On Wednesday afternoon I was at the National Association of Local Government Arts Officers Executive meeting. There was a lot of discussion of the new local authority cultural services improvement strategy, ‘A Passion for Excellence’, which had been launched at the Local Government Association conference. Not sure I completely understood all this but the most important thing seemed to be to strive to get the arts included in Local Area Agreements. Around 2000 national indicators for local government in England have been reduced to just 198 but these do include an indicator around engagement with the arts (NI11 – which is currently the 70th most popular in terms of take-up by local authorities). Local authorities were urged, however, not to “disappear into the vortex of indicators” – cultural services improvement is much more than just targets.
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