To suit the Action to the Word, the Word to the Action

Posts tagged ‘government’

Arts and Community Events Need You! Complete very quick survey…

It’s live! You can now find the City of Edinburgh Council’s survey about changes to Public Entertainment Licensing online.

Make sure you tell them what you think about their proposals re. licences for free events!

If you are not yet in the picture re. these changes, check out the importance of this campaign and the basics of what is involved and what is going on.

Further related posts on this blog (including the Edinburgh Public Meeting and delegation to the Edinburgh Council) can be found in the ‘Public Entertainment Licence Fiasco’ category.

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Time to be consulted! Speak up about Public Entertainment Licence changes…

The public consultancy period – where you and I get to put our penny’s-worth in – has started on changes to the Public Entertainment Licensing Resolution of the City of Edinburgh Council. Below is a letter giving details about this (bold highlighting by me) and how to speak up about this important issue.

If you are not familiar with the campaign highlighting the affect of these changes on free events and expression, check out the posts in the category ‘Public Entertainment Licence Fiasco‘, in particular Keeping Track.

From solicitor for City of Edinburgh Council

“Firstly I would confirm that the advert advising of the proposed draft Public Entertainment licensing Resolution went into the Edinburgh Evening News on 16th March 2012. That has the effect of kick-starting the legal process for the consultation. The advert invites written responses, to be sent to the Director of Services for Communities, Licensing Section, 249 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1YJ.

In addition we have set up an email address for consultation responses – publicentertainment.licensing@edinburgh.gov.uk

Separately, arrangements are in hand for an online consultation and I understand that this is likely to be accessed on the Council’s website at the general consultations section, and also via a link from the Public Entertainment licensing section of the website. At the time of emailing the questions for the online survey were almost ready – so hopefully will be in place by the end of the week. Meantime, a couple of links which will hopefully be of some assistance to you:-

The details of the committee decision and the press release, etc are at the following link:-

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/news/article/830/consultation_to_take_place_on_licensing_rules_for_free_events

The details of Public Entertainment licensing and the link to the online survey will be at the following address (which at the time of emailing was still to be updated):-

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/309/public_entertainment_licences/935/public_entertainment  [the survey is now live – the above link leads to it, or you can go direct via   http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QTZMWXP]

For those who are anxious to ensure that their views are recorded, may I suggest that they make use of the email address as above, and/or write in with their comments? Once the online questionnaire is up and running, that will enable a more accessible means of responding to the consultation process – as I say, I think that should be ready in the next day or two.

Hope this assists in the meantime.

Regards,”

As I write, poets, performers and artists sit in prisons…

“As I write, poets, performers and artists sit in prisons and under house arrest across the globe (as a visit to Amnesty International will inform), because they encourage society to think. Art is as necessary in a democracy, as food and water, if there is to be quality of life. Quality of life comes from knowing one has the power to change, contribute, be heard and to hear why things are as they are or how they could be within our communities.”

Wise words from Gillian, leading to why A Little April Foolery is so important, in the ‘Crunch time for Edinburgh!’ comments.

See Gillian’s comment in full – and add your responses too!

Edinburgh Regulatory Committee Meeting of 9th March – report and result

ReportAt the City of Edinburgh Council’s meeting of the Regulatory Committee, convened by Councillor Rob Munn, a deputation representing the views of those concerned about the Public Entertainment Licence changes was invited to speak for 10 minutes, before being asked questions by committee members. Also present were officers from licensing departments, whom the committee members consulted about the issue.

The deputation consisted of Neil Cooper, arts journalist, and Morvern Cunningham, arts promoter and organiser. Mr Cooper spoke eloquently, with wit and knowledge, about the history of arts in Edinburgh and the way in which grassroots endeavours feed major artistic success stories. He also pointed out the incredibly difficult task of defining ‘entertainment’ within artistic perimeters, and did so with appreciated humour. You can read the full address here, in the post ‘Address to Edinburgh Regulatory Committee and Campaign Statement‘.

Both Mr Cooper and Ms Cunningham, along with the licensing officers, then answered questions from committee members. These queries included what events are already being affected by the changes in legislation, whether an exemption mentioning ‘200 capacity’ would be sufficient to allay concerns, what precisely is meant by ‘premises’ for official wording, and the very telling question of what the actual intention of the changes to the legislation is!

Also of note was the suggestion that, rather than focus on exempting certain events – the arduous and, in practice, unending task of creating a comprehensive list – it would make more sense to state which free events ARE to be covered by the changed legislation. This would, however, necessitate (legally) a full scale consultation and re-drafting of the relevant Resolution which would require at least 9 months. The focus currently is on what can be done in the short-term to minimise the impact of these changes on events which should not be their target.

