How to … shape cultural policy through research

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How to … shape cultural policy through research



Photo taken through a window of three people sat in a coffee shop talking together
© University of Leeds. Photographer: Andy Lord

By Benjamin Dunn
John Wright, Centre for Cultural Value
Claire Burnill-Maier
Karen Gray

SUMMARY

In partnership with DCMS, the Centre for Cultural Value has produced a ‘How to’ guide for researchers seeking to shape public policy through their research.

The guide provides useful insights into how policymakers use research and the ways in which both researchers and policymakers can work together to maximise research impact. The guide signposts researchers to helpful resources and highlights key government evaluation and assessment standards for public policymaking.

Drawing upon insights gained through research placements and interviews with UK government policy advisors and representatives, the guide provides advice to researchers about government research priorities, evaluation criteria and how to make contact with key policy stakeholders.

Read the guide below or download the guide as a PDF.

Keen to develop creative, value-driven approaches to evaluation? Sign up to our free-to-access course, led by academics and sector experts.

Introduction

This guide is for stakeholders in cultural policy. In particular, it is aimed at academic researchers – who want to understand how to better use their research to inform decision-making – and researchers who want to engage policymakers in their work.

Public policy decisions relating to arts and culture are made in a range of places and administrative levels, including national governments, local authorities, and a range of public bodies like the Arts Councils. This guide is designed to support research activity across these environments, with a focus on effective dialogue, engagement and impact. It was written in consultation with cultural policymakers at a national and local level.

We also briefly consider how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected this policy landscape, link to additional resources and provide explanations of key terms in a short glossary.

Why did we make this guide?

In keeping with the rigorous assessment processes undertaken by the UK Government, research and data are needed at different stages of policy design, implementation and appraisal. Also needed is good quality evaluation that affects policy design and delivery.

While there are existing practices and established sources for suitable data, policymakers often find it difficult to access the type of research that meets their needs. Public policies, programmes and projects – whether revenue, capital or regulatory – are comprehensively assessed and managed using the ROAMEF (Rationale, Objectives, Appraisal, Monitoring, Evaluation, Feedback) Cycle. The cycle is used to ensure policymakers have evidence of whether change programmes are achieving their aims and objectives.

The inner workings of local and national government, and the practicalities of public policymaking, can be difficult for researchers to navigate. This guide aims to show how, through improved dialogue and knowledge exchange, well-deployed research can make a valuable contribution to evidence led decision-making. This guide is one output of the UKRI-funded research into the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK’s cultural sector. As part of this work, the authors undertook policy placements and conducted interviews with culture teams at local, regional, and national levels in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Each placement was developed in partnership with the host organisation and designed to address a specific cultural policy concern within these contexts.

What are policymakers looking for from researchers?

Research forms a crucial part of policymaking decisions. It can provide evidence for the appraisals policymakers must undertake as part of the decision-making process. Guidelines set out in The Green Book require public policymakers to have robust evidence for their appraisals.

Academic research, along with the research undertaken by analysts and researchers in government, can help these appraisals become more accurate. It is used to inform business cases, theories of change and ministerial briefings.

Additionally, research can:

  • help identify policy priority areas for investment
  • inform resourcing and management decisions
  • provide a common framework to bring together scientific, economic, and social evidence for a particular subject or place
  • facilitate a more innovative approach to identifying policy solutions

Nevertheless, for research to be useful to policymakers, it needs to be actionable. Government officials seek to use research and evaluation that meets the quality thresholds determined by, for example, The Aqua Book, Code of Practice for Statistics, The Green Book, The Magenta Book and the Maryland Scientific Methods Scale.

For public policymakers, academic research may have a number of benefits; it is independent, has been rigorously peer reviewed and published, and may have been carried out over a greater time period or in greater depth than other studies. As such, decision-makers can benefit from academic researchers’ expert knowledge and analytical understanding when making highly consequential policy.

A tailored approach

Before approaching policy officials, it is helpful to clarify your aims.

If you want your knowledge to translate into policy action, then it is worth considering which areas of your research you wish to highlight and what your research informs. For example, highlight whether your research provides evidence of ‘what works’, benefit cost ratios, distributional impacts or insights into replicability of a project or impact.

