Magazine article Screen International

Creative England's Jobs Impact on Regional Agencies Not Yet Known

Magazine article Screen International

Creative England's Jobs Impact on Regional Agencies Not Yet Known

Article excerpt

Speculation is growing that the three major centres of the newly announced Creative England will be Bristol in the South, Manchester in the North and Birmingham in the Midlands.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey today confirmed that eight regional screen agencies are to be combined into the new umbrella Creative England, which will have concentrations in the North, Midlands and South. Film London is to sit outside of Creative England, but will act as a partner, as well as promoting inward investment (i.e. foreign film shoots) into the whole of the UK.

A period of industry consultation is expected to follow today's announcement, with feedback being taken forward to shape the final Creative England business plan and the full details being revealed in early 2011. However the talk amongst the industry is that the three film hubs will be Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham, all of which are based in the Western half of the UK.

The newly formed Creative England will be chaired by John Newbigan, who formerly chaired regional agency network Screen England, which is expected to be replaced by the new body. Newbigan said: "We are pleased to say that in the Creative England structure, we believe we have arrived at a framework that will deliver effective and streamlined support to the regions."

He added: "Creative England will increase delivery and reduce costs, whilst retaining local resonance across the country. The regional screen agencies will now work together to recalibrate into Creative England's three hubs; Creative North, Creative Central and Creative South. The business plan for Creative England will be open to full industry consultation in the New Year."

Overall, the regional screen agencies have welcomed Creative England, an idea that has been in the pipeline for nearly two years.

It is not yet known how many jobs will be effected, but at this point none of the agencies appeared to be anticipating redundancies directly as a result of the restructure, with the expectation being that they would continue operating as part of Creative England. Vaizey didn't specify if any of the agencies would be shuttered as Creative England ramps up, although Alice Morrison, CEO of Manchester based North West Vision and Media, admitted that her team would inevitably be shrinking, adding that "those agencies that have not already shrunk will have to."

However Sally Joynson, Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire said it was important that it be an "open, transparent process with industry consultation at the heart of it," adding that "this is the only way we can ensure that talent, wherever it is based, receives appropriate support."

EM Media chief executive Debbie Williams added that Nottingham based agency EM Media "fully supports direct consultation with industry at the earliest opportunity. …

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