Creative England’s new chief executive has told The Drum that the organisation will have a stronger sway with government than the nine Regional Screen Agencies it is replacing.
Caroline Norbury, previously chief executive of South West Screen, also vowed that the organisation would be representative of creative businesses across the whole of England and not just those in the biggest regions.
She said: “When it came to shaping policy the Screen Agencies were always two or three rungs down the ladder behind the Regional Development Agencies and Business Link. Now they are no more and we have a common voice we will be able to have a lot more say in getting creatives the support they need.
“While we will have offices in Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham we want to make sure Creative England is as 'virtual' as possible so it is less of a postcode lottery. A creative business in Lincoln should have the same access to us as one in Manchester.”
Norbury’s first role is to integrate Screen Agency staff into Creative England. Then she will be touring the country to find out what creatives want from the new body.
“We know we are going to get a lot of requests,” Norbury said. “We are not going to have a big pot of money or grants to send people off to Malaysia.
“Money is important but it is not everything to creative entrepreneurs. A lot of the time what they want are 'soft' things - connections, access.
“Creative businesses are often undercapitalised and under resourced. Instead of them spending £50,000 with an accountant or a law firm to find an investor, which often doesn’t work, we can try to put them in touch with others who can help. Our job will be to bring people together.”