Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 520 - 535)



  520. Could I go back again to this question. For example, on cancer prevention, to try and say that it is not part of the health service's responsibility, it is part of the health service's responsibility. But the healthy living centres. There is a very great difference between those two things. Healthy living centres is something that is new. It is helping people to realise that their lives can be fulfilled if they look after themselves. But could you justify cancer prevention as not being part of the health service's responsibility?
  (Ms Potter) One of the interesting things on that is that the programme we have just run was largely about prevention and palliative care. Palliative care is clearly where the hospice movement has been very active and has fund-raised a lot. A lot of the discussion that certainly our Board had on that, was about following the voluntary sector in that and trying to ensure that what we were doing was concentrating on trying to learn new ways of working, new ways of delivering palliative care, and slightly focusing on the more innovative rather than focusing on the mainstream which was being funded. Certainly the hospice movement is lobbying very hard for more mainstream funding for palliative care generally. What we have tried to do—and very much based on their advice and consultations with the people who will be getting funding—is to concentrate on specific areas. So what we did with the cancer programme was concentrate specifically on ethnic minority communities, who are a group that were highlighted throughout our consultations as not being provided for by the mainstream. As Stephen said earlier, what we are hoping is that we will evaluate with development, with more positive models of working, and reach those communities who are not being reached through a mainstream provision at the moment. So it is a discussion that our Board had in detail.

  521. I mentioned the public, the public views, but they are not gullible. Would you not agree with me that if the Lottery money is seen by the people who buy the tickets to be submerged into the general funds by taxation—the incentive that punters have, which is to try and win that dream, of winning the Lottery, but the consolation of losing that money every week, 14 million to one, is not putting money down the drain but going into a good cause—nevertheless, if that good cause is just helping the Government to continue to slightly keep taxation down below the level it should be at, do you not agree that there is a danger that the public begin to think that they are really not funding good causes by losing every week but they are helping Government? Do you agree there is a danger there?
  (Mr Dunmore) I do understand the point you make. Nonetheless, I think that in our experience, if you ask the parents—indeed, the children who are benefiting from out of school hours learning or childcare projects—if you ask the people who are involved in healthy living centre projects—indeed, even if you ask the people who are benefiting from having an MRI scanner in terms of cancer, which they did not have previously in their area, so that they can get to it and have easy access to it—if you ask all of those people, it does not matter to them who is funding it. They are very pleased that that provision is there. Just to go back to a point you made at the beginning, I have a sceptical approach to opinion polls. Obviously it often depends on the questions you ask, but the MORI poll that was carried out, that identified health and education and environment as three of the top four areas that people wanted to see Lottery spending allocated to, that poll was an independent poll. It simply gave people a list of areas where they might want to see the money spent. That was the outcome.

  522. I understand that. But I come back again: it depends on the questions asked. If the public, (and they are not gullible), realise that local authorities cannot fund the areas that they used to be able to fund—flowers round the roundabouts, making the whole of the place they live more attractive—if local authorities cannot fund that, and the only source of income is the Lottery for the quality of life, if then the public see that money being taken and just being put into the general taxation, who is going to make the place look brighter and the environment improved? What worries me is that the income from the Lottery is relatively small compared with total taxation. We are taking bigger chunks of what should be used for improving the quality of life, whether it be theatre or sport or whatever it is, but we can get around that quite easily by asking the public, "Do you want a swimming pool?" or "Do you want the health service funded better?" If you ask them the question, "Do you want swimming pools?" they will say, "Yes, we want swimming pools." We are getting into a really dangerous area, I feel. It is not a criticism of you but it is something on which we really need to keep an eye. You have given some good answers to the questions, we realise your hands are tied, but we must not allow you to be restricted by Government policy.
  (Mr Dunmore) May I say quickly that I think in many ways we are getting into a very interesting area. What I find fascinating about this whole process is the ability to work with partners across a range of programmes—and some of these may be statutory programmes such as with local authorities—what I find very interesting is the ability to work with them, often strategically, to put together packages of funding. I think that is a real opportunity and a challenge. I would tend, myself, to concentrate on those new opportunities which we now have, rather than worrying excessively about the theological points about additionality, which I appreciate is an important issue but which can absorb too much time and concern—at least for us.

