Public value

The value of arts and culture to society, and how to measure this value, has been the subject of intense debate for many years both in Australia and internationally.

Increasingly, the sector is expected to demonstrate the value of its work across social, economic and environmental outcomes to audiences, investors and governments, often relying on government to consolidate data and report on key measures of value.  

Since 2010, through our Public Value Measurement Framework (PVMF), we have undertaken a comprehensive process of investigating and measuring the public value culture and arts creates. The public value is the cultural, social and economic benefits to the Western Australian community. The value is created through investment (e.g. grants and funding). 

To achieve accurate and real time data collection, we commissioned the development of the Culture Counts system. This award winning Western Australian product was a first of its kind digital platform and data collection tool for the arts, culture and creative sector. It captures feedback on the quality of an arts or cultural experience, using real time feedback from audiences, peers, organisations and artists.  

The Public Value Measurement Framework continues to be developed and expanded. 

In 2019 we investigated the Social Impacts of Culture and the Arts to explore the measurement of intangible social benefits, a highly complex area of public value in relation to government investment. This project aligns social outcomes with the current PVMF and identifies techniques, metrics and data collection approaches to find ways to calculate social impact.  

In the 2016 to 2019 funding period of the Arts Organisations Investment Program, organisations and WA Major Performing Arts Companies received access to the Culture Counts evaluation platform to collect public feedback on the quality and value of the work they produced. 

Data collected by organisations was anonymised, aggregated and analysed by Culture Counts. The benchmarks provide the first part to an overview of how funded organisations collectively deliver impact to WA communities.

In 2019, the department and the City of Perth received an Achievement Award from the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) WA for developing a shared evaluation framework within the Culture Counts system.  

For more detail or questions, please get in touch with the culture and the arts research, policy and evaluation team

Culture Counts 

Culture Counts is a digital data collection and analysis system that evaluates feedback from multiple sources including artists, their peers and the public to capture the quality of any given activity. You may have been approached by a data collection person or asked to fill in a Culture Counts survey online after a culture or arts experience. The information you provide helps to gain a truer understanding of the impact of culture and the arts on you, and the community as a whole.   

The department developed the Culture Counts system with Pracsys in a public private partnership. This WA system has progressed quickly with the support of the sector and a growing national and international reputation. In the UK, Arts Council England selected Culture Counts and its UK partner Counting What Counts Ltd to provide the service for their new impact and insight toolkit.

For more detail please visit the Culture Counts website. 

Page reviewed 07 September 2023