Call for Expressions of Interest: ‘North Staffordshire Creative Industries Portal’

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BACKGROUND
The Creative Industries
The creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK’s economy. According to the government’s recently published document ‘Creative Britain - New Talents for the New Economy’ (http:// tinyurl.com/34a7sj) the sector has grown at twice the rate of the economy as a whole over the last ten years, with 2 million people employed in creative jobs in the UK. It is becoming increasingly important that cities across the UK address this growth and ensure that the creative sector is nurtured and supported. The sector is defined by the DCMS as: “those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. This includes advertising, architecture, the art and antiques market, crafts, design, designer fashion, film and video, interactive leisure software, music, the performing arts, publishing, software and computer games, television and radio.”

Local Context
The North Staffordshire Creative Industry Strategy (Burns Collect, Jan 08) sets out an ambitious vision for establishing the region as a Centre for Creative Excellence. It seeks to grow the creative economy through inward investment, and indigenous growth, raising aspirations and ambitions across industry, education and the public sector. Theme 5 of the strategy recommends that a creative industries website should be launched for North Staffordshire, providing a platform to showcase excellence in the region – building a positive image of the area, aiding inward investment and, in turn, stimulating growth of the creative economy. It will also house an online information service for creative industries practitioners, providing information on news and opportunities that can be updated frequently, creating a first-point-of-contact for creatives across North Staffs. The new site should utilise the latest in web technology, whilst providing an engaging & navigable user experience that can be easily managed by its moderators. It is anticipated that the full public launch of the site will be in January 2009.

Key Objectives for the Site
The North Staffordshire Creative Industries Website is intended to create a central hub for creative businesses and freelancers across the region. The site should have a publicly visible front-end, and a restricted-access back-end system which will act as the site’s ‘engine room’. The site will act as a central point of information for creative businesses in the North Staffs region. It will hold regularly updated News, Events, Jobs and Opportunities, a Showcase / Gallery Section, a Business Support ‘Roadmap’, an online directory of creative businesses in the region offering both social networking and ecommerce facilities, and an online ‘clinic’ - fostering peer-learning between users. It should be the ‘first point of contact’ for anyone working (or looking to work) in the creative industries sector. It should also seek to promote North Staffordshire’s creative sectors, providing market opportunities, advocacy, and inward investment through the region’s excellence. The site should be scalable, so that aspects of its functionality can be further developed over time - we need to be free to work with programmers to adapt and amend the site’s functionality inline with the demand from our client-base.

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In developing the site, examples should be drawn from comparable support organisations across the UK, but it should also use the latest in technology from across the web in order to firmly place North Staffordshire as a UK leader in the creative economy.

‘Figure 1’ on the following page provides an overview ‘site map’ for the system, and the following pages of this specification document detail the key requirements from each section of the site.

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Figure 1: Site Map

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BUDGET
The maximum budget for this work is £30,000 (exclusive of VAT at 17.5%, and including expenses). An ongoing annual budget to support the hosting of the site will be available.

PAYMENT
North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership will provide payment on the following schedule: 40% - On commission 30% - Delivery of ‘Beta’ site 30% - Final sign-off of site

TIMESCALES
Shortlisting - w/comm 22nd September Pitches & commission - w/comm 6th October Beta launch - end December 2008 Public launch - end January 2009

RESPONDING TO THIS CALL
North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership are looking to commission a web-development company to design and build this exciting new website. If you would like to be considered please provide the following information: • No more than four examples of previous work undertaken by your company that you feel best demonstrate your ability to undertake this commission; • An overview of your company, including company background and a list of clients that you have worked for; • A covering letter explaining why you feel that you would be appropriate for this work. Responses can either be sent via post or via email, but must be received no later than 6pm on Friday 19th September. Please submit your responses to: e: peta.murphy-burke@tw5.stoke.gov.uk or by post to: Peta Murphy-Burke Cultural Development Team North Staffs Regeneration Partnership Cartwright House Broad Street Hanley Stoke-on-Trent ST1 4EU

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