  Chairman: It is partly the Government we should be addressing these questions to but it is also our guests here today because they have to make judgments as to whether the additionality principle is being upheld. Now Mr Maxton and I were involved in the last Parliament in inquiries into the Lottery funding. Certainly I then was a very great stickler for the additionality principle. Now, I have to confess, I am not so sure. When you quote the MORI poll, about the areas in which people wish Lottery money to be spent, I am sure that those polls are absolutely accurate. I very much doubt whether any of our constituents here round the table would get hung up on the additionality principle if they felt that these very large sums of money available to the Lottery were being spent on their central concerns. It may well be, (I am not speaking for the rest of the Committee), although we have to go and consider these matters when we consider our report, but it may well be that the additionality principle has had its day and provided that Government does not use the Lottery to invade core funding, which would clearly be unacceptable, but it may be the kind of thing that we get across in the United States, where what one would call core programmes are being funded by the Lottery, that this is the way forward for us; and that you are, apart from the specific and valuable work that you are involved in, a very useful thin end of the wedge. You are not going to comment on that. In that case, I will call Claire Ward.

Ms Ward

  523. The Lottery Commission, at the moment, refuses to allow the operator to run games that are specifically linked to any one of the good causes. So, for example, we cannot have a scratchcard that says, "Buy this scratchcard and all the proceeds from this will go specifically towards creating new healthy living centres." Do you think this is wrong or would you like to see it changed?
  (Ms Potter) I think it would be very interesting. I suspect it would probably be an issue that the Secretary of State would comment on more fully than we would want to. Clearly there are very mixed views. We heard last week colleagues from the other Lottery distributors sitting here saying that X per cent of the population supported what they did. They would all make very valid cases for their work being funded. There is an important issue and I think it is a challenge for all Lottery distribution bodies, which is about having a responsibility to sell what we do to the general public far more fully, and making people far more aware of the very good work that is being done, and trying to counter some of the confusion there is and lack of understanding about that, which is being achieved through the Lottery distribution boards.
  (Mr Dunmore) May I add to that. I am tempted to say it would be interesting to think about how that might work in practice. It seems to me that it might end up being a way of identifying where and how Lottery money should be spent. It might be quite a chaotic process and difficult to interpret. It would also detract from taking the strategic approach to targeting and allocating money in certain areas and to certain programmes. My strong preference is for the Government and Parliament to continue to make the decisions as to how Lottery money is spent. That seems to me entirely appropriate.

  524. It is not so much how it is spent and how it is raised that I am interested in. What I am suggesting is that there could be some flexibility to allow an operator to enlighten the public about the good causes by linking it into the game. At the moment, there is even some restriction upon using football related games on scratchcards, because there would be a perception that this would link a benefit into the sports fund and that is restricted. What I am suggesting is that you might have a scratchcard that had, "Scratch the card and find the schools. If you find three schools to match, you win the money," but link into people's minds that this is one of the areas in which the pound you spend, a proportion goes directly towards an out of school hours project.
  (Ms Potter) Our main interest is actually maximising the money available for good causes and clearly the way in which that is done is probably more a matter for the licence holder and the Lottery Commission. I think the point made is very, very important. We would be very enthusiastic about working with the licence holder in a much more strategic way to actually make more of what good causes are achieving and I think any way that could be done that was seen as an appropriate way of doing it and not misleading the Lottery paying public we would be very happy to take part in.

  525. We have had suggestions from both sides of the argument that people are not really interested (a) in who runs lotteries and (b) in essentially where the money goes. The reason why people buy a Lottery ticket is because they want to win. Do you think there should be more links into good causes with the Lottery through the operator?
  (Mr Dunmore) I think it is a tricky area and it is perhaps worth saying that, over the last year, we have had nothing to do with Camelot because it would not have been appropriate to do so. However, when we eventually get an operator for the new licence, as my colleague said, it is an area which we would be quite interested in exploring because I think there is some synergy there, to use that terrible word, between the operator and the distributors in terms of promoting the good causes, whilst accepting that all the evidence does suggest, as one or two of you have said, that people actually buy tickets to win, they do not buy tickets because the money is going to good causes. I think that, in terms of publicising and promoting our programmes and indeed the good things that we are doing—the grants that we have made and the projects that we have supported—there are some possibilities.

