Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Last updated

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Welsh: Adran Ddigidol, Diwylliant, Cyfryngau a Chwaraeon
Government Offices Great George Street.jpg
100 Parliament Street – partly occupied by DCMS on the windowless fourth floor
Department overview
Formed1997;24 years ago (1997)
Preceding Department
  • Department for National Heritage
JurisdictionEngland (culture, sport)
UK (digital, media)
Headquarters100 Parliament Street,
London SW1A 2BQ,
Employees900 (approx) [1]
Annual budget£1.4 billion (current) & £1.3 billion (capital) for 2011–12 [2]
Ministers responsible
Department executives
  • Sarah Healey CB, Permanent Secretary
  • Sam Lister, Director General for Strategy and Operations
  • Susannah Storey, Director General for Digital and Media
  • Ruth Hannant and Polly Payne (job share), Director General for Culture, Sport, and Civil Society
  • Jacinda Humphry, Finance Director
  • Professor Tom Rodden, Chief Scientific Adviser

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is a department of the United Kingdom government, with responsibility for culture and sport in England, the building of a digital economy, and some aspects of the media throughout the UK, such as broadcasting and Internet.


It also has responsibility for the tourism, leisure and creative industries (some joint with Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy). The department was also responsible for the delivery of the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

History and responsibilities

DCMS originates from the Department of National Heritage (DNH), which itself was created on 11 April 1992 out of various other departments, soon after the Conservative election victory. The former ministers for the Arts and for Sport had previously been located in other departments.

DNH was renamed as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on 14 July 1997, under the premiership of Tony Blair. It was renamed to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 3 July 2017, staying DCMS under the premiership of Theresa May to reflect the department's increased activity in the digital sector. [3]

2012 Olympics

DCMS was the co-ordinating department for the successful bid by London to host the 2012 Olympics and appointed and oversees the agencies delivering the Games' infrastructure and programme, principally the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and LOCOG.

The June 2007 Cabinet reshuffle led to Tessa Jowell MP taking on the role of Paymaster General and then Minister for the Cabinet Office while remaining Minister for the Olympics. Ministerial responsibility for the Olympics was shared with Ms Jowell in the Cabinet Office, but the staff of the Government Olympic Executive (GOE) remained based in DCMS.


Following the 2010 general election, ministerial responsibility for the Olympics returned to the Secretary of State. Although Jeremy Hunt's full title was Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, the department's name remained unchanged. On 4 September 2012, Hunt was appointed Health Secretary in a cabinet reshuffle and replaced by Maria Miller. Maria Miller later resigned due to controversy over her expenses. Her replacement was announced later that day as Sajid Javid.

After the 2015 general election, John Whittingdale was appointed as Secretary of State, tasked with initiating the BBC Charter review process. DCMS received full responsibility for the digital economy policy, formerly jointly held with BIS, and sponsorship of the Information Commissioner's Office from the Ministry of Justice.

Whittingdale was replaced by Karen Bradley after the referendum on the UK's membership of the EU in July 2016. The Office for Civil Society moved from the Cabinet Office to DCMS as part of the same reshuffle.

In January 2018, Matthew Hancock, previous Minister of State for Digital, was appointed Secretary of State as part of a Cabinet reshuffle. In the 9 July 2018 reshuffle, Jeremy Wright became the Secretary of State. Nicky Morgan became Secretary of State in July 2019; she stood down as an MP at the 2019 United Kingdom general election but was ennobled as Baroness Morgan of Cotes and retained her position from within the House of Lords. As part of the 13 February 2020 reshuffle, Oliver Dowden MP was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Policy areas

It is responsible for government policy in the following areas:

Other responsibilities

Other responsibilities of DCMS include listing of historic buildings, scheduling of ancient monuments, export licensing of cultural goods, and management of the Government Art Collection (GAC).

The Secretary of State has responsibility for the maintenance of the land and buildings making up the historic Royal Estate under the Crown Lands Act 1851. These inherited functions, which were once centralised in the Office of Works, are now delivered as follows:

The department also has responsibility for state ceremonial occasions and royal funerals. However, responsibility for the Civil List element of head-of-state expenditure and income from the separate Crown Estate remains with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

DCMS works jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on design issues, including sponsorship of the Design Council, and on relations with the computer games and publishing industries.

