Creative industry report slammed

The Creative Industries mapping document has been slammed by one of its authors for being under-resourced. The report, released last week and designed by The Attik, is the first part of a much-publicised Government initiative to promote and expand the creative sector.

It gathers together statistical information and makes forecasts on the 13 sectors which comprise the creative industries. The report also makes some general proposals for the industry as a whole and will be used as a basis to draw up more detailed strategies for each sector in the longer term.

Proposals include better access to venture capital and promoting creative industry exports.

But Spectrum Strategy Consultants co-managing director Janice Hughes says it falls short of its initial brief. Spectrum compiled the report. “It’s a critical study and it hasn’t been done properly. Such an important report should have been given proper resources. Spectrum is a small consultancy and we did it in our spare time in January for no fee,” says Hughes.

Spectrum specialises in TV, telecommunications, IT and software but has little knowledge of the design industry. Hughes sits on the Creative Industries taskforce and volunteered her group to compile the report.

Design industry bodies voiced their concerns about insufficient design expertise and the lack of resources allocated to the report at the time (DW 20 February).

“It would have been five times better if we’d had the resources to make comparable statistical estimates and forecasts across the creative sectors. Instead we had to rely on existing data [from the Design Council in the case of the design sector]. I’ve never forecasted on the design industry before, for example, and we did it in one day, for free,” adds Hughes.

But the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which commissioned the report, says it is a valuable first step in a long-term programme to boost the creative industries. “One of the report’s key messages is the need for better data to be collected in the future,” says Culture Secretary Chris Smith in the foreword.

A DCMS spokeswoman adds: “It doesn’t make sense that she [Hughes] should be dissatisfied, she signed up to the report.” However, the spokeswoman acknowledges the research may need to be refined at a later date. “We will need to discuss that at the next taskforce meeting,” she says.

Meanwhile, The Attik director Tim Watson says Hughes “has made some valid points. Yes, it would have been better if Spectrum had been given 200 000 to come up with some really good, consistent, research data. It’s easy to be cynical about the Government, but the fact that it has got the ball rolling is great.”

Chartered Society of Designers president Adrianne LeMan, who has not seen the report, says: “Responding to the time Hughes says she was allocated to researching the design sector, I would have to say it obviously wasn’t anything like enough. The design industry is huge and clearly needs a careful and detailed research programme.”

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