  526. Turning to another issue of promotion, I have out of school hours clubs in my constituency which I am led to believe are partly funded by the New Opportunities Fund. If I went along to one of those and asked the parents who they thought funds these, do you think I would get the right answer and, if not, why not?
  (Mr Dunmore) It is a question that is hard to answer. I think that, on balance, you would get the right answer because, when all of those grants were made, they would have had a great deal of publicity in the local press. That is one of the matters that we are particularly encouraged by in that, whereas we are often criticised for reasons of, for example, additionality in the National Press, our regional press coverage is magnificent and there is a great deal of publicity there about the projects that we fund. We also have agreements with the projects regarding the ways in which they will actually themselves publicise and represent to a wider world the fact that the project has been funded by the New Opportunities Fund. So, apart from the difficulties with the name which I acknowledge, I think there would be that understanding and appreciation there, generally speaking.

  527. Apart from press publicity, do you have a corporate logo that you can stamp onto almost every child who passes through the door?
  (Ms Potter) Every project we fund will get a branding pack depending on what the project is. For example, if there is a capital project, they will have a large site board, which is very unsubtle, if any of you have seen them. If there is a building involved, they will have a plaque for the wall. For some of our information, communication and technology programmes, we have screen savers that come up with our logo and "Funded by the National Lottery". We have mouse mats available for use in public libraries and screen savers for the areas that are funded in the public libraries. We also have a variety of baseball caps, pens, pencils, balloons and lots of things that are used for the children in particular, so we have a range of various branding materials that go out depending on exactly what it is that we are funding.
  (Mr Dunmore) There is an interesting discussion to be had about the balance between the branding of the individual distributors and, if you have 13 or perhaps more different distributors all doing their own branding, then it can become confusing and there is perhaps something to be said for moving a little more towards a brand which covers all the distributing bodies, a National Lottery brand.

Mr Maxton

  528. Regarding the MORI poll, was it a poll of all people or was it just a poll of those who buy Lottery tickets because there is a difference?
  (Ms Potter) It was a general public poll; it is on their omnibus survey.

  529. That does make a little difference. Would you agree with me that more important than additionality is specificity, and I hate to use the word as I am sure the Chairman will tell me off? In other words, it is important that the Lottery is used to fund specific projects where people can clearly see where the money comes from rather than it necessarily being additionally or the danger is, as happens in some states in the USA, that it just goes into general taxation funding and nobody knows where it is actually spent.
  (Mr Dunmore) I would accept that view and I think it is very important that you should be able to see where your Lottery money goes and the precise projects that it is being spent on.

  530. What co-operation do you have with the other funding bodies because there are some areas of obvious overlap? The out of school hours is an obvious one where presumably part of that will be given over to sporting activities, playing football or whatever it might be, during out of school hours care. Do you work with the Sports Council to ensure that there are proper playing fields? Do you encourage the out of school hours clubs to apply for grants for perhaps extra equipment or whatever it might be from the Sports Council or do you provide all that yourselves?
  (Mr Dunmore) May I just paint a little background for you as this may not be generally known. The distributors do meet together on a regular basis: the chief executives meet once a month and the directors of the various parts of the different bodies also meet on a regular basis. We also all meet with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on a regular basis. There is a great impetus at the moment towards joint working and I have mentioned the joint web site and joint hot-line proposals. More specifically, we work with other distributors in a variety of different ways. For example, in terms of clarification of funding, we have joint shared advice on our web site and the National Lottery Charities Board web site about the interface between the programmes that they fund and the programmes that we fund in an effort to help people to understand the differences and indeed, where there are overlaps, how we can actually work together, and out of school hours learning is one example of that. We are also working very closely with Sport England on our green spaces and sustainable communities programme and indeed Sport England is one of the award partners who will be delivering that programme on our behalf and there is an element of that scheme that they are delivering which is to do with playing fields. We think that is not so much overlap as a good example of joint working because they can bring particular expertise in sport and playing fields to the table. We bring over expertise on the environmental issues and perhaps a little more experience of joined up working and working in partnership. Another good example of course will probably be the £750 million which is proposed in the consultation paper for sport and PE in schools. Sport England can fund sport obviously, but we can also fund sport wearing our education hat, so we very much see that £750 million being delivered again in very close partnership working with Sport England, where they will bring particular skills and expertise to the table and so will we.

