Culture Secretary creates Cultural Renewal Task Force

Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), will chair a Cultural Renewal taskforce responsible for the future of recreation and leisure sectors. Its mission is to develop blueprints for how and when closed businesses and venues can reopen safely.

Members of the task force are:

  • Tamara Rojo (English National Ballet)
  • Alex Scott (former England international and Arsenal footballer and now a Sports Broadcaster)
  • Sir Nicholas Serota (Arts Council England Chair)
  • Edward Mellors (Mellors Group Events)
  • Neil Mendoza (Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, Entrepreneur, publisher and philanthropist)
  • Lord (Michael) Grade of Yarmouth (TV executive and former Chair of BBC and ITV)
  • Baroness (Martha) Lane-Fox of Soho (Founder of
  • Mark Cornell (Ambassador Theatre Group)

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "We are determined to do all we can to help our sectors that are such an incredible part of British life in their recovery. The Taskforce is made up of some of the brightest and best from the cultural, sporting and tech worlds. Experts in their fields, they’ll be instrumental in identifying creative ways to get these sectors up and running again."

The taskforces will be crucial to the reopening of sectors of Britain’s economy. They will support the renewal of DCMS sectors and help develop new COVID-19 secure guidelines for the reopening of public places and businesses, where and when it is safe to do so. The focus of the groups’ work will be on:

  • ensuring that COVID-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phasing ambitions and public health directions, building on the existing (work settings) guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input
  • develop creative solutions, including digital solutions, to drive the return of sectors whilst maintaining consistency with the medical advice
  • agreeing and ensuring alignment of all relevant sectoral guidance
  • providing key sector stakeholders direct access to ministers

The individuals experts appointed to the panel represent themselves, and not the organisations they work for. The role is unpaid.

As the nation’s economy begins to move towards recovery and regeneration, the Taskforce will look to see how creative new approaches could help sectors thrive in future, building on existing channels of government support (like the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants, a 12 month business rates holiday, and £200 million of emergency public funding through the Arts Council, Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund).

The first meeting of the Cultural Renewal Taskforce took place on Friday 22 May, and it will meet on a weekly basis. The work of the taskforce will be supported by eight working groups chaired by DCMS Ministers, which will include representatives from key sector bodies and organisations and focused on areas like sport, entertainment and events, museums and galleries, heritage, tourism and libraries.

The government published its COVID-19 Recovery Strategy on 11 May 2020. It set out that non-essential retail businesses may be reopened in phases from 1 June, where and when it is safe to do so, and if those businesses can meet new working safely during coronavirus guidelines.

Reopening other (currently closed) businesses and public places will take place when the science allows, and when they can meet new COVID-19 secure guidelines, which relate to their specific activities. To support the development of such guidelines, the government has established five ministerially-led ‘taskforces’:

  • Recreation and leisure (including tourism, culture and heritage, libraries, entertainment and sport) (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
  • Pubs and restaurants (Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy)
  • Non-essential retail (including salons) (Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy)
  • Places of worship (Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local government)
  • International aviation (Department for Transport)
  • DCMS is also planning to appoint a representative from our world class tourism sector to the taskforce.
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