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Whitehall review says DCMS must be more effective

12 April 2007 by
Whitehall review says DCMS must be more effective

Industry leaders have welcomed a Whitehall review that called on the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to improve its leadership and become more engaged with its community.

The departmental capability review by the Cabinet Office warned that the DCMS - the department responsible for tourism and hospitality - was not as effective as it should be.

"The DCMS should engage more strategically with its sponsored bodies, look at where it can best add value and redistribute its resources accordingly," the review said.

Bob Cotton, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, supported calls for the department to play a stronger role in promoting tourism throughout Whitehall.

"It could, should and must do better," he said. "The administration and delivery of the new licensing system wasn't well handled and the casino business hasn't exactly turned out according to plan."

Cotton said resources within the DCMS should be better allocated with more of a focus on tourism. "You can have consultation and communication, but it's whether you listen to what the industry says that's key," he said. "It's not just about engaging with the industry, it's about responding to what industry says - there's no point otherwise."

Michael Hirst, chairman of the Business Tourism Partnership, said the DCMS was "improving" but added that it would be more effective if there were a full-time minister for tourism.

"I would like to see the whole tempo of its leadership upped, but the department also needs better recognition by government at the very top levels," he said. "This requires tourism, hospitality, leisure and events sectors to be recognised as a vital part, not only of the UK's economic activity, but also of the country's social wellbeing."

The review also found the DCMS had had a number of successes, including the winning bid for the 2012 Olympic Games, but added that this would now prove to be the department's "biggest-ever challenge".

DCMS permanent secretary Jonathan Stephens said a "transformation programme" had already been put in place to respond to the review's concerns.

By Emily Manson

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