Agenda item


To agree the public minutes and non-public summary of the previous meeting held on 23 January 2023.


RESOLVED, That the public minutes of the meeting of 23 January 2023 be approved as a correct record of the proceedings.


The following matters were raised in relation to the minutes of 23 January 2023:


Item 3: The meeting noted that the Policy & Resources (P&R) Committee had, on 23 March 2023, agreed to approve the following recommendation:


-       Task officers to explore suitable alternative arrangements for a Culture Forum and Masterplan and present back to the Committee within six to twelve months.


The meeting noted that the CHL Committee’s brief was to consider content and strategy rather than City properties’ use (though working alongside property use). A Member commented that no decision had actually been made, and that there appeared to be a need for a cultural strategy with an implementation plan. The Member commented that culture and creative industry strategy issues would benefit from being considered and reviewed in a more holistic manner, and it was noted that the CHL Committee would be involved in the recommendation presented to the P&R Committee.  A Member sought reassurance that the exploration of alternative arrangements would maximise the expertise within the City’s resident community aside from the envoy programme. The meeting heard that the exploration would be thorough and far-reaching, and would consider resident engagement issues as part of its brief, and that the formation of the group was at a very early stage.


Item 5: A Member commented that suitable residents had not been given an opportunity during 2022 to apply to become an envoy, and that resident representation was important to the success of the City’s cultural strategy. The Member proposed that an additional envoy from the resident community be selected via an open recruitment exercise to add to the existing expertise. The meeting heard that both CHL and P&R Committees had recently approved the recruitment process for the Member-resident envoy’s appointment, that appointments were set to run a further two years, and that it would be disruptive to the process to appoint a further envoy at this stage. The Committee noted that an open recruitment process would need to commence soon for further envoy recruitment exercises from 2025, and Members commented that an open and transparent recruitment exercise going forward (to include clear KPIs) would be welcome.  The meeting noted that the City envoy network currently included senior-level industry-leading experts across all categories of the Destination City agenda.     


Item 6: A Member commented that Hoare’s Bank appeared to have withdrawn their application (causing it to be rejected) and questioned whether the minutes reflect both that and the discussion on the issue itself. The meeting heard that some miscommunication had occurred between Hoare’s Bank, the City of London Corporation (CoLC) and the Committee, and that the minutes reflected the discussion during the meeting though an update was appropriate.

Members queried whether the CoLC had a clear policy on ‘retain and explain’ (to include refraining from commissioning any new works that commemorate or celebrate contested heritage, including the slave trade), commenting that the existence of such a policy had been indicated. The meeting heard that reviews of relevant policies were expecting to be conducted to ensure its clear and consistent application and understanding following significant changes in personnel in the City’s Culture team, noting that there was a gap in the Corporation’s policy following the work of the Statues Working Group during 2021.

The meeting noted that research on the contested heritage was commissioned in mid-March 2023 and entrusted to the LMA to be completed by mid-April 2023, to encompass an examination of historic records (see action 01/2023). A Member expressed disappointment that such research had not been undertaken earlier, commenting that academic evidence submitted during the decision process appeared to be flawed. In response to a question on the brief to the researcher, the Committee heard that the brief encompassed an investigation of any of the Bank’s association with the slave trade (if applicable) that might give rise to concern.


The following points were also made:


-        The City of London Corporation itself and most of the City was likely to have been involved in the slave trade;

-        The commissioned research is expected to shed light on whether issues needed to be addressed in the case of the Hoare’s Bank proposal;

-        A user-friendly general policy on commemorating/celebrating contested heritage would be welcome; 

-        Prominent abolitionists were active in the City of London and were worthy of commemoration;

-        The decision on the Hoare’s Bank application was taken entirely in line with CoLC procedures; and

-        The Hoare’s Bank proposal was intended to mark a historical fact rather than celebrate problematic history.


Item 8: A Member asked what progress had taken place on the Culture Mile BID since January 2023, recalling the discussion during the January meeting on potential confusion around the ‘Culture Mile’ designation. The meeting heard that the new BID would work under a new name, and the public realm designs would be removed by mid-2023. Members sought clarification on whether residents had been appropriately consulted, and the meeting heard that such consultation would be discussed with Primera (including an exploration of whether a working group comprising residents would be appropriate) (see action 02/2023).      

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