The Liverpool Arts Regeneration Consortium (LARC), is a unique collaboration of nine of the leading cultural institutions in Liverpool working together to ensure that cultural organisations play a significant role in the regeneration of the Liverpool City Region, and in establishing Liverpool as a world class creative city.
Since its inception several years ago, LARC has grown in size and strength. It is a partnership that works collectively with its members, but also across other key partnerships such as local authorities, City Region bodies, Chamber of Commerce, The Growth Hub and other cultural organisations in the city.
In doing so, it seeks to strengthen culture within the City Region and ensure its members, and the sector more broadly, are strong, dynamic, creatively exciting, valued, and at the heart of the City Region’s success.
Creative Organisations of Liverpool (COoL) is a collective of 24 key arts organisations based in Liverpool City Region. Its members create exciting art in many forms, including visual arts, theatre, film, dance, comedy, music, literature, multimedia, craft, design and festival production. COoL members are rooted in communities while working nationally and internationally.
The collective plays a pivotal role in promoting the cultural offer of the Liverpool City Region by championing inclusivity, diversity, participation and collaborative working practices.
For many years LARC and COoL have contemplated the potential value associated with collaboration across the varied members of Liverpool’s cultural community. This has focused on three primary objectives:
- To enable cost reduction and/or increased income generation by sharing and leveraging scale economies;
- To enable increased levels of service by taking advantage of specific areas of capability that might exist in one organisation but is not present in another;
- To drive up quality and effectiveness of service delivery.
In 2019, with support from Arts Council England and Liverpool City Council, LARC and COoL commissioned Augere Consulting to explore potential future ways of collaborative working which would yield real benefits in relation to these objectives. Their recommendations included the following:
Implement a new ‘business-led’ operating model that commercialises/monetises future collaboration activities beyond the scope of current membership.
Recruit a senior role (as commercial manager and ambassador for LARC and COoL) to lead the commercial collaboration efforts across the consortium.
Shared services initiatives (e.g. HR, finance, digital marketing), which currently do not present adequate benefit returns in their own right relative to the implementation effort required, to be offered as part of a new Tiered Services Offer, combined with shared office premises (‘Cultural Hub’).
The menu of tiered services to be charged for as part of a new Charter (for LARC/COoL and offered more widely to other arts and cultural organisations in the City Region).
Negotiate shared procurement deals across customer-facing and other required services, in order to give financial incentive to work together more effectively, linked to Tiered Membership above.
Marketing / Ticketing
Initiate a Feasibility Study to define the scope, costs and benefits for increasing ticket sales across the consortium (and sector more widely) and to improve the customer experience for consumers of the City Region’s arts and culture offer.
With further support from Arts Council England, they now wish to appoint an individual or team to project manage and deliver the further development and implementation of new business-led operating and tiered membership models, which can be resourced in order to achieve the objectives of improved service delivery and real financial benefit through cost savings or increased income.
This new model must help them meet the expectations as expressed in Arts Council England’s Let’s Create strategy, particularly in relation to organisational dynamism, and those of Liverpool City Council in relation both to its Cultural Strategy and to a likely reduction in the extent of its investment in core funding of the sector.
The Project Manager Role
The individual or team will work with members of LARC, COoL and the wider cultural sector to develop and implement a new collaborative framework for the sector, one which can provide:
A reenergised and more effective collaborative framework to:
- Drive a step change in the engagement between cultural organisations across the City Region.
- Develop more effective championing of the City Region’s culture, attracting investment and support, in order to get the best from the huge wealth of knowledge and expertise available.
- Lead and deliver collaborative working.
- Identify and secure significant financial savings and/or additional income achievable through collaboration, potentially including:
- A Central Procurement Framework and/or Shared Portal;
- A new service model for use on a ‘need to’ basis: e.g. HR, finance;
- A Tiered Membership Scheme allowing members to either buy into or provide certain shared services and support, creating greater efficiency of operation;
- Support for all organisations by enabling access to a range of value-for-money products and services.
A sustainable central coordination role to manage this framework/programme
They anticipate that there will be a continuing permanent role to support and manage the framework, which will be affordable within the overall business plan.