To optimise the influence your research may have, consider what areas it addresses for officials. This may have been shaped at the research design stage by:

  • undertaking research that addresses a Government department’s ‘ARI’ (Areas of Research Interest)
  • undertaking Social Cost Benefit Analysis (SCBA) research that demonstrates value for money
  • testing commonly held assumptions underpinning approaches and policies
  • providing cross-disciplinary approaches – enabling a wider lens that can capture a range of impacts.

The results of research are especially useful to officials when they explain all or some of the following:

  • the evidence gap the research addresses
  • key findings, clearly expressed
  • interventions that are replicable, scalable – or transferable to different contexts
  • the unintended consequences of proposed interventions
  • specific recommendations which recognise the wider context and strategic governmental goals when policies have and have not been successful and why, i.e. ‘what works?’
  • costs to the economy and society of any policy change recommendations
  • the time frames for delivery (short, medium or long term)
  • the nature of impacts on the Exchequer, the economy, individuals, businesses, civil society organisations, equality or other specific areas of impact, international order or relations.

Be clear about what your research highlights and informs.

The resources in the ‘further information’ section may help identify where in the policy process your contribution is best placed and how your research fits with policymaking timings.

How to engage

It takes three: research, the cultural sector and policy

One barrier to effective engagement with research in cultural policy is a lack of a shared understanding between researchers and policymakers, including a common sector-specific language and a mutual understanding of individual roles.

Government departments and cultural organisations are complex structures, operating with limited time and resources and often too short timelines. Likewise, cultural practitioners will have different relationships to policy, depending on their role and experience. They may not have a clear understanding of what influences and informs decision-making or the constraints that policymakers operate under.

Independent academic research can act as a bridge between these worlds, providing officials with information on and evidence of activities, outcomes and value frameworks, offering supplementary evidence to that generated by the government’s own researchers and analysts.

The independent nature of academic research can support communication and collaboration: enhancing policymakers’ understanding of the needs and experiences of the cultural sector, while providing cultural organisations with opportunities to develop relationships with public bodies and policymakers, and directly inform the policy environment in which they work. Researchers therefore often act as conduits and critical friends to both policymakers and the cultural sector.

Limited time and capacity are a consistent concern for stakeholders in this area and a precious commodity for all. Research activity can help support the relationship between policymakers and the cultural sector, providing time and resources to examine new strategies, models and ideas. Research requires the management of financial and non-financial resources, and care is required to establish communications processes which make best use of available time and capacity, with agreed outputs.

By developing a more precise understanding between policymakers, the sector, and researchers, policymakers will be able to access a clearer sense of which activities work in practice and how outcomes are evidenced.

Research with and for policymakers takes relationship management. The following sections consider how defining the parameters of research, finding the right connections and contacts and agreeing on appropriate processes and outputs will benefit these relationships and lead to better outcomes.

Delivering targeted research by understanding the responsibilities of policymakers

‘Cultural sector’ describes the breadth of arts, cultural, heritage and creative infrastructure, organisations, occupations, and business models and is often associated with the more specifically economic ‘cultural and creative industries’.

The responsibilities of policy officials can be very specific, focused on ‘Libraries and Archives’ or ‘Museums’, for example, and using umbrella terms like ‘the cultural sector’ in discussions about policy may risk obscuring important differences between sub-sectors.

Someone within a local or regional authority might also be tasked with supporting ‘culture’ in its broadest sense, including its relationship to tourism, the night-time economy and the wider creative industries.

Additionally, policy officials often have a number of roles and must balance priorities, not just for the area that the researcher may be interested in.

We can take two points from this:

  1. It is necessary to understand the specific role of the person you want to engage, including their parameters, how it relates to those of other people in the department and their individual agency for decision-making.
  2. For any policy-focused decision-making, links between the cultural sector and other areas of policy may be important.

It is worth taking some time to understand what types of policy activity a particular form of culture can contribute to, recognising that the impacts may be allied with other sectors too and may be hard to disentangle.

Connecting with policy

Individuals

Connections within government are often person-to-person, with individuals acting as nodes within networks of trusted contacts. These roles are not always clearly defined, and you might need to do some digging to find the one person who really wants or needs to hear what you have to say. Further, high mobility amongst government officials may require relationships to be re created as officials move between departments.

If you can’t find a name, there may be a role in the organisation with a focus on linking research and evidence with policymaking. In central government departments, this is the role of the Chief Scientific Adviser’s Office. However, a more direct channel of contact can be approaching a department’s analysis teams. Analysts are usually attached to a specific directorate in a department and are good points of contact for research engagement. However, this infrastructure will look different in the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, where culture is directly managed through their own designated national budgets.