DCMS organises the annual Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Cenotaph and has responsibility for providing humanitarian assistance in the event of a disaster. In the government's response to the 7 July 2005 London bombings the department coordinated humanitarian support to the relatives of victims and arranged the memorial events.

DCMS has also supported cyber initiatives [4] such as the UK Cyber Security Forum [5] to support innovation in the cyber industry.


The main offices are at 100 Parliament Street, occupying part of the building known as Government Offices Great George Street.


The DCMS ministers are as follows: [6]

The Rt Hon. Oliver Dowden Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for strategy and policy across the department and management of Brexit for the department.
Caroline Dinenage MP Minister of State for Digital and Culture Online harms and security; digital and tech policy including digital skills; creative industries; arts and libraries; museums and cultural property; Festival 2022.
The Rt Hon. John Whittingdale MP Minister of State for Media and Data Media; oversight of EU negotiations; overall international strategy including approach to future trade deals; data and the National Archives; public appointments.
Matt Warman MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital Infrastructure BDUK; Gigabit delivery programme; mobile coverage; telecoms supply chain; cyber security.
Nigel Huddleston MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage Sport; Commonwealth Games; gambling and lotteries; tourism and heritage; lead secondary; legislation minister (including EU Exit SIs).
The Rt Hon. The Baroness Barran MBE Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Civil Society Civil society; youth and social action; Government Inclusive Economy Unit; loneliness; all DCMS business in the House of Lords; ceremonials.

The Permanent Secretary since the end of March 2019 is Sarah Healey. [7]

Bodies sponsored by DCMS

The DCMS has policy responsibility for three statutory corporations and two public broadcasting authorities. These bodies and their operation are largely independent of government policy influence.

Non-ministerial departments

In September 2015, DCMS gained sponsorship of one non-ministerial department:

Statutory corporations

The statutory corporations are:

The Department was responsible for the Horserace Totalisator Board (The Tote) until the sale of the Tote's business to Betfred in July 2011.

Public corporations

The public corporations are:

Non-departmental public bodies

The DCMS sponsors the following executive non-departmental public bodies including a number of museums and galleries:

The DCMS sponsors the following advisory non-departmental public bodies:

DCMS also has responsibility for two other bodies classified by the Office for National Statistics [8] as being within the central government sector:

DCMS is also the major financial sponsor of the following bodies, which are not classed as part of the UK central government

Sponsorship of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) transferred to the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills in June 2007. The Museum of London transferred to the Greater London Authority from 1 April 2008.

DCMS formerly sponsored eight Regional Cultural Consortiums with NDPB status. In July 2008, DCMS announced that the consortiums would be phased out over a twelve-month period and replaced by a new alliance of the regional teams of Arts Council England, Sport England, English Heritage and the MLA.


Culture, sport and tourism are devolved matters, with responsibility resting with corresponding departments in the Scottish Government in Scotland, the Welsh Government in Wales and the Northern Ireland Executive in Northern Ireland.

Media-related policy is generally reserved to Westminster i.e. not devolved. These areas include:


Reserved matters: [9]

Northern Ireland

Reserved matters: [10]

The department's main counterparts in Northern Ireland are as follows: [11]


Under the Welsh devolution settlement, specific policy areas are transferred to the Welsh Government rather than reserved to Westminster.

See also

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  1. "About us". GOV.UK.
  2. Budget 2011 (PDF). London: HM Treasury. 2011. p. 48. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 August 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  3. "Change of name for DCMS". GOV.UK.
  4. [ bare URL ]
  5. [ bare URL ]
  6. "These New Conservative Party Ministers Have Just Been Revealed". HuffPost UK. 26 July 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  7. "Appointment of new Permanent Secretary at DCMS". GOV.UK. 11 March 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  8. ONS Sector Classification Guide accessed 13 August 2008 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 July 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. Participation, Expert. "Scotland Act 1998".
  10. Participation, Expert. "Northern Ireland Act 1998".
  11. "Departments (Transfer and Assignment of Functions) Order (Northern Ireland) 1999".

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