  531. What about healthy living centres? From the information you have given us, it seems to me that there actually is not enough emphasis. The only example you have given is the walking example and there does not seem to be enough emphasis upon exercise as part of healthy living, particularly for the most disadvantaged 20 per cent. Do you work with Sport England and the Sports Council in Scotland as well in terms of ensuring that clubs/centres do have fitness equipment and so on in order that people can keep fit?
  (Mr Dunmore) That is actually quite a good example because, in terms of the sports centres in Scotland and Sports Scotland, we have issued joint guidance with them on our programmes and particularly on out of school hours learning and healthy living centres. To give you another example, the first healthy living centre that we funded in a particularly deprived part of King's Lynn was a healthy living centre proposal with the community development work in the capacity building there and it was funding to a community based organisation that was in the lead. That capacity building work was funded by The National Lottery Charities Board, so I think that gives another good instance of the way in which we work with other funders.
  (Ms Potter) Just to add to that, we have also tried to use the regional structures that the Sports and Arts Councils have to try and encourage greater understanding of the overlap and integration of the programmes, particularly around the healthy living centre programme, from the very beginning. What we tried to do when developing guidance was to actually ensure that what we were saying would help Sports and Art Councils to recognise the benefits they have in health and involvement they could have in promoting healthy living centres and we are seeing some very interesting examples coming through.

  532. Lastly, if I may turn to the information, communication and technology area. I suppose this is really a question for Government rather than for you, but is not the fact that the training of teachers is funded by the Lottery rather than core funding just yet another example of people believing that education with computers and information technology is somehow peripheral to it all rather than that this ought to be the absolute core to the future of education in this country?
  (Mr Dunmore) I would say that that certainly is not the case. I think the Government now has a very co-ordinated and strategic approach to promoting the use of ICT in schools and indeed in terms of life-long learning through UK Online, so I think it is very much now core to the Government's view of improving educational standards. Taking your specific point about ICT and training for teachers, the way that that initiative has been defined—and I think we feel very comfortable with it—is that it is a one-off catch up exercise and it is recognising that there are a number of teachers out there who have been teachers for a long time and did not come out of teacher training college with the sort of qualifications that they need in the use of IT in the classroom—that is no criticism, it is just the way the world was in those days—and that they need to catch up with teachers who are now coming out of college with those skills, so it is very much a one-off catch up activity and continuing professional development of those teachers once they are up to speed with the help of our funding will very much be a matter for the Government and for local education authorities and the schools themselves.

  533. Is it training in the use of machines as such or is it in the use of machines as education tools? They are two very different issues and it seems to me that we still have this tendency in education in this country to talk about training people to use computers rather than using computers to teach people.
  (Mr Dunmore) You have very much defined the key characteristic of the programme. It is not about the basic computer skills and how to use the machine, it is very much about how you use those skills to teach in the classroom very much linked to the curriculum subjects and materials that go along with those curriculum subjects.

  534. Or is it being used to develop new materials for use as well?
  (Mr Dunmore) Yes. Partly because of the approach which we have adopted to this which is using a range of approved providers, some of whom may be private sector providers, I think what has happened is that we have very much stimulated the market, not least in terms of the production of materials. Just to make that clear, part of this is improving the skills of teachers but another important part of it is the impact it will actually have on the performance of children in the classroom and that is something which we are working on alongside OFSTED to actually measure the impacts of this particular scheme in terms of standards in the classroom.

  535. Does it include preparing teachers for the fact that, in a very few years time, there will be facilitators and not teachers?
  (Ms Potter) We are beginning that discussion.

  Chairman: As you will have seen, this session has not only been valuable for the Committee in terms of learning what you do but also it has raised quite fundamental questions about how Lottery funding should be distributed and because of that will be very valuable. We are most grateful to you. I would like to wish you and everybody else in the room a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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