DCAL cuts “widespread and unpalatable”?

The BBC reports on the evidence provided to a Northern Ireland Assembly Committee today by two Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure senior civil servants.  From the BBC report

Overall, the department’s current budget of £109m is projected to fall to less than £92m by 2014/15.

Speaking at a Stormont committee meeting on Thursday, [DCAL director of finance Deborah Brown] said the figures represented a cumulative cut of £46m over the budget period.

She said the department would [cut] its operating budget by 14% while its supporter bodies like the Arts Council and Sport NI face cuts of 18%.

She said grant giving bodies like Sport NI and the Arts Council would be “probably to able to accommodate budget reductions more quickly” whereas museums and libraries would need more time to make cuts as most of their cost are related to staff and buildings.

She said it was inevitable people will lose their jobs and that at some stage redundancy programmes will be needed in bodies like the Arts Council.

About 30% of DCAL’s budget is dedicated to libraries while 20% is spent on museums.

She said [if] museums and libraries avoided significant cuts, then the arts and sport would have to deliver more savings and that would have a “very significant impact” on those areas.

Another senior civil servant, Edgar Jardine, said that the minister Nelson McCausland had identified the Ulster Scots Academy as a priority project which should not be cut.

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  • wild turkey

    … and i thought the Ulster Scots academy had been characterised as flawed and a waste of resources. perhaps i am wrong. ah, but wait a minute that was in 2008. so what has changed?


    The Ulster-Scots Agency says that those behind the academy were misguided and did not understand what the Ulster-Scots language actually is.

    The academy would have been responsible for the promotion of the Ulster-Scots language.

    It was supposed to open last year, but has been repeatedly delayed,

    In a leaked document, the agency said that Ulster-Scots is a variation of the Scots language spoken by people in Northern Ireland. It accused the academy of wrongly promoting Ulster-Scots as a language distinct from Scots.

    “The implementation group (of the academy) seem to be planning to be concerned with a language separate from Scots, which they are calling Ulster-Scots, though this appears to be something distinct from the language variety traditionally spoken in Ulster,” the document states.

    It says the business case including plans for the academy to be a private limited company is flawed.

    “The terminology used in the business plan give cause for very considerable concern about the danger that an academy as envisaged in the business plan would seek to ‘privatize’, elaborate and perhaps even profit from a language which should be the birthright of anyone who wishes to learn it or speak it,” it said.

    The agency concludes that if the plan is implemented as it stands it would be extremely unpopular and regarded by the public as a waste of resources. ”

    and on the wider theme of culture…

    “name me someone who is not a parasite
    and i’ll go out and say a prayer for him”

  • Cynic

    Isnt it great to see that the priorities are right

    As a Unionist I think the Ulster Scots academy is a total utter waste of time. I am not Ulster Scots. I am British and Irish and manyother things but not that.

    Indeed, its great to see that the Department plans to cut those who actually support the Arts by 4% more than the Department administers all this. No surprise at that but it just goes to show that the Civil Servants are running the Department, not the Minister

  • Flip2

    The bigger question is do we need DCAL to be a standalone Department? Everyone knows it has limited funding and a very limited vision beyond propping up quangos such as the Arts Council. Surely losing one Department and incorporating some of its work into DETI (The Tourist Board has already taken on its events promotion activities) and merging some of these quangos would be a useful way of saving money. Why are redundancies in the public sector the last taboo? Surely if the accounting officer feels he can deliver his core service with fewer staff he has a duty to do so?

  • wrylyamused

    So we top slice the budgets, how very predictable

  • Alan

    DCAL have done some excellent work on the promotion of Sign Language.

    Such work is crucial for deaf sign language users. Sign language has been the cinderella native language in Northern Ireland for far too long, yet as a result of the Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities DCAL have a responsibility to promote what is a language of need. The first tranche of funding for the language is to finish this financial year.

    We need to hear that at least the existing minimal level of funding for sign language will continue into the next financial year.

  • barnshee

    People on the planet public sector simply do not have a clue.

    Draw a list/prioritise the organisations functions
    What does it do?
    Order in decending order of importance- Most to least
    Start chopping from the bottom


    Everybody take a 10% pay cut (Due to vagaries of taxation and NICs this will wotk out at approx a 7% cut)
    It gets better –the employer will save a further 13% approx on employer NICs so department saves some 11 or 12 % of wage costs.

    What about the slogan “Take a cut to save you job”

  • Mr. J

    Not wanting to indulge in whataboutery, but I will:

    As long as the Minister of Education is opening Irish-language schools for non-existent pupils, why shouldn’t the CAL Minister protect his pet projects?

    This, my friends, is a shared future, with both Unionists and Nationalists squandering resources equally!

  • Cynic

    Why dont we insist that the wee OOlster Scots and Oirish speakers be edercated in the same schools

  • Local Government Officer

    “People on the planet public sector simply do not have a clue.”

    Actually, some of us do. Especially when the Minister uses getting kicked in the nuts for his ill-executed and poorly-planned RPA debacle as an excuse to turn the screws on Councils. I heard some of his staff in London/Derry were re-deployed today via an intricate selection method: everyone’s name was put in a hat. That, folks, is how Central Government do things.

    Some of us have started suggestion number 1 there. But you won’t see central government cut its cloth accordingly.

  • Stool Pigeon

    I actually can’t believe the cuts are so low – I’ve a feeling Nelson might be told to re-publish his cuts in the coming months. How are they going to ringfence Health and Education which is 70% of the block and only cut DCAL by 18% ish – doesn’t add up

  • barnshee

    What about the slogan “Take a cut to save you job”

    What about it then?

  • barnshee

    . How are they going to ringfence Health and Education which is 70% of the block and only cut DCAL by 18% ish – doesn’t add up

    None of it adds up the shit will really hit the fan in October when the real cuts will be outlined

    The armpits at Stormont

    1 Filled their boots
    2 Failed to cull the monsters that are Stormont and Local Government

    Will they escape blame yet again? Well lads you are now in charge can`t blame the nasty brits . Dublin won`t help.
    Lets watch the armpits start blamng each other.

  • Will Chamberlain

    It is all too depressing. DCAL protects itself more than the arts it is deciding to cut. Let’s not kid ourselves, the Arts Council will do just the same. This approach to the cuts is only going to cause maximum damage to frontline services and cushion the blow to bureaucracy. Faced with the biggest cuts in fifty years, our politicians bottle it big time and give no thought to radical solutions. Salami slice away boys, I’m sure it will all be just fine.