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No mention of cultural activity in proposed measures of wellbeing

deadline: 23 January 2012

A Government-sponsored consultation seeking to identify the factors that influence national wellbeing makes no explicit mention of the arts or creativity, suggesting that cultural activity could be excluded from future statistical measures of quality of life.

The consultation proposals, prepared by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reflect the outcome of a national debate on the nature of wellbeing which took place between November 2010 and April 2011. Prior to the debate engagement with cultural activity was recognised as an influence on personal wellbeing, but there is currently no proposal to include measures of this in compiling the key indicators of wellbeing in Britain.

The most notable absentee from the list of data to be used is the DCMS’s robust research on arts attendance and participation gathered through its regular ‘Taking Part’ survey. Such an omission has the potential to undermine efforts by the arts sector to embed the arts into the wider social inclusion agenda.

For further information, visit www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_240726.pdf and to respond to the consultation visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/QCRY8HS.