Dear Editor, The brewing debate regarding the new Labour administration executive structure has been eloquently addressed by ex-councillor Martin Mullaney and the CEO of Punch, Ammo Talwar (Post, May 17) but I would like to add my own views to the debate.
History has shown that in local politics an independent leisure, sport and culture champion can be advantageous to the sector.
For example, Martin Mullaney certainly was an asset because he would never shy away from representing the sector in the capacity as cabinet member when he was a councillor.
I know from experience as a former chief officer that successful leisure, sport and culture cabinet members must have the mind of a strategist, excellent knowledge of the subject, be influential and persuasive and have a will of steel to effect change.
We have also seen how leisure, sport and culture have spearheaded regeneration, employment, opened up politics and services to communities through the might of these champions.
Had Sir Albert simply dismantled the cabinet post and divvied out the responsibilities I would be alarmed to say the least.
However, he has kept responsibility for leisure, sport and culture. He will be supported by his deputy, Councillor Ian Ward, who has significant experience in this field. The ten district chairs on the cabinet will certainly be defending the interests of their constituencies, thereby influencing future strategies and decisions.
The context in which the future of leisure, sport and culture is being shaped is the diverse demand on services and budgets surrounding decreasing public finances.
In turn, the leisure, sport and culture community must continue to be vital and visual to the wider communities and persuade the administration how the sector can lead renewal, growth and cohesion.
Charles E Small
CEO The Drum
Dear Editor, The major cultural institutions of Birmingham (of which we are proud to be one) have a crucial role to play in the city’s economy as it seeks to ride out the current economic storm. We play an important role in building both the national and international reputation which is so important to the city’s present and future.
All the major political parties over the past 20 years have imaginatively supported us in this task. We are delighted that the new Leader of Birmingham City Council and his Deputy are taking personal responsibility for leading the challenge for the next few years.
Michael Clarke, Chairman
Christopher Barron, Chief Executive
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Dear Editor, I have noted the tone of the recent articles in the Post regarding the profile of culture and sport in the new administration within Birmingham City Council.
I can confirm that I have already met with the Leader and Deputy Leader who are taking a high level of interest and responsibility for the future of sport in the city.
We see the city as a key partner for athletics going forward which will undoubtedly further enhance Birmingham’s international profile.
The track record of Sir Albert and Councillor Ward in sport prior to 2004 demonstrates their positive commitment to this important area and now I look forward to some joint working to create real momentum for the future.
Niels de Vos, Chief Executive