Research bodies like the Centre for Cultural Value or the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) may be useful conduits for connecting research with government. These types of research bodies work closely with policymakers and have policymakers on their advisory groups. Additionally, you may also approach communications teams, policy officials, or arms-length bodies, including via the use of social media platforms such as LinkedIn. However, while social media is a good way of making links, it isn’t the best forum to ask officials their views on research.

Getting in touch with specific officers in a local authority council service may be the best way of beginning a discussion about your research and its implications for local policy priorities. For example, when our team at the Centre for Cultural Value were engaging decision-makers as part of our Covid-19 research, we contacted the Head of Culture Programmes at Leeds City Council, under the Economy and Culture team. Reaching out to the correct department was vital for our research to connect with those who were the most interested in our project. Consequently, we were able to collaborate and share our insights effectively.

Devolved authorities including the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly also have their own research leads. It is worth knowing that in devolved authorities, cultural policy ownership is also devolved. Some cultural policy decisions are made by devolved authorities through the Barnett Formula settlements. For example, the Northern Ireland Assembly was able to decide on how it distributed its share of the Cultural Recovery Fund through various departments such as the Department for Communities. Knowing this information was invaluable for our project as it indicated who we should contact.

Sometimes authorities do not have the capacity to engage with researchers’ timescales or their areas of interest may not match up with your research. Policy interventions with arm’s length bodies may prove more fruitful. For example, we worked with Creative Scotland to analyse local authorities’ engagement with cultural sector partners in response to the pandemic. Arm’s length bodies such as Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council Wales and Arts Council of Northern Ireland often have a close relationship with departments within governments. Understanding this relationship and its power dynamics can be another route to engage your research with policy.

Networks

Networks can represent useful opportunities for policy intervention. There is growing interest in opening-up policymaking processes in the UK, with one aim being to bring in more diverse voices and expertise. Government select committees and inquiries make regular calls for evidence, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) recently invited applications to join their newly established ‘College of Experts’. Looking out for similar calls within your policy area can be an effective route to engagement. What Works Centres and the Universities Policy Engagement Network also aim to link evidence and decision-making.

Sectoral groups

You might want to influence change in the sector itself, rather than through governing bodies. In Northern Ireland, for example, sectoral voices such as the Arts Collaboration Network helped to influence policy decisions on freelancers, funding for disabled artists, and non-artist creative workers during the pandemic. This type of engagement can be through membership and support organisations such as the Museums Association, the Society of London Theatres, and unions such as BECTU or local versions of similar sub-sector networks. Regional and sectoral representatives within the national Arts Councils can also be a route to this type of impact.

Joining the dots

Culture has a significant role to play in other key policy areas, including health and wellbeing, social care, innovation, community development and place-based economic recovery and renewal. However, in an arena where competition for funds and attention is tough, it’s crucial that research speaks to the needs of policymakers. One of our interviewees talked about needing to ‘join the dots’ to understand what policymakers need.

Policymakers’ needs are likely to be driven by the demands of changing policy priorities, policy cycles and legislative calendars, as well as time-sensitive priorities such as overarching governmental or local authority programmes and promises, Spending Reviews, and planned high profile calendar events such as the Olympics or COP26. Making well-timed interventions that connect your research to salient policy areas can draw attention to the cross-cutting impacts that culture can have and move it up the agenda.

At a UK level, each government department publishes an Outcome Delivery Plan, setting out policy priorities and timelines. In the devolved administrations, regional and local authorities, priorities for culture might be articulated in a ‘cultural strategy’ or framed by an industrial or economic strategy. For example, Leeds City Council are currently developing the delivery plan for their Culture Strategy (2017-2030).

Government is keen to engage with a wide range of research and data through the full scope of research methodologies. Research that evidences successful strategies are increasingly useful for setting out policy recommendations. Nevertheless, decision-making bodies often have preferred methods by which evidence they engage with is produced.

Researchers need to understand these before beginning their research. For example, researchers seeking to influence policy changes would benefit from being familiar with Theory of Change and, more specifically, The Magenta Book or The Green Book, which provide decision-makers guidance on how to appraise and evaluate policy options. Research that speaks directly to the evaluation requirements set out within these guides is likely to be useful to policymakers.

Building the relationship

While policy is, by design, impersonal, policymaking takes place between individuals, and there are a number of ways to begin and maintain relationships that will lead to policy impact.

An initial informal conversation can lay the ground for a relationship with an individual or department. A friendly coffee, a walk and talk or a quick phone or video call are some ways to avoid relegation down the email inbox. An easy-to-access introduction to your research will also help. Perhaps you have written a recent blog or an article in The Conversation. Approaching officials to speak at an event or setting up a meeting where researchers can present research neatly and clearly, may also pique officials’ interest while preventing an approach from feeling like lobbying.

At the start of a research project, offer your key policy stakeholders an opportunity to collaborate on research questions and priorities. This will help guide your research and clarify the shared value of your work. Civil servants and ministers change responsibilities often, so consider involving several stakeholders in this kind of dialogue. You don’t want the project to end because an individual has changed role.

Contact also doesn’t need to be limited to the beginning and end of a project. During our research into Covid-19, the policy team set up regular bespoke briefings for the DCMS and a Policy Reference Group to present results and help shape the next stages of the research. We applied the ‘Chatham House rule’ so that everyone felt able to have an open discussion. Consider what added value you might be able to bring to any department or organisation interested in your research. Perhaps you can facilitate a short workshop on a topic you know is of interest, or extend an invitation to attend or present at an external event?

Seeking out or organising a short placement within a policy-focused organisation can be an excellent way for both parties to understand each other’s needs or to complete short research tasks of mutual relevance. Consider building this into a project from the start.

Framing, timing, and tone

The framing, timing and tone of your communication might be just as important as its content. What is your ‘hook’? What do you want to change as a result? How might that lead to change elsewhere?

Research communications should highlight what sort of evidence the research provides. Be clear about how your research links to policy. For example, does the research inform ‘what works’? Or does it contain cost-benefit ratios?

Researchers should understand that the policy process requires a systematic evaluation of interventions which is guided by the UK Government’s Green and Magenta Books. For research to be useful, it needs to be clear about what difference a change will make.

Here are some essentials:

Targeted
Think about the current priorities and needs of the person you are talking with. Why should they be interested? Make sure your communication is clear about what you consider the policy implications are and ensure it reaches them when they need it. Be clear about what measurable impacts are.

Accessible
Don’t assume in-depth knowledge. Use plain English, and avoid technical language or jargon. Never leave crucial details behind a paywall. As well as a short policy brief, consider non-traditional formats such as podcasts, blogs or short films.

Concise
Get right to the point. Everyone is busy: never expect a long document to be read in detail. Bullet points are preferable to dense text.

Friendly
This goes a long way. Be patient and also persistent, build mutual respect and follow up on any contact quickly – it is easy to get lost in the noise.

Honest
Be open and transparent about what you want to achieve, how much time or resource you can commit, and anything else that could limit your involvement with each other.

Lessons from the pandemic

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected all of this? To understand its effects on the ground and to manage the provision and uptake of policy measures, policy officials have needed regular and more intense communication with cultural sector stakeholders. The pandemic highlighted the discrepancy between the relatively slow timeframe for publication of research findings and the speed at which policy decisions have had to be made in response to the pandemic. The willingness of researchers to share interim findings has been particularly helpful for policymakers working at a fast pace. For example, at the Centre for Cultural Value, we briefed the DCMS through regular roundtables sharing findings and policy implications as they emerged.

Policymakers have also sometimes played a more direct role in bringing key sector stakeholders together. Within the Welsh Government, for example, there is a perception that this has strengthened direct relationships with the arts and cultural sectors. In managing the pandemic response, some interviewees reported that differences between arts and cultural sub-sectors became less defined, with policymakers acting to support the creative and cultural ecosystem as a whole. In Wales, the Cultural Recovery Fund was administered through different sectoral groups, and officials now report these groups working together more collaboratively, potentially leading to a more holistic understanding of the sector.

Lockdowns, remote working and the shift to digital limited opportunities for some kinds of informal communication but have also led to a greater diversity of engagement, increased speed and ease of communication, as well as reducing costs and bureaucracy when working together. There have also been more opportunities for digital data gathering, although digital inequalities mean that these must be approached with caution. Policymakers are welcoming an increased willingness among researchers to co-create research and to share emerging findings. The pandemic has underlined a need for information that is sector, geography and context specific. This has not always been available, and post-pandemic, there are opportunities to fill such gaps and to continue inquiries into the relationship between culture and our wider society and economy.

The pandemic has shown how important an open and continued dialogue between policymakers, researchers and the cultural sector is when policy is being developed and decisions being made. Good communication and engagement help policymakers to fully appreciate and make the case for culture, demonstrating the sector’s ability to adapt and its wider value to society both during the crisis and into the future.

Further information

How to engage with policymakers: A guide for academics in the arts and humanities produced by the Institute for Government and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

UK Parliament offers free online training for researchers including captioned recordings, slides and resources.

Devolved institutions: engaging with the devolved institutions (Bennett Institute, University of Cambridge).

The Culture Research Network is an open resource-sharing community of practice for anyone involved in arts and culture-related research.

The Universities Policy Engagement Network offers a dedicated contact point for policymakers and is a useful source of training and information.

To understand more immediate pressures on policy, look at recently produced DCMS reports; for example, Boundless Creativity (published July 2021).

The following publications provide further guidance on research standards for policy makers:

The Aqua Book (UK Government)

Better Evaluation (UK Government)

Code of Practice for Statistics (Government Statistics Service)

Culture and Heritage Capital Portal (UK Government)

Ethical Assurance for Social and Behavioural Research in Government

The Green Book (HM Treasury)

The Magenta Book (HM Treasury)

The Maryland Scientific Methods Scale (SMS) (Whatworksgrowth.org)

Policy Lab (UK Government) ‘Government as a System’

Quality in Qualitative Evaluation: A framework for assessing research evidence

Glossary

Anchor institution
An organisation of particular prominence within its related policy context. Generally associated with a high degree of influence within the local cultural infrastructure, and frequently aligned with reputational as well as economic benefits. Often considered essential to the delivery of local cultural strategies, at times taking on a de facto role as arms-length decision-makers for local cultural strategy. Linked to Cultural Quarter and Creative Clusters.

All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG)
An informal cross-party group of English MPs with an interest in a particular area. For example, there is an APPG for Arts and Heritage, and for Arts, Health and Wellbeing. These are called Cross-Party Groups in Wales and Scotland, and All Party Groups in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The Aqua Book
UK government guidance on quality assurance for analysis and modelling in government.

Area of Research Interest (ARI)
These are documents produced by UK government departments, detailing the research questions that are of particular interest for them.

Arm’s-length principle
In the UK, the government sets the overall financial, administrative, legal and policy framework within which sponsored arts and cultural bodies are expected to operate. DCMS is responsible for directly sponsoring 16 arts and culture Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) such as the British Museum, National Gallery and Science Museum group. The funding supports the day-to-day operations of the institutions including curation and preservation of cultural items, visitor services and education services. The funding enables free access to all the sponsored ALBs, making the UK’s cultural heritage accessible to all. The Department also sponsors the bodies responsible for distributing Lottery funds, individual operational or strategic decisions are left to ALBs sometimes also called ‘public’ or sponsored bodies (this helps to ensure that decision-making takes place at a distance from central governments).

Arts Council
Arts councils are non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) with responsibility for the promotion of arts and culture, the management and distribution of public funds, and the development of cultural policy, often published in the form of strategy documents. England, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own arts councils who deliver against policy agendas set by their country’s government. In Scotland, Creative Scotland plays this role but has a broader remit across the creative industries.

College of Experts
This is a DCMS programme, although variations of this model of academic engagement operate across government departments. The College of Experts acts as a mechanism for the department to access external expertise – they are voluntary academic and industry experts. The College supplements existing relationships with experts, allowing the department to benefit from a longer term, ongoing systematic relationship with experts and provide easier access to expertise when needed.

Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA)
Most government departments have a CSA. Through the CSA Network, they work together under the leadership of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser to provide advice for policymaking. The departmental CSA can be a good initial contact for researchers. The DCMS CSA is responsible for ensuring that the department’s policies are supported by the best science and technology advice available, working with the wider community of CSAs to address cross-departmental issues and building a network of scientific expertise.

Creative Clusters
Creative clusters are places to live as well as to work, places where cultural products are consumed as well as made. They are geographic concentrations of interconnected cultural entities. A creative cluster may include non-profit enterprises, cultural institutions, arts venues, and individual artists. See Nesta’s report on The Geography of Creativity in the UK.

Culture Commissioner
Appointed in England by the Culture Secretary to provide independent and expert advice to the government.

