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Agenda item

Christmas Illuminations Scrutiny Review


Consideration was given to a final draft report following a Scrutiny Review of Christmas Illuminations commissioned by the Performance and Scrutiny Overview Committee to the Regeneration Scrutiny Panel following a ‘call-in’ on Minute No. 33 of a meeting of the Cabinet Member, Lifelong Learning, Culture and Leisure held on 22nd August, 2006.


The review set out the findings and recommendations of the Scrutiny Review Group who had looked at the current service provision for Christmas Lights and Trees, both in Rotherham Town Centre and in the Districts.


In addition, the review had looked at budget and funding issues, where the responsibilities for this service lie and what can be done to enhance Christmas Illuminations in the Borough of Rotherham.


The Review was endorsed by the Regeneration Scrutiny Panel on 3rd November, 2006 and the Performance and Scrutiny Overview Committee on 10th November, 2006.  PSOC had resolved to add one recommendation to the review as follows:-


-                       That consideration be given to including strategic lighting as part of the tourism/renaissance agenda.


On 14th November 2006,  the Cabinet Member for Lifelong Learning, Culture and Leisure considered the review at a delegated powers meeting.  Further clarification of the recommendation reference 6.1.1 (Single Events Budget) was requested.  This report seeks to clarify this recommendation.


(i)  The review identified a number of areas for action including:


v     The spread of responsibilities for the management of Christmas Illuminations in Rotherham where budgets are held to fund Christmas related activities;

v     Creating an equitable approach to Christmas Illuminations;

v     Actively seeking sponsorship to fund Trees and Illuminations;

v     Using the Gateway Improvement Plan to light Rotherham at Christmas time;

v     Ensure that diversity issues are accounted for as part of an annual programme of town centre events


(ii)                 Christmas Trees, Illuminations, Events and Activities should be funded by the Council from a single Special Events budget.


The Commercial and Promotional Services Manager gave a response on behalf of Culture and Leisure to each of the recommendations contained within the Scrutiny Review final draft report.


This meeting felt some aspects had been overlooked by the Scrutiny Review Group, as follows:-


  • Lack of clarification on the Special Events Budget for Christmas events programme
  • Differences in town centre illuminations and tourism and markets initiatives
  • Lack of clarification on the role of Area Assemblies in terms of funding their own district trees
  • Original “call-in” overlooked by the Scrutiny Review – i.e. a proposal to withdraw funding for some locations
  • Feasibility of gaining sponsorship
  • Financial implications of suggestions made in the Scrutiny Review report


The meeting noted that the Regeneration Scrutiny Panel was to consider the comments of both the Cabinet Members of Lifelong Learning, Culture and Leisure and Economic and Development Services on 5th January, 2007.


Resolved:-  That, in view of the need to renew the current three year Christmas Illuminations Contract in January, 2007, the Contract for town centre lights be extended for a further year to allow time for a Christmas Illuminations Strategy to be developed.

Supporting documents: