Evaluation of Local Authority Arts Policies: A report by Artservice for the Arts Council of England (Executive Summary)


Arts Council of England

Alun Bond, Sue Roberts
(February 1998) London: Policy, Research and Planning Department, Arts Council of England, 11 pages


Evaluation of Local Authority Arts Policies: A report by Artservice for the Arts Council of England (Executive Summary)

To investigate whether there is a quantifiable difference between local authorities which have undertaken different forms of policy development, in order to determine whether the adoption of an arts policy has a determinable effect on arts development; to explore the different approaches and roles of Regional Arts Boards in policy development; to make recommendations aimed at contributing to the development of effective plans and policies in new authorities and in those authorities which have yet to develop, or wish to develop, arts policies.

Case studies of 21 local authorities in England which were selected to reflect a range of factors and stages in arts policy development; research and consultation visits to local authorities and RABs; analysis of existing information and studies.

Introduction; Methodology; Key findings; Arts audits, policies, strategies and plans; Why have an arts policy? Key events and actions; Regional Arts Boards: approaches to working with local authorities; Local authority structures and staffing; Local government reorganisation and other external impacts; Some key factors in arts policy development; Conclusions.

The research confirmed the importance of local authorities having formal, adopted arts policies and strategies, provided the process of policy formulation is sound, there is a firm commitment to delivery and it is adequately resourced and supported, particularly through appropriate specialist staffing. The research found that existing local authority arts policies are weak; they provide too general and bland a statement of purpose and are not backed up by strategic documents identifying objectives or by adequate staffing and resources to enable them to be implemented effectively. The report outlines a number of reasons why an arts policy is important and identifies six clear stages of policy development: arts audit, arts policy, arts strategy, arts plan, policy monitoring, and policy review. The report confirms the vital role which Arts Officers play in successful arts policy development. It identifies the factors which have influenced local authorities and led to arts policy developments. It discusses RABs' approaches to working with local authorities and looks at local authority structures and staffing. While the report endorses the adoption of arts and cultural policies, it concludes that it has not been able to provide consistent, quantitative evidence that a formal policy has necessarily, by itself, increased levels of activity, attendance, involvement or resources.

Arts Council of England, 14 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 3NQ. Tel: 44(0)171 333 0100 Fax: 44(0)171 973 6590