Culture wars

Think tank: Adam Smith Institute

Author(s): Tim Ambler

July 14, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at reforming the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport.

The Adam Smith Institute’s latest discussion paper, written by Tim Ambler, proposes a number of reforms to improve the efficiency and value for money of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This paper is part of the Adam Smith Institute’s “Reforming the Civil Service” series. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has oversight over dozens of agencies and public bodies, which often have overlapping remits and unclear objectives; Many responsibilities currently held by the DCMS would be more appropriately managed by other government departments; In some cases a transfer of employees would not even be necessary; those in the departments receiving these new roles could easily assume them without extra staff; Several small regulatory authorities can be merged into larger regulators which already cover largely, if not exactly, the same areas; Many museums and libraries currently occupying a space between public and private entities should be converted into conventional charities, giving them freedom from intrusive DCMS management; DCMS HQ and some of its arm’s length bodies exhibit a lack of transparency and clarity about their actual day to day activities; Arm’s length bodies which are either public corporations (such as the BBC and Channel 4 if not privatised) or which should be independent of Government for other reasons (such as the Information Commissioner’s Office) would be more appropriately managed by Commons Select Committees; This paper demonstrates opportunities to reduce the DCMS headcount by up to 89%; Whilst some of this reduction would take place through redundancy, a significant portion would be accomplished through redistribution to other departments.