Cultural compact
A commitment to the idea that culture is essential to the health and economic wellbeing of a place, city, region or nation.

Cultural ecosystem
A term increasingly used to define the relationships between different parts of the cultural and creative sector and to show differences in scale, values and power relations between these parts. Often used interchangeably with ‘ecology’ and ‘infrastructure’.

Cultural strategy
Key tool for outlining and implementing policy. Operates at local, regional and national levels. Can be preceded by a cultural manifesto or other preparatory document. Often accompanied by partnership work that seeks buy-in from key cultural stakeholders to support the delivery of the strategy.

Culture Team
Culture Team can be used to differentiate a working group with responsibility for culture at local or regional authority level. A culture team might be synonymous with a department for culture or define a group of officers that sit within a broader departmental remit.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS )
The government department with responsibility for culture in England, it falls under the direction of the Secretary of State, commonly referred to as the Culture Secretary. Its primary function is to “drive growth, enrich lives and promote Britain abroad”. The work of its officials is supported by public bodies that include the Arts Councils and national museums.

Devolution
The process of giving power from central to regional or sub-regional government. Devolved administrations (the Scottish Parliament, Northern Irish Assembly, and the Welsh Assembly) can pass acts and primary legislation independent of the UK Parliament. In Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, arts, culture, and sport or leisure are devolved responsibilities. In some areas of England, aspects of local government are also devolved.

Directorate
A section of a government department in charge of a specific activity. For example, in England -Arts, Heritage and Tourism has its own directorate.

The Green Book
Guidance produced by HM Treasury on how to evaluate policies, projects and programmes. In 2021 the DCMS produced a document setting out its approach to Valuing Culture and Heritage Capital, based on the requirements of The Green Book.

GO-Science
Government Office for Science. Advises the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet on matters of scientific evidence to inform strategic policy decisions.

Government analysts and researchers
An analyst uses research, evidence and data to advise government on the best use of public resources. Their role is to support everyone in government to make better decisions so that policy and operations, deliver value for money and improve the lives of the people of the UK. Analysts will usually be attached to a specific directorate in a department and are good points of contact for research engagement. Government researchers provide government with objective, reliable, relevant and timely social research; support the development, implementation, review and evaluation of policy and delivery; and ensure policy debate is informed by the best research evidence.

Industry body
An association of businesses representative of a sector/sub-sector and which holds its members’ collective interests at heart. For example, the Museums Association.

Interest groups
A group that seeks to influence cultural and public policy. They tend to have common interests. For example, Freelancers Make Theatre Work.

Local authorities
The structure of local government varies from area to area. In some areas there are two layers or tiers including a District, Borough, or City Council as the lower tier. In other areas there is just a single tier made up of a unitary authority. Some local authorities have devolved power. The Local Government Association (LGA) is a good source of information about how these complex organisations work.

The Magenta Book
HM Treasury guidance on the design and methods used in the conduct of evaluations and information on the impact/process/value for money evaluation approaches.

The Maryland Scientific Methods Scale (SMS)
A five-point scale ranging from 1, for evaluations based on simple cross-sectional correlations, to 5 for randomised control trials.

Place-based
Used to describe policy, interventions and decision-making that aim to target a specific locality.

Policy
A course or principle of action formed by a government, organisation or individual. Cultural policy is actions, laws, and programmes that regulate, protect, encourage, and financially (or otherwise) support activities related to the arts and creative sectors.

Policy brief
A short summary of a particular issue. Can be used to communicate your research findings or their implications. Here’s some guidance on how to write a good one.

Programme for Government
Outlines the actions that each of the devolved governments plans to take over a defined period of time. In Scotland, for example, this is published each year in September.

Sector-led
A course of action led by organisations, companies and individuals within a specific industry.

Select Committee
A legislative committee appointed for a specific purpose. For example, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Committees regularly ask the public and experts to submit written or oral evidence to help them make decisions.

Social Cost-Benefit Analysis (SCBA)
Social Cost-Benefit Analysis is a way of expressing the value of a proposed government policy to society. It seeks to express the full social costs and full social benefits of policies in monetary terms so that the consequences of a diverse range of policies can be compared using a common metric.

Thinktank
A body of experts who provide ideas and recommendations on cultural, economic, or political matters. For example, Nesta.

 

Published: 2022
Resource type: Guide/tools