When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Cultural development taken back ‘in-house’
OXFORD City Council is taking over responsibility for cultural issues in a bid to save cash.
The responsibility for cultural development, which currently rests with Oxford Inspires, is to be taken back “in-house” by city council staff.
Oxford Inspires was established in 2001 to spearhead the city’s unsuccessful bid for European Capital of Culture status.
It also hit the headlines in 2008 when it tried to market the festive season in Oxford without using the word “Christmas”.
But the city council now wants to take on the reins on cultural development in a bid to save £25,000-a-year, which will instead go to culture groups.
Council leader Bob Price said: “We now have our own cultural strategy so we want to bring it back in house to manage it ourselves. “It was never really a separate agency because it didn’t have the resources to function on its own.”
Last year the council gave the agency £45,735, but this will be cut to £20,000 under plans going to the executive board tomorrow.
Oxford Inspires merged with tourism company Visit Oxfordshire last year, and spokesman Susi Golding said it was ready for the cut.
She said: “Oxford Inspires’s brief has always been county-wide, not just for Oxford, and we will continue to work very closely with the city council on delivering culture and focus on other areas of the county.
“We knew we were going to get a cut in funding and we knew what that cut in funding was going to be. As a merged organisation we have already looked at ways we can staff more effectively. No-one is going to lose their job.”
Council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “We have recently adopted a new culture strategy and appointed a new cultural development manager to oversee the delivery of that strategy and to sponsor the city council’s partnership of cultural organisations in the city.
“As a result of this we have re-evaluated our funding for cultural development. “We had previously outsourced this role to Oxford Inspires. We are now able to take it back in-house. As a result of this our grant to Oxford Inspires has been reduced.
“But we will continue to work in partnership with Oxford Inspires.”