Using data to inform local government’s work

Data to support local government’s cultural development work:
inputs, outputs, outcomes and impact.

CDN has been working to develop a schema of data about local government’s cultural development work, with the National Local Government Cultural Forum and MAV’s Arts and Culture Committee. This dataset is intended to assist councils to document and assess their own work, reflect on progress over time, and also, where councils wish, to compare with like councils on issues of interest.

The use of agreed set of data for councils could also contribute to larger initiatives, such the National Local Government Cultural Forum’s representation of local government’s cultural development work nationally and the Australia Council for the Arts’ Art Nation report.

The groups have worked to develop a set of comparable benchmarks regarding councils’:

  • inputs (resources): what is invested in infrastructure, staffing, grants, etc.,
  • outputs (what happens with those resources), how much of what kind of activity is generated, how many, of what type of people, participate.

This schema will be trialled by the eight capital cities at the end of the financial year 15-16. Their experiences in collecting that data will be discussed at the Cultural Forum’s next meeting in November 2016. Once agreement is reached on a schema that is both feasible and useful, councils around Australia will be invited to join the process and collect and share data.

Another, larger task is establishing data about outcomes of this work, that is, what difference the work makes to those who participate and their communities. A schema of measurable outcomes of cultural engagement have been developed by CDN in collaboration with the federal Ministry for the Arts, the Australia Council for the Arts, various state agencies and arts organisations.

Victorian councils’ survey 2014-2015

Meanwhile, results of CDN’s survey of local government across Victoria in 2014-2015, including information about cultural development planning, facilities, community leadership and engagement of artists is now available in this report.

This survey will be conducted again in Victoria in late 2016. In this iteration, councils will be asked for permission for the data to be shared in detail at LGA level, thus enabling more use to be made of the data.  CDN’s intention is that this survey will eventually be extended to all Australian councils, with the support of the National Local Government Cultural Forum.

Other information

Other research reports relevant to Australian local government’s cultural development work are available here.