy organisations supporting the UK’s creative and cultural ecosystem. We work with leading research organisations and decision makers to develop policy that is evidence led, implementable and impactful.


As an independent and not-for-profit policy co-design and advocacy organisation, Culture Commons is well placed to open up a facilitated space for this dialogue to take place. We are policymakers with high level experience within parliaments, political parties and the civil service too. Our team have direct experience of helping to bring policy ideas into law at the local, regional and national levels.


As part of this programme, Culture Commons promises to:


  • Engage with the Policy Reference Group in a clear, concise and timely manner

  • Recognise resource and time limitations for members of the group and ensure questions/activities are achievable and reasonable

  • Respect and consider all views and options shared by the group members, respecting sensitive and confidentially of information where appropriate

  • Consider the impact of emerging policy positions on the different needs of the policy group members


How will the Policy Reference Group be expected to work together?


We would ask that members of the group respect the multiplicity of views and opinions that are likely to be expressed throughout this process, and act in a positive and pragmatic manner. There are many questions associated with the UK’s devolution journey, and everyone will have their own individual and organisational views about the extent to which devolution should take place. Nonetheless, the focus of this programme is to examine the pros and cons of existing and potential future activity. We also hope that members of the group will engage in activities wherever feasibly possible, informing the Culture Commons team in good time where this is not possible or adjustments might be required.

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Join us and have your say!

Sector Policy
Reference Group

The Sector Policy Reference Group is an important part of the programme structure and is open to individuals and organisations.


Members will be invited to participate in the programme's insight gathering and knowledge exchange work strands consisting of public facing roundtables, webinars and other events.


If you or members of your organisation would like to join the Sector Policy Reference Group, please click the button below.

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