Caroline Norbury to assume role of “establishment director” as part of drive to ready Creative England for October start date

In the latest development in the formation of new regional umbrella body Creative England, its chair John Newbigin has announced the formation of an “establishment board made up of the chairs of the existing regional screen agencies.

Caroline Norbury, currently the chief executive of Bristol based regional screen agency South West Screen has been appointed to the new role of “establishment director”. She will work with the board to “ensure that a fully functioning organisation is ready to replace the existing network of regional screen agencies on 1st October 2011,” the date when Creative England is meant to be operational.   

She will hold the post for a maximum of six months, according to a statement from Creative England, during which time her post as chief executive of South West Screen will be taken over by the agency’s finance director Mehjabeen Price.

With only four months to go before Creative England is due to be fully operational there are still debates going on behind the scenes as to the structure and functions of the new body, with concerns over the consultation process to date and arguments over the locations of the three hubs. Previously the three hubs were announced as Bristol (Creative South), Birmingham (Creative Central) and Manchester (Creative North).

Newbigin admitted that the decision to set up this new board has been motivated by a need to move things forward. “We now need a full-time, fully committed executive if we are to get to the starting line by the agreed date of 1st October,” he said.

Previously Newbigin set up a “shadow board” at the end of 2010 to oversee the formation of Creative England, consisting of the chairs of South West Screen, Screen West Midlands, Vision and Media, (the regional agencies based in the three proposed hub cities) along with the chair of Screen South.

However as Screen reported back in March, he faced criticism that the board did not reflect the needs of all the whole country and especially the eastern side of the UK.

The new “establishment board” will consist of the chairs of all 7 remaining regional screen agencies: South West Screen, EM Media, Screen WM, Screen South, Northern Film & Media, Screen Yorkshire and Vision & Media.

Meanwhile Norbury will be “tasked with setting up the overall business plan and staffing structure of Creative England’s film-related activity, whilst beginning to build capacity for the broader Creative England vision and securing funds for wider creative industries activity,” according to the statement.

Amanda Nevill, director of the BFI, added that the the BFI was “heavily dependent on an effective infrastructure being created to help us deliver that,” adding that she welcomed the creation of the new post.