Michael Bichard visited the North West on Tuesday 11 May 2010 to discuss how the UK City of Culture 2013 and the Regeneration Plan for the Londonderry~Derry area. During his visit he gave a lunchtime talk on 'The Importance of Culture and Creativity in Regeneration'. Lord Bichard's lecture and the question and answer session that followed was given in the context of Londonderry'sCity of Culture 2013 bid and the Total Place Initiative.
Hosted by the University of Ulster at its Magee Campus the lecture was video-linked to the University's Belfast Campus on York Street.
The lecture was organised as a joint event with the Institute of Directors Northern Ireland in co-operation with the University of Ulster Business School and Ilex, the Urban Regeneration Company.
Lord Bichard is a highly respected figure in both local and central government circles. He is Executive Director of the Institute for Government and Chairman of the Design Council. Michael Bichard was Chief Executive of the London Borough of Brent Council, Gloucestershire County Council and then Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education and of the Department of Education and Employment after the education and employment departments were merged.
The UK City of Culture is a competition open to the whole of the UK to find the nation's first 'City of Culture'. The competition aims to find a city or area outside London that has the wow factor, with exciting and credible plans to make a step change in its cultural life and engage the whole country. The successful bidder will become a focus for national attention in 2013 and could host high-profile media events including the Turner Prize, BBC Sports Personality of the Year, The Brits and the RIBA Stirling Prize as part of their year in the spotlight. The winning city could expect to see economic and social benefits flow in, leaving a lasting legacy.
The mission of Derry City Council area Regeneration Plan is to deliver Renewal -- Economic, Physical and Social, building a stronger and more vibrant economy with increased prosperity for the city and region, in ways which ensure that opportunities and benefits from regeneration are targeted towards the most deprived groups in the communities. The Plan will address the full spectrum of development areas including education and skills, transport and infrastructure, enterprise, health, tourism, arts, culture and leisure. The development of this Plan has created a more effective model for regeneration, one which promotes equality through economic growth. The establishment of a single organisational structure (Strategy Board), supported by 12 individual Sectoral Working Groups (SWGs) with participation by local communities has resulted in a comprehensive approach to determining and addressing the inequalities, needs and challenges facing the City and the priorities and actions required to achieve the future transformation of the City. The finalisation of the single Regeneration Plan involving over 1,000 people in the City will conclude during 2010 with implementation over the next 10 years to 2020.
Total Place is, in Michael Bichard's words "about giving local providers the incentive to work together in new ways for the benefit of their clients and citizens...As we enter a period when resources will inevitably be constrained, Total Place is also a chance for local agencies to 'get ahead' by examining how they can deliver better services at less cost". Total Place is a 'whole area' approach to public services. It seeks to identify and avoid overlap and duplication between organisations - delivering a step change in both service improvement and efficiency at the local level, as well as across government departments.