As a result, the shorter consultation period of 28 days was decided upon, with an interim period of free licensing in effect from 1st April to at least 20th April, the time of the next meeting of the Regulatory Committee. At that point, with the relevant report to hand, the Committee plans to announce which events have been removed from the Resolution and will therefore no longer require licensing.

It was made clear that no-one present – those who spoke up and, by final agreement, all committee members – wished the PEL changes to impact on arts and community events. The focus of the licensing departments will be on large-scale events which pose some risk to public safety and those which may be using the ‘free’ category to obscure high business interests.

The motion put to the Committee and passed at this meeting is detailed – along with the results – here:

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/news/article/830/consultation_to_take_place_on_licensing_rules_for_free_events

Crunch time for Edinburgh! Public Entertainment Licence meeting, 9th March

Show your support on the 9th of March

The public can view the City of Edinburgh Council Regulatory Committee’s meeting, where the Public Entertainment Licence changes will be discussed, and so show the support that the campaign against these changes is raising.

To attend, head for the Dean of Guild Court Room, City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh on Friday 9th March and meet there at 8.50am, for the 9am meeting start.

The general public cannot speak at this meeting, but there will be a “deputation at the meeting speaking on behalf of the campaign comprising Neil Cooper (journalist and writer for numerous publications) and Morvern Cunningham (organiser of LeithLate and active member of Edinburgh’s grassroots arts community).”

This quote is taken from the Council Regulatory Meeting – OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Facebook event, where you can find further information and leave comments on points you would like the deputation to cover.

A Scotsman article on the current plans of the council, already amended somewhat from earlier ones due to the strength of the campaign against these licence changes, can be found here:

http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/heritage/culture/small-edinburgh-arts-events-to-be-exempted-from-licence-crackdown-1-2158223

There appears to be some good news, but there are still questions (see Morvern Cunningham’s remarks in the above article), and the actual legislation itself – at Scottish Government level – is still an issue, affecting all councils and the whole of Scotland.

Further information

See ‘Keeping Track’ post for help in understanding and keeping abreast with this PEL issue.

Keeping track – what’s happening with the Public Entertainment Licence changes?

Cartoon by 'Leithal Yak' Norrie StewartWith thanks to ‘Leithal Yak’ Norrie Stewart – norrie.wordpress.com – for this image

Keep up with what is happening:

This petition, to be signed if you’ve yet to do so, explains the problems with PEL changes that now affect free events and has a useful update section to help you keep abreast of what is happening: http://www.change.org/petitions/scottish-councils-scrap-public-entertainment-licence-fees

Further campaign information can be found here: http://scrapartstax.wordpress.com/

Facebook

While the following group includes ‘Edinburgh’ in its title, it covers much more – http://www.facebook.com/groups/178277778942301/

April 1st sees unlicensed events across Scotland: get involved creating, documenting or spreading the word – and enjoy the events! – http://www.facebook.com/events/188302477946069/

Twitter

Follow @scrapartstax; also search #scrapartstax

@DFActing also helps spread information

CURRENT ACTIONS

Wherever you are based, you can sign this petitionhttp://www.change.org/petitions/scottish-councils-scrap-public-entertainment-licence-fees

City of Edinburgh Council is currently consulting the public about changing its Resolution, for which there is a very quick  survey – be sure to make your opinion known!

Civil disobedience with panache! ‘A Little April Foolery’ is planned for 1st April – find out all about it: http://www.facebook.com/events/188302477946069/ and ‘How to Participate‘ in it.

RECENT ACTIONS

A meeting of the Regulatory Committee, City of Edinburgh Council, was held on 9th March and included the PEL changes issue. Members of the public were able to attend and view (though not speak) – in fact, the gallery was full – and a deputation – able to speak – put the case for the arts forward. Further information on the meeting: Discover Fine Acting Report and Result post. An article in the Scotsman: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/music/news-and-features/campaigners-arts-groups-still-in-dark-over-edinburgh-licences-1-2163818

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP deputy leader, answered questions for a live BBC webcast on 10th March, starting with Public Entertainment Licence changes “causing a bit of a stooshie”. You can view this here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-17324863

Further Information

The posts on this site related to the PEL changes can be found in the category ‘Public Entertainment Licence Fiasco’ and include information about the initial uproar that followed Glasgow City Council’s announcement of their plans, insight from petition creator Kris Haddow and a report on the Edinburgh public meeting of 1st March.

That’ll be egg on the face of the Public Entertainment Licence, then!

Eggstra! Eggstra! Read all about it! Eggstraordinary Easter Event – over £150 for licence!

Apparently a community group has been told to pay £153 for a licence to hold a free easter event that includes a children’s egg hunt.

The ridiculous nature of the Public Entertainment Licence changes is becoming ever more apparent:

http://m.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/scotland/april-fool-comes-early-the-day-the-licensing-law-debate-tipped-over-into-absurdity-1-2156094

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