A viable financial model and plan for a consortium that ensures the role and the collaborations are sustainable and appropriately resourced going forward
They anticipate that the business plan will demonstrate both the affordability of delivering the new framework on an ongoing basis, and the financial savings and/or increased income which will accrue from it.
This role will involve the successful applicant(s):
- Consulting with LARC and COoL partners, as well as other organisations both inside and outside the cultural sector.
- Quantifying the potential savings and/or additional resources made available through actions already identified.
- Identifying the ways in which those actions should be implemented.
- Assessing the impact of the changes that the organisations participating may need to make in order to realise the benefits of the actions.
- Identifying how, and why, the new way of working will increase or broaden the impact of the sector.
- Setting up future arrangements to ensure that the changes implemented are sustainable.
By the end of the contract the post-holder(s) will have established:
- A detailed new framework with a sustainable business plan and business case.
- A proposal that a critical mass of the cultural sector wishes to sign up to.
- A detailed implementation plan and process which either has been or is ready to be rolled out, to be in place by April 2022
The person(s) appointed should be able to demonstrate:
- A knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of the cultural sector and the current challenges it faces, particularly in Liverpool.
- An understanding of the particular barriers faced by smaller arts organisations, some of which are staffed on a freelance basis.
- An understanding of the commercial challenges and opportunities faced by cultural sector organisations.
- An ability to broker collaborative solutions.
- Previous experience of designing or implementing activity that has resulted in partners or stakeholders achieving greater impact, or reducing costs, through collaboration – in whatever form.
- An ability to translate collaborative responses that have been successful elsewhere – locally, nationally or internationally – without risking compromising the artistic mission of participating organisations.
- Experience of change management in a complex environment.
- An understanding of the lack of diversity within the leadership of the sector, particularly in relation to ethnicity, and the challenges that presents.
This project is funded by Arts Council England and supported by Liverpool City Council, and is driven by the imperative to ensure a resilient and strong sector in a context of inevitably reducing public sector investment. The contract will be managed administratively through the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, but the clients for the project are LARC and COoL.
The project governance will take the form of a Project Management Board, consisting of five senior representatives of LARC and COoL members plus, as necessary, one representative from Liverpool City Council and one from Arts Council England.
The appointed person/team will report regularly to the Project Management Board. Line management and contract administration will be undertaken by the Chief Executive of Liverpool Philharmonic.
The person or team will be expected to work on this project consistently throughout the period, subject to specific agreed breaks for holiday or other commitments. We are flexible however with regard to the typical working pattern and number of hours committed per week.
The person or team will be expected to provide their own equipment, facilities, working space etc. Hot desks and meeting rooms however can be made available within selected member organisations, as required.
LARC and COoL have undertaken previous studies on the potential for collaboration and shared services across the sector. These reports and supporting documentation will be made available to the appointed consultant.
They require this work to be completed before the end of December 2021.
This will be a freelance contract arrangement for services provided, for either one or more individuals or a supplier company. It will be for a fixed period between an agreed date in May 2021 and no later than 31 December 2021.
There is a fixed budget of £35k, inclusive of VAT, for the project. It is expected that this will be sufficient to resource the activities detailed above and deliver the required evidence/outputs in the timescale, and to deliver an agreed number of working hours per week throughout the contract.
Application Process and Evaluation
Applicants are invited to provide proposals by 6pm Monday 19 April. Proposals should be provided in a Word document format and be no more than ten pages in length, and should be submitted via email to:
Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in the week commencing 27 April, by video conference, by a panel made up of members of the Project Management Board.
Applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:
- Relevant experience and credentials in relation to the knowledge and experience sought. Please also include two references to whom they can speak to validate your credentials. Please note that they will not approach these individuals without advising you of their intent.
- Proposed approach to deliver the project objectives. They are particularly interested in how research, findings, experiences and solutions from outside the sector and/or region might be relevant in a Liverpool context.
- Proposed budget, resource and timeframe. Include your proposed resource and project timeframe assumptions, including details regarding day rate. Please note that we currently have a simple assumption regarding resource required and the project duration, but if there are alternative resourcing models that you would like the evaluation team to consider, please provide details.
Your assumptions regarding the roles, relevant capabilities and effort estimates that you think either the Project Committee or LARC organisation members will be required to provide in order that you can successfully deliver the project in the stated timeframe.